Earl Ofari Hutchinson: The GOP Hit on Bergdahl Is Yet Another Hit on President Obama
6/12/2014, 6 a.m.
The facts on President Obama’s Taliban prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have by now been well worked over. But we’ll restate them one more time. President Bush freed hundreds of suspected terrorists from Guantanamo prison with no ironclad assurance that some, many, or most wouldn’t resume their alleged anti-American actions. Before Bush, President Reagan negotiated with Iranian backed militiamen in Lebanon to get the release of AP bureau chief Terry Anderson, held hostage by them. And the one GOP U.S. Senator who has screamed the loudest about Obama’s exchange is the one who should be the last to open utter a peep about it. John McCain is in the Senate today because, as a POW captive of the North Vietnamese, he was one of the nearly 600 American POWs the Nixon Administration negotiated with the North Vietnamese for their release as part of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords. This was one of the big prices that the U.S. had to pay to close down its Vietnam War. It’s worth noting when listening to the shrill, silly and nakedly partisan GOP attacks on Obama that each of the presidents who garnered big headlines for the willingness to negotiate with avowed enemies of the U.S. or release prisoners that might put Americans back in harm’s way were GOP presidents.
There’s also the much noted fact that there is yet no conclusive proof that Bergdahl is a deserter, let alone the traitor, that the shrill Obama GOP hit squad team members claim he is. Military officials haven’t said one way or the other why he left his post for a good reason. They don’t know. That’s why you conduct a proper investigation, get the facts, not hearsay, and then make a factual determination. The only thing that is known is that Bergdahl walked away from his post several years earlier and there was an investigation. But no charge was made that he was hostile to the military.
If, in this go round, it’s found that Bergdahl did desert — and, worse, gave the Taliban fodder by recording anti-American blasts — then he will, and should be, severely punished. That’s the way the justice system is supposed to work.
However, justice, desertion, anti-Americanism, the notion of aiding and abetting terrorists has nothing to do with the GOP hammering of Obama. Just add Bergdahl to the names Eric Holder, Chuck Hagel, Susan Rice, and a lengthy string of other Obama judicial nominees or administration appointees the GOP has used to rip Obama. Then toss in a crucial mid-term election year. Next, toss in the GOP’s earlier blast of Obama for paring down the number of troops in Afghanistan along with a firm timetable for final withdrawal. And finally, toss in the absolute failure of the GOP to get any political traction for its drum beat pound of Obama and Hillary Clinton for their alleged Benghazi gaffes, and the Bergdahl farce makes perverse sense.
The aim yet again is to weaken, besmirch, and taint Obama. Obama was well aware that the swap would draw heat not because of any of the reasons that GOP senators and GOP attackers claim they’re concerned about but because it’s, as he put it, their latest “political football” to toss out there and hope that it flies far enough to create enough of a furor that the taint on him sticks.