Monday, June 9, 2014
Week of 06/09/2014
The GOP’s Hypocrisy Is Shameful
Here’s a little piece of advice for the GOP from one of their former card-carrying members:
If you’re going to criticize and castigate the President of the United States over a prisoner exchange, you better check your own record on the subject before you open your damned putrid mouths.
So President Barack Obama authorized a prisoner exchange with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They release one of ours, Bowe Bergdahl, and we release five people from our Guantanamo Base in Cuba.
And that had the GOP up in arms… as usual.
Apparently it’s in the script. Whatever it is that Obama does, the GOP is expected to scream bloody murder over it. They are expected to automatically condemn it, question its legality, accuse Obama of being a dictator, claim to know absolutely nothing about it, and do everything in their power to destroy, discredit, defame, or de-legitimize it.
And, of course, this GOP script gets regurgitated by conservative and neo-conservative talk radio personalities, Fox News, the conservatives on those other “liberal” cable news channels (that supposedly don’t exist), and of course the conservative and neo-conservative editorials and columnists. They all have to be on the same page, don’t you know?
So first there’s the idea that the exchange was “illegal”. Member of Congress weren’t supposedly “notified”.
Wait… this is the same group that refuses to talk to Obama unless he panders to whatever condition they know he won’t give in on? The same group that accuses of Obama of not giving in when he does, and of being a dictator when he shows strength, and being a wimp when he tries to get consensus? The same group that can’t even agree on the time of day even with an atomic clock? The same group that deliberately plays the political equivalent of Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s On First” skit with their rotating “critical issues”? The only “loop” they seem to be interested in when it comes to Obama is the kind that involves a rhetorical rope.
There is a good chance that Obama’s people may have reached out to the legislators and were turned away simply out of habit. Or Obama’s people only reached out to those within their own party. Or, as it was discovered, some of them left early because they just “couldn’t be bothered” with it. I have no doubt that whatever “bare minimum” standard that needed to be met was in this matter. It just was not the GOP’s “standard”, if they even have one, and that presumes too much nowadays.
Then there’s the idea that the United States would be coming to any kind of agreement with the Taliban, the same gang of thugs and criminals that we’ve been going after for over a decade. Oh, right, like we didn’t negotiate with the Vietnamese? Or the North Koreans? We negotiated with the Soviet Union to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not too long ago we negotiated with Russia to keep us from getting involved in Syria. This is the same White House that routinely brokers deals with career criminals we otherwise call “Too Big To Fail” so they would pay pocket change instead of jail time.
Besides, it’s not like Obama’s people are strangers to negotiating with idealistic extremists. After all, they’ve had to deal with the Tea Party crowd since 2010. And some of them have lately gotten into the habit of carrying around assault rifles in public places.
Then we have the questioning of the trade itself. According to the GOP script, these five prisoners in Gitmo are “dangerous terrorists”, otherwise why would they be in Gitmo in the first place?
Bear in mind that we’re not talking about a Super-Max correctional facility, where we have people that have been tried and convicted in a court of law so we know the seriousness of their crimes. These could be terrorist leaders, they could be foot soldiers, they could even be some sap who drove a cab or delivered groceries. We really won’t know and we only have the government’s “word” who they were before being snatched up and taken there.
We can’t try them in an actual tribunal – military or civilian – because some chickenhawk “genius” in the Bush Imperium decided it was okay to use “enhanced interrogation methods” on them and violated the Geneva Convention. So these were five people that we were going to have to let go at some point anyway.
Sorry conservatives and neo-conservatives, but you have only yourselves to blame for that one. If they weren’t hating America before they were captured, they sure as hell do now, thanks to you and your Koran-flushing “Our god is better than their god” buddies.
By the way, did you know we also held Haitian refugees there as well? Not just in the early 1990’s, but also after the 2010 earthquake. So we were keeping refugees in the same place as the supposedly “most dangerous terrorists”. Did that make those refugees equally “dangerous”?
Then, of course, the script demanded the GOP go after the serviceman himself. They attacked Bowe Bergdahl’s name, his character, even his family. According to the script, he’s “a deserter”, “a traitor”, even a supposed “sleeper agent”. They’ve even made comparisons to the fictional Showtime series “Homeland”.
Okay, first the “desertion” claims are being investigated. But here’s a possibility that the cons and neo-cons do not want to consider: that he was asked to do something “off the record” by our intelligence community and got captured for it. It certainly would explain the claims made by one of his fellow servicemen that he kept to himself and was studying other languages. But of course we will never really know, because the intelligence community won’t admit to it publicly.
Over fifty years ago, there was a little thing called the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Even today some people refuse to admit that there were American servicemen involved in that failed invasion, but I know there was because my father was one of them. So it is no stretch of the imagination to think that Bowe Bergdahl could have been caught up in something for our country as well.
But you know what? Even that isn’t the worst of it when it comes to the GOP. Character assassination and borderline slander are par for the course nowadays. We shouldn’t be surprised to see them use these tactics.
What makes this whole thing even worse, even more disgusting and despicable and disrespectful, is that prior to Obama actually going through with the trade-off, the GOP actually were demanding Bergdahl be released!
No, I am not exaggerating. I am not making this up. Members of the GOP were the ones that actually demanded the trade-off be made!
Cons and neo-cons were posting Twitter posts over and over and over again demanding that Bergdahl be released at all costs, and then immediately after the news reports came out that Obama actually did it, those same people were screaming bloody murder!
Before the release, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma (GOP) said "The mission to bring our missing soldiers home is one that will never end. It's important that we make every effort to bring this captured soldier home to his family."
After the release, he was complaining about “people who have killed Americans, people who are the brain power of Taliban.” Not exactly holding true to the “make every effort” part.
Then there’s Senator and failed Presidential Wannabe John McCain of Arizona (GOP), who actually said on CNN in February that he was open for such a trade-off. But after it actually happened, said that he "would not have made this deal." And this from someone who was a POW himself!
And true to the GOP script, any mention of online praise from the GOP on the release of Bergdahl were quickly erased in Orwellian fashion. “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”
Let’s get brutally honest here… the hypocritical actions of the GOP on this subject only further my disgust of the party that I once was a proud card-carrying member of!
You know, it is one thing to be critical of Obama’s actions after they happen. It is another thing entirely to be a blatant hypocrite about the subject, demanding action and then condemning it once it does happen.
The only thing that changed about the effort to get Bergdahl freed was that it was Barack Obama that did it. The GOP seemed to be quite content about screaming to the high heavens to get Bergdahl freed as long as it didn’t happen under Obama’s watch. They were raising Bergdahl up as a martyr for their unholy crusade. Now they’re treating him as a pariah. Why? Because of Obama!
All that talk about “support the troops” and not leaving anyone behind apparently means not a single damn thing to the GOP. “Make every effort”, they said! Or did they really mean “make every effort as long as that ‘that guy’ in the White house doesn’t actually do it and get all the credit for it”?
Keep in mind that I’m not the only one noticing this and is disgusted by the maliciously orchestrated actions of the GOP. Congressman Paul Labrador of Idaho (GOP) is also apparently disgusted by the blatant hypocrisy of his own party. Governor Butch Otter (GOP) is also apparently keeping a level head about this.
“I'm not going to speculate on anything beyond what I know,” Otter said, “and what I know is that after almost five years, a young man from Idaho no longer is in enemy hands. There are processes in place within the military and in Congress for whatever happens next. Those processes need to run their course.”
Sadly, though, I suspect these are the exceptions to the party, and not the rule.
The fact that the town of Hailey, Idaho, had to cancel their planned homecoming parade for Bergdahl due to the orchestrated hate calls coming in should speak volumes of how dangerously malicious this has become, and how the people behind this need to be reined in and shut down.
We’re not talking political disagreement or mild criticism anymore. We’re almost talking acts of domestic terrorism. And all in the name of partisan politics!
It was ten years ago almost to the day that the GOP attacked the credibility of then-Senator John Kerry, questioning his war record and picking apart his stances as a way to discredit him in the 2004 Presidential Election. It was ten years ago that then-Vice President Dick Cheney stood in front of the GOP at their national convention and went down Kerry’s political history, pointing out all of the times he reversed himself.
“Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop,” he chanted.
Well now it’s the GOP’s turn to be picked apart and questioned and discredited for their orchestrated hypocrisy. It is high time the party answer to what they have wrought in the name of Obama-hate.
Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop.
It is high time that Senator Inhofe and the rest of the GOP contingent that speak out of both sides of their mouths on this subject either apologize or else resign for being a disgrace to themselves and to the American people.
Flip-flop, flip-flip, flip-flop.
And for Senator McCain, himself a former prisoner of war and who should know better than anyone else in that party about what “supporting the troops” really means, his shameful hypocrisy should lead to his resignation. But, of course, it won’t. Because that would require something that the overbearing political party has sadly lacked these past few years: integrity.
Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop.
As for the rest of the con and neo-cons out there who have flip-flopped on this subject, I say this: the next time you want a POW released from one of your wars, shut your hole, and rescue them yourselves!