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Scapegoating Bergdahl for Unpopularity of US War Crimes

Justin Raimando in “Hating on Bowe Bergdahl” broke me out of my cognitive dissonant nausea over the trial by media, chicken hawks, political gamespeople, lynch-mob/firing squad jingoists of the recently rescued American POW from Afghanistan. Raimando refreshingly writes:

The very last thing the American people want to see is some poor kid who got snookered into fighting that worthless war get pilloried for the sins of US policymakers. Yet what we are about to witness, I’m afraid, is the disgusting spectacle of an Idaho farm boy crucified by a gaggle of partisan Pharisees.


Embittered by double defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan, driven out of both countries with their tails between their legs, the War Party is looking for scapegoats, and has found one in the least likely place – the ranks of the US Army. That’s right: the "support the troops" contingent is now intent on re-torturing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a 26-year-old Idaho native held captive by the Taliban for five horrific years.

Raimando acknowledges what our corporate media won’t. That most of the American citizenry is SICK OF THE US WAR MACHINE and all the physical and psychological devastation in terms of our own troops and fellow human beings in foreign countries as well as the global and domestic economic hardship it begot.

Apparently the release of this American soldier is the latest political football among the amoral Washington war mongers ramping up for the 2016 elections as well as more imperialist misadventures.

By now we are sick to death of corporate wars under a villainous veil of "humanitarian intervention." But will the war-addicts stop? No. To them It is just a matter of reframing the narrative, throwing in lots of dizzying -- to the point of nausea -- propaganda. They demand that no matter what the scope of war crimes perpetrated, Americans MUST support the wars -- conflating supporting the wars with supporting the troops -- and as for the troops, they too are expected to be willing to die, be maimed or tortured for God, country and CORPORATE INTERESTS without a whimper. Thus sayeth the bastards of the universe, who, incidentally, are nowhere near harm’s way but eager to extend the blood-baths to ever more global locations.

Raimando contends that the history of the Afghan and Iraq wars will now be revised by the war addicts, as it was regarding the Vietnam War. That is, that the wars could have been won if it were not for “squeamish liberals and anti-American war protesters” in other words “traitors” in those vicious little "if only" delusional minds and hearts of said war addicts.

Raimando declares that the case of Bergdahl and his “alleged desertion” has become a “metaphor for all opposition to the war.” His “real crime”, explains Raimando, was writing angry emails to his father about the amorality he witnessed perpetrated by US troops on the Afghan people.

The facts are not in and Bergdahl presently is blocked from defending himself or his loving family that is now also being piled on. Feeding frenzy time! A matter of striking while the media and political jackals are most savage and hungry for scandal, not when the facts, evidence and subject are accessible. The bloviating jingoistic hypocrits are “ready for their close-ups”! Nothing like a little knee-jerk patriotism and shameless media tar and feathers blame another victim schadenfreude to distract a slowly re-awakened national consciousness from the colossal waste of human lives and funds for mass destruction and war criminality in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond,

The media colludes with the political corporate-captured establishment to minimize or even deny how strong the collective anti-war sentiment is outside the DC bubble and among us 99%-er citizenry.

Raimando explores further the latest false narrative m.o. used by the imperialistic ruling class:

"Shock and awe," as per Iraq, is out of date: Washington’s new game is "subvert and overthrow," as in Ukraine. The idea is to create volatile situations by stealth, which we can then "respond" to: most useful in this regard are "democracy-promotion" schemes operating under the radar, which are designed to effect regime-change in targeted countries.

Yet that old trick shows signs of wearing thin: Americans are even less enthusiastic about intervening in Ukraine than they were in Syria – not a good sign, as far as the War Party is concerned. So what’s the solution, from their point of view?

It’s high time for the political class to launch yet another campaign – not a military effort overseas but a propaganda blitz right here at home. ...

Raimando warns that when the dust on this latest media-hype settles there will remain a grim and horrifying reality. The speechifying vilifiers of Bergdahl might want to think twice about focusing attention on the state of his disillusionment and the reality of his sustained nightmarish POW predicament. Raimando:

In this context, it’s hard to imagine the administration prosecuting him for desertion: does the US State Department really want Bergdahl to testify how US soldiers in an armored truck laughed as they ran down an Afghan girl?


... Bergdahl clearly witnessed war crimes which had not only gone unpunished but were openly acknowledged and treated as jokes. He is, perhaps, capable of pointing an accusing finger at some of those who are being dredged up to label him a traitor. Whether their campaign of calumny is a preemptive strike, it’s too early to say: we have yet to hear from Bowe Bergdahl, who, it seems, is having difficulty remembering how to speak English.

The more I learn about this case, the less conclusive are the established facts: did he just walk off, alone, or is the latrine story [via a wikileaks Taliban communication that his base was attacked while he was in latrine] true? Bits of evidence point in opposite directions.

What we do know is that Bergdahl was radically disenchanted with the US military and the war itself: we also know he witnessed at least one specific incident in which a young Afghan girl was run over – deliberately? – by US military personnel. What other atrocities did Bergdahl witness – and was, perhaps, forced to take part in? If these are the facts, then his seemingly crazy decision to set off into the Afghan countryside begins to make at least a modicum of (moral) sense.


As for the Fox News crowd, this could backfire on the War Party, big-time – remember that old adage about fools rushing in? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time, now would it?

They’ll rush in anyway, because this is the kind of thing they enjoy. The Fox News bleach blondes and radio screamers are practically frothing at the mouth: they point suspiciously at the prominence of Robert Bergdahl’s beard, sure signs he’s a "Muslim convert" and Taliban sympathizer! That’s the level of demagoguery we’re seeing around this issue – and, I warn you, it’s going to get worse.

As usual, the tone-deaf Republicans – eagerly seizing on this as their signature foreign policy Benghazi-substitute issue – are their own worst enemies.


We don’t yet know the circumstances of his capture, and so these calls for prosecution are premature, to say the least. Not that legal niceties like evidence matter to the baying wolves of the neocon media: they want vengeance for the war they lost and were widely blamed for. Having lost on the battlefield in Afghanistan, the War Party is seeking a victory on the home front.

My only contention with Raimando's assessment is that the 'War Party' as well as propagandizing media are made up of enablers and members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties: the Dem rabid, corporate-war opportunistic neo-liberals as well as their rabid Republican, xenophobic, neocon counterparts!

[cross-posted on open salon]

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