Only 1 of 5 Taliban swapped for Bergdahl has hardcore past, per experts #Bergdahlzi


maddow taliban who changed talking points impeach

Here it comes... wait for it... Another talking point debunked. The GOP attempt to smear President Obama with #Bergdahlzi!!!! just took a hit. This time it pertains to the Taliban who were traded for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in order to save his, you know, American life. But that's not good enough for all those Republicans who cheered for Bowe and wept with joy... until they didn't.

There have been a lot of hypocritical GOP deletions bouncing around the Twitter Machine. Read about it here: "Secret decoder ring decrypts behavior" of GOP v. Obama! Hint: Blatant hypocrisy and more about the hypocrisy here: Hagel unaware of any "soldiers dying as a result of efforts to find, rescue Sgt. Bergdahl."

Suddenly Bergdahl's life wasn't worth a damn to them, because if he mattered and the president saved his valuable life, then something Obama accomplished might actually, possibly, maybe *gasp* appeal to potential voters. And the GOP could never have that, now could they?

So of course, they're Swiftboating Bergdahl and calling the president a terrorist appeaser, or a U.S.-put-er-in-danger-er, or a reckless lawbreaker or something-er. Impeachazi!!!!

According to everyone in the whole wide media world, especially the on-air Republican bleating heads, the Taliban who were freed were the worst of the worst! The awfulest of the awful! The hardcorest of the hardcore! Why, before you know it, they'll be right back to their old dirtiest of dirty tricks terrorizing every man, woman, and child in America and we'll all die!!! DIE!!!

Never mind that they'll be stuck in Qatar for at least a year, and after that, they'll be under the same over-watchful eye of the Big U.S. Spy Machine that everyone has been kvetching about.

And oh yeah... never mind this from the Los Angeles Times:

A closer look at the former prisoners, however, indicates that not all were hard-core militants. Three held political positions in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and were considered relative moderates. A fourth was a mid-level police official, experts say. [...]

The backgrounds of the prisoners, who are confined to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar for one year under the terms of the exchange, indicate that they would have little utility on the battlefield after more than a decade in prison. They range in age from 43 to 47.

The article then goes on to describe the more benign prisoners. One was a civilian official-turned-governor who never held a military post. His job "was to ensure the government operated as usual and to resolve tribal complaints."

The description of another "is sharply at odds with that of journalists and analysts who met him in the late 1990s. [He] assiduously reached out to local clerics, including minority Shiite Muslims, to address their opposition to the Taliban."

Then there was the guy who, "after the U.S.-led invasion... offered his help to U.S. forces in locating the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, but was arrested instead."

Analysts believe that the ex-prisoners, if they rejoined the Taliban, would serve at most in advisory roles, saying they are too far removed from a movement that has lost many of its top leaders to U.S.-led coalition operations.

"They are not aware of what has been going on for the past 13 years," said Waheed Muzhda, a political analyst in Kabul who served in the Taliban's Foreign Ministry.

Not that these men were the types we'd want to hang out with at Starbucks, but most of the Taliban who we released were not the big, bad, worst of the worst boogeymen that we were led to believe. Please follow the link for more details.

And with that, here are today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

The rescue of our only prisoner of war should have been a source of pride for America and validation of the fact that we do not leave behind those who serve in our military.

Before this young man returns home from five years of Taliban captivity — which essentially may have been torture — the Republicans are setting him up for condemnation because it was President Obama's efforts that returned him to us.

Waiting for facts has never been a Republican goal, which is why we are in this war in the first place.

Claire Zimmer

Palm Springs


Charles Manson was presumed innocent until proven guilty. So were killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Sirhan Sirhan and so on.

So why not Bergdahl? Why the rush to judgment by some conservative politicians and pundits?

Of course, the reason is political; you knew that, and my question is rhetorical.

The real question is: When will voters start choosing representatives who will identify and deal with real issues of public concern, instead of ideologues and party hacks?

Fredric Dunn

San Diego

  • Dennis Collins

    There is one other point that is being ignored about Bergdahl; His rank was and still is Sergeant. If he was such a screw up as the disparaging class wants us to believe, how was he still holding his non-com rank?
    The UCMJ isn't a perfect legal system (no system is) but it's quite capable of meting out justice once a thorough investigation has been completed. Conservatism certainly isn't a perfect system (and perfection can't even be seen from where it is today) and the practitioners of its tenets are entirely capable of despicable campaigns of destruction and falsehoods powered by a complete absence of ethical standards.