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Ron Radosh

Kreitner refers back to an article appearing in the publication in 1973, which attacked “the denigration of deserters” during the Vietnam War. Both writers conflate opposing a war on the grounds of conscience with desertion, which they see as one and the same thing. For Kreitner, a deserter is nothing more than a soldier who out of opposition to war — which of course is never just when carried out by the United States — rightfully deserts and leaves his comrades in the lurch.

Kreitner refers “vicious commentary” about Bergdahl, who, he writes, was only guilty of having “served on the front lines of the American imperial machine with the unenviable misfortune of doing so with eyes wide open.” Let us put this another way. What he is saying is that because he thinks Bergdahl rightfully opposed the U.S. mission, he was a hero for deserting. Bergdahl wrote his parents an e-mail before deserting, in which he famously said: “I am ashamed to be an American. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. I am sorry for everything. The horror that is America is disgusting.” To The Nation, that position makes him a hero.

That e-mail by Bergdahl is most revealing of his disdain for his country. Kreitner , however, sees it as candid and true. As he puts it, Bergdahl only “saw reality too clearly.” He was doing nothing more than “struggling with issues of conscience.” The Army, he writes, was wrong to not inform Bergdahl that he could be let out of duty for issues of conscience, thus forcing him to desert. Got that? It’s the U.S. Army that put him in this position. Of course, Kreitner confuses what this sergeant did — deserting — with an act of conscience. Hatred of the U.S. and disdain for his comrades, which he made clear in his e-mail, is definitely not grounds for leaving the U.S. Army because of conscience. If it were, anyone could leave the armed forces for which he or she volunteered because they changed their mind about their mission.

Kreitner ends by writing that putting “slugs into human flesh” is not the “promotion of democracy.” Only a Nation author could think there is something immoral about fighting America’s sworn enemies on the battlefield.

_____________

Update: Here’s confirmation that Democrats are getting getting fed up, and that for them, the swap was the last straw. It comes for National Journal editor Ron Fournier:  He writes:

The email hit my in-box at 9:41 p.m. last Wednesday.  From one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, a close adviser to the White House, the missive amounted to an electronic eye roll. “Even I have had enough.”

Another Democrat had quit on President Obama.

The tipping point for this person was the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl case—not the soldier-for-Taliban swap itself as much as how the White House mishandled its obligation to communicate effectively and honestly to Congress and the public. More than that, Obama’s team had failed once again to acknowledge its mistakes, preferring to cast blame and seek cover behind talking points….

To this senior Democrat, the Politico story showed the White House to be both tone-deaf and arrogant, two vices that are undermining what could have been a great presidency.

I share this email to make the broader point and to offer a disclosure: In the 18 months since I began writing columns focused on the presidency, virtually every post critical of Obama has originated from conversations with Democrats. Members of Congress, consultants, pollsters, lobbyists, and executives at think tanks, these Democrats are my Obama-whispers. They respect and admire Obama but believe that his presidency has been damaged by his shortcomings as a leader; his inattention to details of governing; his disengagement from the political process and from the public; his unwillingness to learn on the job; and his failure to surround himself with top-shelf advisers who are willing to challenge their boss as well as their own preconceived notions.

The relative who phoned us is just a regular Obama Democrat who, like these Democratic leaders, is fed up.

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Top Rated Comments   
Perhaps the president’s handling of the Bergdahl-Taliban swap will be the one action that will turn the tide, pushing even his most stalwart supporters to become fed up. I say this based upon a phone call my wife received last night from a relative, one of those perennial liberals who up to now has supported virtually every Obama policy and act. True, this is hardly a scientific poll or sampling. But we were stunned to hear this relative tell us how angry she was with the president. The deal, she said, was unconscionable and dangerous.

Perhaps. Perhaps pigs will fly. Perhaps the sky will fall and we can all catch larks. Perhaps the leopard will change its spots.

More likely, however, is that a few aging Leftists who have some vestigial patriotism from the half-century or more ago when the Leftist euphemisms "liberal" and "progressive" were not yet synonyms for "flagrantly and openly anti-American" are mildly discomfited. But their voices are few, and easily ignored---by the regime, by the media, by the ahistorical young.

It is a waste of time to keep messing around with the entrails of sheep trying to find a portent of sanity in the American Left.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
To a traitor, a fellow traitor is a hero.

To the left, all traitors are heroes. A country can and should allow principled dissent. But it should not glorify treason...or one day it will be ruled by it. That one day is upon us.


16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
It could be mentioned that Slovik, like so many of past wars, was a conscript soldier. Bergdahl volunteered.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (56)
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15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment


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15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The left long ago parted ways with America. An issue as serious as this will pry a few Democrats loose from Obama, but not likely very far or long.


16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
WHY SHOULD BO BERGDAHL HATE PRESIDENT OBAMA?

Click www.apollospeaks.com for the answer.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not sure. My own anectodal evidence tells me that the hard-core Obamabot thinks that either a) Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban while doing his duty or b) he's a conscientious objector. In either case, he's considered a hero at best, or at worst a brave, free-thinking protester against Bush's illegal war. Either way, he's an American who deserves our full support.

I'm waiting to form a final judgement until I get more information about the kid and the events leading up to his capture by and/or desertion to the Taliban. I don't know whether his reported statements are the griping of a disgruntled soldier or serious expressions of his political beliefs.

At the moment, I tend not to view him in the most charitable light. He sounds like a crank. His parents (understandable parental concern for their son aside) sound like cranks.

But I think the kid's character - whether he "deserved" to be released - is a separate issue. The important thing is, no matter whether the kid was kidnapped or deserted, Obama made the deal to get him back. That's what we should focus on. If we beat on the Bergdahl too much, we look like bullies.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regarding Pvt. Slovik, during the Battle of the Bulge, the supply of replacements from the US who were infantrymen dried up. At the same time, there were an estimated 25,000 AWOL/desertion individuals in Paris.

As the primary allegiance of a Muslim is to Islam and the Ummah, it is not clear how a Muslim can have any but a conditional allegiance to the Constitution and the US military if in the military.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Leftists ALWAYS try to turn bad behavior into a virtue. It's the only way they know to relieve their self loathing.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even if they question their silly hollow man's actions in this one instance it's meaningless. They would still vote for him all over again if they could.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was going to post but you've said all there is to say. Finally, finally! (maybe) they're angry with Obama. But angry like no smartphone or ipad for a week angry. Angry like your grades better improve or else, Buster. Meaningless.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
He likes the Taliban 5 and he likes the deserter, for Obama it's a win-win.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hostile dictatorships do not waste time with onanistic hand-wringing about what to do with deserters. They just shoot them. During World War II, both the Nazis and the USSR executed thousands of deserters on the Eastern Front. There is little doubt what countries like Iran or North Korea would do with frontline grunts having second thoughts.

Leaving all moral arguments aside, if America's enemies ruthlessly maintain discipline while America itself indulges desertion, the practical result may well be defeat for America in a present or future conflict. Do even the most hardcore leftists really believe that such a result will advance the Western values that even they claim to uphold?

This is the same theme that invariably occurs with any leftist criticism of military operations or the military itself. They assume that we can, at will, reduce the unsavory aspects of war (punishing deserters, using terrible weapons, risking civilian casualties, etc.) without risking defeat and the even worse results that will entail. But this is just false. The reality is that extreme measures and victory cannot be separated, even if, in recent times, technological advances (like precision bombing) have made the military option less unsavory than at any point in history.

If we choose to go to war, it makes no sense to conduct it in any way other than that which will defeat our enemies as quickly and decisively as possible. When has leftist squeamishness ever had any result other than encouraging US enemies and prolonging the resulting suffering?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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