COMMENTARY | One of the unsettling aspects, from the administration’s point of view, of the Bergdahl affair has been the number of his brother soldiers who have expressed disappointment in his desertion. This led one administration official to suggest they are “psychopaths.”
“Brandon Friedman, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sent out a series of tweets Wednesday night questioning those soldiers trying to ‘smear’ Bergdahl for abandoning his post in 2009.
“The first said: “Here’s the thing about Bergdahl and the Jump-to-Conclusions mats: What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership?”
“He went on to argue that Bergdahl might have grown ‘disillusioned’ with leadership and walked off – and that this might give those who served with him ‘reason to smear him publicly now.’
Friedman later issued an apology of sorts, but his views seem to illustrate the feeling of many in the Obama administration, who have referred to the criticism of Bergdahl as “swiftboating,” a term liberals like to use when veterans they favor are under attack. It stems from the 2004 campaign when then Senator John Kerry attempted to run for president based on his Vietnam War record. A group of his brother officers, calling themselves “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” launched a campaign that pointed out that Kerry’s claims of heroism were less than meet the eye. They were also likely angry with Kerry for smearing all Vietnam vets in a now infamous senate testimony in which he compared soldiers fighting in Vietnam to the “army of Genghis Khan.”
Bergdahl was going to be the administration’s poster child of American soldiers returning home from Afghanistan to a grateful nation. Bad staff work and no little arrogance has caused that plan to blow up in the Obama administration’s collective face. Friedman did not help matters by trying to kill the messengers who are imparting just how thoroughly the White House messed up.