Republicans Take a 'Leave That Man Behind' Approach to Obama's Release of Bergdahl
Soldiers who served in Afghanistan with Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and are angry about his release, labeling him a deserter, have been everywhere in the media over the past few days. It turns out that they've had professional help getting wide media coverage:
The involvement of Richard Grenell, who once served as a key aide to Bush-era U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and later worked for Romney’s 2012 campaign, comes as the Bergdahl release has turned into an increasingly vicious partisan issue. [...]
Cody Full, one of the soldiers quoted in the New York Times and other stories, tweeted yesterday about Grenell: “I want to thank @richardgrenell for helping get our platoon’s story out.”
As a Republican operative, Grenell can be relied on to take the view that anything that might hurt President Barack Obama is good enough for him; the soldiers seem to be taking the view that Bergdahl deserved to spend the rest of his life, however long or short, as a prisoner. The president takes another view:
"Regardless of circumstances ... we still get an American prisoner back," Obama said during a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. "Period, full stop -- we don't condition that."
So does Pentagon spokesman Adm. John F. Kirby:
"When you're in the Navy, and you go overboard, it doesn't matter if you were pushed, fell or jumped," he said. "We're going to turn the ship around and pick you up."
This isn't an uncommon view among Republicans talking about the military, either—or at least, it isn't uncommon among them when there's a Republican president. In fact, some of the same people who were urging the White House to free Bergdahl "using all means necessary" a few months before his release are now joining the outrage.