Ollie was found guilty of three felonies in the arms-for-hostages deal. His conviction was overturned on a technicality with the help of that notorious conservative boogeyman, the American Civil Liberties Union.
It’s instructive to note the glaring double standard being applied by many conservatives to Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who went missing in Afghanistan in 2009.
There are conflicting reports about what precipitated Bergdahl’s disappearance but what is known is that he spent five years in captivity, the only American POW in enemy hands.
When it became evident Bergdahl’s health was declining, the Department of Defense and the White House skipped informing Congress to quickly engineer a trade for him, releasing five terrorist leaders into the custody of Qatar, home of the U.S. Central Command.
Had he told Republicans, does anyone doubt Obama’s GOP enemies would have politicized the exchange, endangering the soldier’s life?
Claims by conservative critics the terrorists will return to the battlefield are unsubstantiated because details of the prisoner exchange are unknown, no doubt for security’s sake.
It doesn’t matter. The benefit of the doubt never goes to Obama as far as conservatives are concerned.
“Islamist sympathizers inside our military walk away, and the Obama White House turns a blind eye,” screeched columnist Michelle Malkin.
When the president acts to save an American soldier, he has nefarious motives. If he hadn’t made the trade, Malkin would be claiming Obama abandoned Bergdahl.
The Bergdahl episode also plays into the right wing conspiracy theory that posits Obama is secretly in league with al-Qaida terrorists and wants them to defeat America.
For proof of this, look no further than all the over-the-top vitriol spewed by conservative pundits such as Malkin over the last couple of weeks.
While it may be true Bowe Bergdahl was disillusioned and angry by what he saw in Afghanistan, he is not the first soldier to object to the actions of his government or commanders.
What is America doing in Afghanistan, anyway? What was the mission there after our troops destroyed the Taliban in 2001? Why did we go back?
The Pentagon’s West Point and Annapolis intellectual elite have a fanciful notion in which “counter insurgency” plays a big role in modern military doctrine.
We must win the war but also the hearts and minds of the locals. It’s a strategy that failed miserably in Vietnam and Iraq, but it will work in Afghanistan, where Great Britain and Russia were kicked to the curb?
When he landed at Inchon in 1950, my late father-in-law was a Marine lieutenant. He told me his mission was simple: kill the enemy, which his platoon fulfilled with lethal efficiency.
How far afield have the Marines drifted? In a current recruiting commercial, gyrenes land in some unidentified desert country, not to kill America’s enemies, but to deliver aid, comfort and goodwill to grateful non-combatants.
So it was Bergdahl found himself in Afghanistan “nation building” in a place run by vicious, America-hating tribal war lords with no concept, appreciation or desire for a nation.
Despairing over the hopelessness of this misbegotten mission, Bergdahl reportedly shared his overwrought thoughts with his parents and comrades. Now he’s being vilified by the right as a deserter and traitor.
It’s bad enough he’s being tried and convicted in the media. Now Bergdahl’s parents have received death threats.
And if you don’t believe there are right wing crazies out there ready to pull the trigger, the murders of two police officers and an innocent bystander in Las Vegas this week by a pair of Cliven Bundy supporters should change your mind.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.