During an interview with Megyn Kelly of The Kelly File Wednesday night, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA) managed a nice little two-fer while discussing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — he flip-flopped from his previous opinion of the soldier and he ‘swift boated’ him. Bergdahl has become latest cause celebre for Republicans, as they feel they can agitate and energize their rapidly shrinking base of angry old white men by accusing the POW of being a deserter and traitor which the President traded five of the hardest hard-core Taliban leaders for to bring back home.
Kelly asked Hunter at the beginning of their interview if there is any validity to statements made by White House aides that Sgt. Bergdahl is suffering the same fate that John Kerry did during his 2004 Presidential campaign, when he was famously attacked by fellow Vietnam veterans over his service record, in an action that has been tagged ‘swift boating.’ Anyway, Hunter, a Marine veteran, disagreed that Bergdahl was being swift boated, and then proceeded to swift boat the former POW.
Below is video of the interview, courtesy of Fox News.
As John Kerry threw his medals over the White House fence and turned his back on all of his Vietnam brothers and sisters, that’s what Bergdahl did. Bergdahl walked away from his men, and he left them in a bad spot. People lost their lives and got hurt trying to find him. But the one real commitment that you have as a military person, especially when you’re fighting and it’s dirty and you’re tired and you’re hungry, it’s not always to your flag, it’s not always for your country, it’s for the man or the woman standing next to you. And he betrayed that and that is the most sacred trust that you have in the military, whether it’s the Marine Corps, the Army, the Navy or the Air Force. It’s that trust that you have with the person next to you. That’s what he betrayed.
You have to hand it to Hunter. He was able to knock both John Kerry’s actions during the Vietnam War while at the same time claiming that Bergdahl is a deserter and betrayed his fellow soldiers. If Hunter gets defeated in November by Democrat James Kimber, a veteran himself, he will likely have a seat at the table over at Fox News. He is a pro at throwing out the red meat for the conservative viewers to gnaw on.
I did say point out that Hunter also flip-flopped on his opinion of Bergdahl as a deserter. Well, as Tom Kludt over at Talking Points Memo pointed out on Thursday, it appears that Hunter co-signed a letter to Fox News back in 2009, along with 22 other members of Congress, complaining about analyst Ralph Peters’ assertion that Bergdahl was a deserter and deserved to be detained by the Taliban. The letter urged Peters to apologize to Bergdahl’s family and the troops stationed in Afghanistan. The writers of the letter also requested that Fox News chief Roger Ailes publicly apologize for Peters’ implication that Bergdahl should be killed by the Taliban. The entire letter can be read here.
It is one thing to play along with your party’s latest talking point; it is another thing entirely to just be a raging hypocrite. Hunter went out of his way to defend Bergdahl all the way back in 2009 when a Fox News analyst called him a deserter then. He, like other Republicans, called for action to be taken to bring Bergdahl back home. Now, because Republicans somehow sense a scandal here that can hurt the President, Hunter is playing along and denigrating Bergdahl because that’s just how the Republican Party rolls these days.
Regarding Bergdahl, in the end, does it even matter whether or not the man’s service record wasn’t impeccable? Seriously, what kind of person takes joy in slandering and criticizing a person who just spent five years in captivity as a prisoner of war? This man was an American soldier that volunteered for service and went overseas to fight in a war. This nation has made a promise to its soldiers that, if they should be captured by an enemy, extraordinary measures will be made to bring them back home. That is what occurred with Bergdahl. Case closed.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).