By Ben Barrack
The Obama administration’s defense of Bowe Bergdahl continues to descend toward positions that defend the Taliban itself. This is bolstered by the congressional testimony of a Benghazi whistleblower last year. At the time, former Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom testified that his frustrations in dealing with the State Department led him to conclude that ‘…the Taliban is on the inside of the building’.
Since the announcement of Bergdahl’s release, Obama administration officials have been doubling down hard on the decision; they’ve been doing so by lying, smearing and bearing false witness.
The latest example comes from Brandon Friedman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs who, in a series of tweets, defended Bergdahl’s desertion by alleging that the “platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership”. This is inherently a defense of a deserter and potentially, the Taliban itself:
As Shoebat.com has reported, the entire Bergdahl prisoner swap smacks of desperation and distraction from the VA scandal and Benghazi. Freeing a POW was supposed to neutralize claims that the administration leaves men behind and doesn’t care for its veterans.
One of the reasons Friedman – himself a veteran – may be so emotionally unhinged at this PR strategy backfiring is his role with the VA, which is mired in a scandal that was exacerbated during the Obama administration. According to Friedman’s own website, he held a prominent PR position with the VA from 2009 – 2012:
Brandon joined FleishmanHillard after three years with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where he launched and managed the first Office of Online Communications inside America’s second-largest federal agency. While at VA, Brandon planned and oversaw execution of a digital media strategy for a department with over 300,000 employees servicing eight million enrolled veterans.
To put this in perspective, the VA scandal has revealed a tremendous amount of disregard, disrespect, and disdain for veterans that got worse on Friedman’s watch. There are strong indications that the Bergdahl story was intended to stem some of the tide of public outrage over the scandal. As Shoebat.com reported, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd admitted the Obama administration was caught off-guard when the backlash over Bergdahl’s release became apparent, saying additionally that the administration thought there would be ‘euphoria’ over the deal.
Clearly, this ‘euphoria’ was supposed to suck up all the oxygen that was being spent on Benghazi and the VA scandals.
Moreover, this massive PR miscalculation has served to compound the administration’s problems, not distract from them. Friedman’s area of expertise is PR. For him to be so unbelievably unhinged as to impugn the character and motives of… veterans who are standing together and corroborating evidence brought forth in places like the left-wing rags like Rolling Stone is at a minimum… very bad… PR.
As it relates to the VA scandal the irony here – in addition to Friedman’s familiarity with and connection to the bureaucracy responsible – is that he is smearing veterans the VA was caught casting aside.
These elevations of Bergdahl and the subsequent character assassinations of his fellow soldiers who disputed Bergdahl’s “hero” status have grown in intensity on an almost daily basis. On Sunday, Susan Rice – who shored up her bonafides as a non-credible source in the days after Benghazi – told the American people that Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction”. On Monday, two soldiers who served with Bergdahl vehemently insisted he was a deserter. On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Jen Psaki insisted Bergdahl was not a deserter. Later that night, Friedman sends out his tweets. On Wednesday, Deputy Spokesman Marie Harf essentially called these soldiers liars. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd also relays that White House aids are accusing the soldiers of “swift-boating” Bergdahl.
These attacks have been devolving at a time when the administration should be demonstrating humility, not arrogance, or potentially worse yet, sympathy for the Taliban.
Worse still is the possibility that Nordstrom’s metaphor should be taken a bit more literally.