Tuesday Reads: Comedies and Errors

Every why hath a wherefore. 

William Shakespeare from Comedy of Errors

Good Morning!download (12)

I’ve found several stories worth following today.

First, it seems that Somaly Mam of the Cambodian foundation that rescues underage girls from sex work is under heavy scrutiny and criticism. Mam has been the focus of a series of articles in the NYT by Nicholas Kristof as well as documentaries and books.  It seems she got creative in her storytelling. Kristof has yet to write or speak on the matter.

In Nicholas Kristof’s columns in the New York Times, he portrayedMs. Mam in an extraordinarily positive light. He was not alone in doing so. Ms. Mam attracted many high-profile supporters, from Susan Sarandon to John Kerry to Sheryl Sandberg.

In a 2009 column, Mr. Kristof told the story of Long Pross, a teenager (also known as Somana) who said that her eye had been gouged out by a pimp, after she was forced into prostitution. Newsweek has reported, based on medical records, that the girl’s missing eye is the result of surgery to remove a non-malignant tumor when she was 13.

A great deal of money has been raised to combat sex-trafficking, in part as a result of Mr. Kristof’s writing about Ms. Mam on multiple occasions. And there’s little doubt that sex-trafficking is a problem worth paying attention to, and working to end. But now that Ms. Mam has stepped down from the foundation that bears her name — following not only the Newsweek story but the foundation’s internal investigation — many readers, on Twitter and in emails to my office, are asking what Mr. Kristof’s responsibility is for setting the record straight.

0a7b0e195b5ab0d257a2d3766332792dMam has quit her own foundation.

Somaly Mam’s story is incredible. Her autobiography, “The World of Lost Innocence,” detailed how she was born in a village in the Cambodian rain forest and sold into sexual slavery as a child by her “grandfather.” She was stuck in Southeast Asia’s sex industry for 10 years until she finally escaped in her early 20s (her exact age isn’t clear as she has no birth documents).

Mam began to settle into regular life, marrying a French man, moving to Europe and having children of her own. But her childhood experiences led her to save other girls who were suffering a similar fate. She returned to Cambodia and set up Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (known by its French acronym Afesip), a charity devoted to rescuing women and girls in Cambodia and neighboring Laos who are forced into prostitution.

Her efforts gained her international recognition – a 2009 appearance in the Time 100 was written by Angelina Jolie – and in turn raised millions for the protection of children and women from prostitution. But as incredible as that story is, its accuracy is now in serious doubt. On Wednesday, Gina Reiss-Wilchins, executive director of the Somaly Mam Foundation, a U.S.-based organization that acted as a fundraiser for Afesip, said that Mam had resigned from the foundation after being presented with the findings of an investigation by a California-based law firm, Goodwin Procter (Mam is not currently employed by Afesip).

While the exact details from Goodwin Procter have not been released, allegations of inconsistencies in Mam’s past have been around for years. Doubts went back at least as far as 2012, when Mam gave a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that said that the Cambodian army had killed eight girls after a raid on her organization’s Phnom Penh center in 2004.

Following an investigation by Simon Marks in Cambodia Daily, Mam admitted that the claim was inaccurate. “I had in no way intended to allege that girls were murdered during the shelter raid,” Mam told Cambodia Daily in an e-mail, adding that her comments had been “ambiguous.”

Later that year, Pierre Legros – Mam’s French ex-husband – came forward to describe another incident that had not occurred as Mam had described it. In 2006, Mam told Mariane Pearl, wife of Daniel Pearl, in an article for Glamour Magazine that her teenage daughter had been abducted by human traffickers as revenge for her activism. Mam mentioned the incident again in her U.N. speech, which prompted Legros to respond. His daughter had in fact run away with a boyfriend, he said, claiming that he wanted to protect her privacy and stop her being used as “marketing” for the Somaly Mam Foundation.

Other NGOs working on sex trafficking are trying to pick up the pieces.images (44)

What the Somaly Mam story highlights is a state of affairs that many of us in the social change movement bemoan, namely that simple stories of exploitation rarely grab the public’s imagination, the donors, or the press. Unless the overdone images of runny noses, torn clothing, or worse, naked children in a cage waiting to be sold, are splashed on glossy pages, the actual suffering of human beings too often fails to trigger widespread empathy or outrage.

In addition to this heightened need for sensationalism, our society craves numbers. Suffering in small quantities is rarely enough. Given the undercover and “hidden in plain sight” crimes of human trafficking, no entity has been definitively able to pin down the actual number of victims. From the United Nations to national statistics, the numbers range widely from 2.5 million to 20.9 million. Irrespective of the range, all agree that the majority of those estimated individuals are women and children with a majority of that group ending up in the sex trade. In a recent report, theInternational Labor Organization estimated that profits from human trafficking generated $150 billion, two-thirds of which, or $90 billion, stem from commercial sexual exploitation.

Cambodia is designated as a source, transit and destination country for labor and sex trafficking. The U.S. State Department also found that the sale of virgin women and girls continues to be a problem and that Cambodian men form the “largest source of demand for child prostitution.” Regardless of its founder’s personal failings, the Somaly Mam Foundation has plenty of urgent work ahead.

In collaboration with the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, Dr. Melissa Farley, of Prostitution Research and Education, interviewed 133 Cambodian men who purchased commercial sex. The study shows that almost all of these male buyers interviewed in Phnom Penh stated that they witnessed extreme violence inflicted on the prostituted women, more often than not controlled by pimps. The men surveyed also saw children available for paid sexual abuse in brothels, bars and massage parlors. One of the “johns” astutely said that “prostitution is the man’s heaven but it is also those girls’ hell.”

The Somaly Mam episode cannot be used as an excuse to deny or ignore the undeniable exploitation of countless human beings in the sex trade

snake-oilTons of controversy surrounds the capture and release of American POW Bowe Bergdahl.  I’ve been reading some on this and there are several threads of outrage going on.  Some felt Bowe should have been left to the Taliban because of some evidence that he went AWOL.  Others believe that it’s a value of our country and are armed services to leave no one behind.  The right wing is going berserk over some twitters posted by Bergdahl’s father.  I’m not sure what the implication is supposed to be, but the entire thing is turning into a circus act.  Snow Flake Snookie has hit the grifting trail in search of outrage and funds.  Some how, she has decided the soldier’s guilt and fate so any potential military tribunal should just STFU.  I’ve been looking for less outraged and more informative sources.  Here’s the story from one soldier who was assigned to hunt for Bergdahl along with other soldiers.  Some of these soldiers were KIA.

Our deployment was hectic and intense in the initial months, but no one could have predicted that a soldier would simply wander off. Looking back on those first 12 weeks, our slice of the war in the vicinity of Sharana resembles a perfectly still snow-globe—a diorama in miniature of all the dust-coated outposts, treeless brown mountains and adobe castles in Paktika province—and between June 25 and June 30, all the forces of nature conspired to turn it over and shake it. On June 25, we suffered our battalion’s first fatality, a platoon leader named First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw. Five days later, Bergdahl walked away.

His disappearance translated into daily search missions across the entire Afghanistan theater of operations, particularly ours. The combat platoons in our battalion spent the next month on daily helicopter-insertion search missions (called “air assaults”) trying to scour villages for signs of him. Each operations would send multiple platoons and every enabler available in pursuit: radio intercept teams, military working dogs, professional anthropologists used as intelligence gathering teams, Afghan sources in disguise. They would be out for at least 24 hours. I know of some who were on mission for 10 days at a stretch. In July, the temperature was well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit each day.

These cobbled-together units’ task was to search villages one after another. They often took rifle and mortar fire from insurgents, or perhaps just angry locals. They intermittently received resupply from soot-coated Mi-17s piloted by Russian contractors, many of whom were Soviet veterans of Afghanistan. It was hard, dirty and dangerous work. The searches enraged the local civilian population and derailed the counterinsurgency operations taking place at the time. At every juncture I remember the soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place. The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.

Some of the contentiousness is due to the five Taliban who were swapped for the soldier.  None of these guys will ever be up for humanitarian awards wizard_oil_vintage_advertisement_postcard-r3fe2e7e522e74e558c2325b2424de59d_vgbaq_8byvr_324and some feel they are still a danger.

Below is information about each of the detainees released.

Khairullah Khairkhwa is the most senior ex-Guantanamo prisoner who comes from “the fraternity of original Taleban who launched the movement in 1994,” according the Afghanistan Analysts Network. He surrendered to President Hamid Karzai’s brother just before he was captured in January 2002. His most prominent position was as governor of Herat Province from 1999 to 2001. He served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden.

Mullah Norullah Noori served as governor of Balkh Province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance. He was a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001.

Mohammad Fazl commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001 and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime. Human Rights Watch says he could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate their control over the country. Fazl joined the Taliban early, never held a civilian post, and rose through the ranks because of his fighting ability, ending up up as one of their most important and feared military commanders, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Abdul Haq Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime’s intelligence service and the cousin of the head of the service, Qari Ahmadullah, who was among the Taliban’s founding members, according to the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Mohammed Nabi was a Taliban official in Khost Province. He served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan, and later worked as a radio operator for the Taliban’s communications office in Kabul.

images (45)Conveniently forgotten US history includes huge numbers of deals like this.  Ronald Reagan’s arms for hostages deal is only one among many.

The US has all along negotiated with the guerrillas it has fought on the battlefield. William Howard Taft (later president) in the Philippines was all for negotiation with Filipinos who rejected US rule, and he created “attraction zones” to win them over. At the conclusion of the Aguinaldo resistance to US occupation in 1902, Teddy Roosevelt declared a general amnesty for the resistance fighters. These resistance fighters had committed some atrocities, including on captured US troops, but Roosevelt just let them walk free. Talk softly, carry a big stick, and let all the terrorists go, seems to have been his motto.

The US negotiated with the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, who were very much analogous to the Taliban and whom the US would now certainly term “terrorists.” In 1973, the US used intermediaries to negotiate with the Viet Cong for release of captured US soldiers at Loc Ninh. Americans on the political right made a huge issue about 1300 US soldiers never having been released by the Viet Cong (only about 400 were), and the shame that these men were left on the battlefield by the Nixon and Ford administrations. Conservatives seem to want to have it both ways. If you negotiate the release of US captives with the enemy you are “negotiating with terrorists.” If you don’t, then you have left soldiers behind on the battlefield. The fact is that the only way to have freed them was to have offered something for them in detailed negotiations. As for the Viet Cong “terrorists,” many of them are in government now and the US has cordial relations with them.

In the 1980s radical Shiites in Lebanon took American hostages. In order to free them, the Reagan administration not only negotiated with I han’s Ayatollah Khomeini but actually stole T.O.W. anti-aircraft munitions from Pentagon warehouses and shipped them to Tehran, receiving the money for them in black bank accounts and sending it to right wing death squads in Nicaragua. Khomeini and his government were listed as terrorists by the State Department at the time, and selling weapons to Iran was highly illegal. Not only that, but the US was allied with Iraq at the time, so Reagan screwed over Baghdad this way. Reagan did it, in part to free US hostages in Lebanon (Iran put pressure on its clients for their release).

One of the big gag reflexes from the right appears to be the label of “terrorist” as compared to insurgent.

images (46)So, what are some other stories that you may want to check out?

Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino sues NFL over concussions

We’ve talked about the horrible damage caused by concussions before.  Other players have settled suits but this one is from a big name player.

Female-named hurricanes kill more than male hurricanes because people don’t respect them, study finds

Yes, you read that right.  Female named hurricanes don’t get any respect.

Montana House GOP candidates want to impeach Obama 

Can I ever get to the point where I can’t say that the GOP is just bug fuck crazy?

So, those are the items that caught my interest.  What’s on your reading and writing list today?

 

 

 

 


60 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Comedies and Errors”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Explosives Suspect Ryan Chamberlain Captured After Dramatic Manhunt

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/explosives-suspect-ryan-chamberlain-custody-fbi/story?id=23968189

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Seattle votes for $15 minimum wage

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-27674474

    • RalphB says:

      I guess we just have to wait now for all the businesses to leave and the economy to crumble to dust before the eyes of the newly rich minimum wage workers. 🙂

  3. Fannie says:

    I generally do not watch MJ…….but I reviewed this because Rep. Mike Rogers of Mich. says he wouldn’t have brought Bowe Bergdahl home. If you want to skip to the part that caught my attention, fast forward to 17:25…….where he talks about “HARD CHOICES” and says these are guys that shot little girls who want to go school, and here we are asking for women to come out and be participants, but are treated like “cattle” and they are killing women.

    I support all girls and women in every country to have human rights, and equal justice. But I wonder if Mike Rogers is aware of little Abeer who was murdered and raped by US soldier, and she was 14 years old. Her whole family wiped out. I wonder what he has done to stop the sexual violence against our female troops in these WARS on and off the military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many will return home injured for life because those in charge of military have not developed a system that helps women. They refuse to really stop the vicious violence, and then these women become disowned veterans. They are not believed, and not valued once they return home. Just like the Mike Rogers who disowns Bowe, rather than bargain for his life. We have always negotiated during withdrawal from wars.

    In my opinion our President (unlike others) is trying to end these wars with specific goals, and timelines, it is in sight, and it will happen. I remember in prior wars (Vietnam), republicans were concerned 24/7 about stopping communism, and now all they can say is “stop the terrorism”………………I think they need to look a little closer to home (look at the people carry AK47’s into stores, shopping malls, play grounds, and food places, they are terrorist and the NRA feeds them well. Wars and carnage have created a heap of dead, injuries, and destruction, it’s been a slaughterhouse in the last 15 years. These soldiers returning home will never be the same, everyday a veteran is killing himself. Everyday they wonder hopelessly in our society, and not receiving the medical treatment needed. What has been the cost of these wars? How much? How many lives? And not just Americans. I lost a cousin to Iraqi freedom because Pres. Bush, and Cheney and Rice decided to go to war in a country that didn’t attack us in the first place. And we are still paying. Are we winning? Thank God, our president took out a Osama and Godaffi. We are going to have to de-Americanize those countries, I don’t think we have been a good example of democracy or freedom. We didn’t even obey the Geneva Rules.

    There is minefield of republicans disowning Bowe Bergdahl. If I would have seen little Abeer raped, and her family killed, I would have walked away in disgust. Listening to female soldiers tell their vicious attacks by their fellow servicemen, I am disgusted. I could see why his family were trying to keep him alive and play the game about the other side who were also “humans” and “suffering” from the bloodbaths. Thank God, Mike Rogers isn’t in charge, he’d be giving us another 15 years of war, so he can make money like Haliburton did. I hope the war ends, and those corporations who have been living off the war go down, end it.

    Never leave a soldier behind, dead or alive.

    http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/rogers-i-wouldnt-have-brought-bergdahl-home-272710212001

  4. dakinikat says:

    Over at the intersection of Unemployable Boulevard and Legacy Hire Way, the kidz and their recess monitors are busily fashioning a yellow ribbon into a noose for Bowe Bergdahl.

    Pierce on the “Bergdahl Chronicals: Welcome Home Creep!”

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/andrew-c-mccarthy-bergdahl-taliban-060314

  5. RalphB says:

    On Somaly Mam, I would very much like to know who was the client of California-based law firm, Goodwin Procter? Who paid for their investigation? Is anyone following that money trail? There could be a surprisingly large pimp at the end of it.

  6. RalphB says:

    buzzfeed: Republican Strategist Helped Organize Bergdahl Critics

    WASHINGTON — A former Bush Administration official hired, then resigned, as Mitt Romney’s foreign policy spokesman played a key role in publicizing critics of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the released prisoner of war.

    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.

    The New York Times reported that “Republican strategists” had arranged an interview for them with men who served in Afghanistan with Bergdahl, who was released after five years of imprisonment by the Taliban in a controversial prisoner swap deal. In the article, the men express their anger at Bergdahl for leaving the base, causing other soldiers to risk their lives looking for him.

    The same soldiers also did interviews with The Weekly Standard, the Daily Mail, the Wall Street Journal, and Fox News.

    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.” Grenell retweeted the tweet, calling Full a “true American hero.” …

    At least one of them, Cody Full, is a RWNJ and appears to be a supporter of Cliven Bundy as @CodyFNfootball on twitter. This is an example of scumbags in action.

    • dakinikat says:

      Bush lawyer agrees that the Taliban 5 had to be released next year anyway http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/06/released-taliban-detainees-not-so-innocent-after-all/

      • RalphB says:

        Well, he’s correct but that applies to all the prisoners in Gitmo unless they are otherwise charged. The current Republican arguments have absolutely no basis in reality that I can find and are really incoherent, once you get past rudimentary talking points.

        This is even more bizarre than the ridiculous support for Cliven Bundy, IMHO. Fox anchors are attacking Bob Bergdahl because he “looks like a Muslim” with his beard. Have those assholes already forgotten the Duck Dick crew? It’s reached a ridiculous level among the RWNJs.

        I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a freak show exactly like this before and I’ve got no idea who this is going to hurt in the end. But I know damned well it’s not harmless.

        Bowe Bergdahl might come to miss the relative sanity of the Taliban after being back home.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Grennell is the guy that was fired by Romney because he is gay.

      • RalphB says:

        He’s also a right wing asshole!

        • bostonboomer says:

          I know. You’d think he might revise his views based on being treated so badly, but I guess he’s a self-hating asshole too.

  7. RalphB says:

    CNN: Hillary Clinton to take part in live CNN town hall

    Washington (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will take part in a live town hall meeting that will be moderated by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour later this month.

    The June 17 event will take place at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and it will be the only network televised town hall that the former secretary of state participates in during the closely watched rollout of her new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

    In addition to Amanpour’s questions, Clinton will “take questions from the American public with nothing off limits,” according to a CNN statement announcing the event. The town hall will air on CNN at 5 p.m. ET and be simulcast on CNN International and CNN en Español. It will re-air on CNN at 9 p.m. ET. …

    This I will watch for sure.

  8. carrie says:

    FYI, Bob Bergdahl says (at 9:14) that his son was tried for warcrimes early on:
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/may/31/bowe-bergdahls-father-bob-interview-video

  9. dakinikat says:

    This short documentary profiles residents of the Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, as they confront a future threatened by sinking shorelines and rising seas.

    http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000002916180/vanishing-island.html

  10. RalphB says:

    Charles P Pierce: Such Are The Dreams Of The Everyday Has-Been, Continued

    Wow, Scott Brown is one ridiculous character. 🙂

  11. Fannie says:

    Gop think soldiers are just cogwheels in the killing machine…………….LET’S ROLL

  12. RalphB says:

    Fannie, you should love this. Another veteran who is just shocked at people being pissed we brought home a POW. Well worth the read.

    Stonekettle Station: Negotiating With Terrorists

    Are we really going to do this?

    Is this what it’s finally come down to, is it really?

    Look at yourselves, you silly selfish bastards.

    Look. At. Yourselves.

    Go on, do it, find a mirror and look into your own dead zombie eyes and see the empty void looking back.

    This revolting, disgusting display of hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy, is this what we’ve finally become?

    Are we now so filled with foul bilious hatred, are we now so consumed with soul-destroying fear, do we now despise our own selves so much that we would actually protest the return of one of our own? Is that it?

    Is that what we’ve become?

    If so, then the sooner America collapses of its own maggot-ridden gangrenous rot, the better. …

    And then he gets really pissed off. He wrote most of my own thoughts much better than I ever would.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    American paranoia and Bowe Bergdahl

    And amid all the fear and anger and, yes, paranoia, is the chance that the release of the Taliban five maybe – just maybe – will do some good. None of the men were ever charged with any crime against US citizens or soldiers, and the Afghan government has been eager to pen a reconciliation deal with the Taliban. US-installed President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly sought talks with the group, downplayed their threat, and criticized the money spent and blood spilled on his government’s behalf in America’s longest war.

    Ending wars almost requires hard choices, and that moment has arrived for the US. A hard choice may prove to be a wrong choice, but it isn’t betrayal, and people that seek black and white clarity over Afghanistan need to look elsewhere.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Statement of the Sec of the Army:

      Release No: NR-288-14
      June 03, 2014
      Statement by Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

      Secretary of the Army John McHugh released the following statement:

      “As an Army, we are grateful that an American soldier is back in American hands. The warrior ethos is more than words, and we should never leave a comrade behind.

      “Our first priority is ensuring Sgt. Bergdahl’s health and beginning his reintegration process. There is no timeline for this, and we will take as long as medically necessary to aid his recovery.

      “As Chairman Dempsey indicated, the Army will then review this in a comprehensive, coordinated effort that will include speaking with Sgt. Bergdahl to better learn from him the circumstances of his disappearance and captivity. All other decisions will be made thereafter, and in accordance with appropriate regulations, policies and practices.”

    • RalphB says:

      This debate will be conducted wholly on emotional grounds. How does this make us feel? Scared or sad or angry. One of those three. No other emotion or actual facts will be allowed.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    This is hilarious!

    Gwyneth Paltrow thinks you can hurt water’s feelings by yelling at it

    “Have I tried to reproduce Mr. Emoto’s experiments? No, and I don’t intend to,” writes Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht, an expert on snow crystals. “As we liked to say back on the farm in North Dakota — it’s good to have an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out!”

    • RalphB says:

      🙂 How amazingly silly.

    • RalphB says:

      MoJo: Rand Paul Holds Conference Call With Tea Partier Who Says Obama “Has Muslim Sensibilities”

      On Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the guest speaker on Rev. E.W. Jackson’s semi-regular conference call, during which Jackson, a tea party activist, said that President Barack Obama has “Muslim sensibilities” and that gay Americans “want to destroy us.”

      Jackson, who was the losing Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia last year, is known for his many offensive and outlandish statements about gays, lesbians, non-Christians, and Obama. Jackson has warned that yoga leads to Satan, Obama is using NASA to expand Islam, and the Democratic Party platform is “an agenda worthy of the Antichrist.” …

      Paul is just as stupid as Gwymeth Paltrow and I’d rather have her as president.

  15. RalphB says:

    Considering everything so far, this could be another ‘Terry Schiavo’ moment for the GOP.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m so not surprised.

        • RalphB says:

          Kelly Ayotte inserted an amendment into a bill to get him back on March 22, Now she’s bugfuck about this deal.

      • RalphB says:

        Some people seem to be going all in that Bergdahl was disillusioned with the war and had sympathy for the Afghan people. Wrong! That alone will not make a person desert.
        I know how he may have felt. I did 6 active years in the USMC and saw combat with the 3rd Force Recon. In my time there, I was disillusioned with the war and felt a hell of a lot of sympathy for the everyday Vietnamese people. That didn’t stop me from doing my job and everything I could to keep my brothers alive. That added a lot of guilt to my later years but sure didn’t make me want to defect.
        Leaving an American soldier behind would be just unAmerican and the GOP seems to have finally stepped firmly over the line.

        • dakinikat says:

          The army will handle it I’m sure and find out what happened. He’s got to be coming back with information on the Taliban and he’s probably not the least bit himself. I don’t know why folks just can’t stfu and let the army handle it.

          • RalphB says:

            I’m really sick about it. I never expected this, ever.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I agree completely. I feel so badly for his parents. I can’t understand how anyone can be as hard-hearted as these GOP assholes.

        • Fannie says:

          We love you man.

      • RalphB says:

        McCain on February 18:

        In 2012, McCain called the idea of negotiating with the Taliban “bizarre” and “highly questionable,” but on Tuesday he said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ that he would be open to a swap now being discussed.

        McCain said his stance has changed only because the previous proposal was to release five “hard-core” Taliban leaders as a “confidence-building measure.” The current proposal would be an actual exchange of prisoners.

        “I would be inclined to support such a thing, depending on a lot of details,” he said.

        McCain on June 1:

        It is disturbing that these individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight, and they are big, high-level people, possibly responsibly for the deaths of thousands…

        So to be clear, McCain was against it before he was for it before he was against it.

    • RalphB says:

      From comments at balloon-juice:

      someday they’ll be making films about our brave 101st chairborne.

      like ‘Chicken Hawk Down’, or ‘Zero Dark QWERTY’, or ‘The Charge of the Lite Beer Brigade’.

  16. bostonboomer says:

    So much for the security of the Snowden docs.

    There’s A Huge New Snowden Leak — And No One Knows Where It Came From

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/theres-huge-snowden-leak-no-183610597.html?soc_src=copy

  17. RalphB says:

  18. RalphB says:

    On the Bergdahl swap…

    Several news organizations, including The Washington Post, had learned of the proposal much earlier but refrained from reporting on it at the request of the Pentagon, which argued that public disclosure that Bergdahl was a subject of a negotiation between the Taliban and the United States could put his life at risk.

    The group of people who knew about this swap proposal just gets bigger by the hour.

  19. Fannie says:

    Here’s another piss off: Soldier in court, accused of operating a prostitution ring at Fort Hood.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/03/army-soldier-in-court-over-accusations-of-operating-fort-hood-prostitution-ring/