SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

June 18, 2014

Armerding: Don't listen to those who knew Bergdahl best, Obama says

For several weeks now, since President Barack Obama held a Rose Garden event to brag about his exchange of five Taliban terrorist leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the patronizing elite of the left have scolded conservatives and a few fellow Democrats for a hateful “rush to judgment.”

Critics are not supposed to listen to, or place any credibility in, multiple members of Bergdahl’s unit, who have declared publicly that the former prisoner of war is a deserter.

We’re not supposed to draw any conclusions about anything, they tell us, until “all of the facts are known.” After all, Bergdahl hasn’t been charged, never mind convicted, of desertion.

OK, fair enough. People aren’t supposed to be convicted on hearsay or before a trial on the merits. But it isn’t fair enough when the Obama administration itself makes violating that supposed obligation its standard operating procedure.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows in the days after Bergdahl’s release to declare that he had served with “honor and distinction.” That is a blatant rush to judgment, as well. How does she know, if all the facts are not yet known?

This, of course, is a pattern for Rice. She went on the talk shows shortly after the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, to declare the attack was simply a demonstration against an anti-Muslim video that somehow got out of hand. That was an obvious rush to judgment — or a deliberate diversion — given that the administration was forced to admit later that the attack was planned and had nothing to do with the video.

Rice later “clarified” her declaration on Bergdahl, claiming that anyone who joins the military deserves the “honor and distinction” label (except, apparently, those who insist that Bergdahl deserted.) Which makes serving in the U.S. armed forces sound a little bit like youth soccer: Everybody who shows up gets a trophy.

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