The trajectory of Republican rhetoric following the rescue of the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been one of the more bizarre political developments in recent memory. Last night on Fox News, it seemed to reach Peak Nonsense, which is no easy task.
Republicans were happy about an American POW coming home; then they changed their minds. Republicans endorsed the prisoner swap itself; then they changed their minds. Republicans extended their thoughts and prayers to Bergdahl and his family; then they changed their minds. Republicans demanded that the Obama administration had a responsibility to do everything humanly possible to free this POW from his captors; then they changed their minds.
Even by 2014 standards, watching this unfold over the last several days has been painful.
But just when it seemed the right’s talking points couldn’t possibly reach new depths, along comes Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).
California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter compared Secretary of State John Kerry to Bergdahl, saying Kerry “turned his back” on his fellow soldiers like Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the recently released prisoner of war, who some have claimed was a deserter.“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,” Hunter said in an interview with Fox News. “Bergdahl walked away from his men and he left them in a bad spot. People lost their lives or got hurt trying to find him.”
Hunter added that the release of an American POW was “a botched foreign policy move.”
There was no indication that the right-wing congressman was kidding.
It’s fairly obvious at this point that facts are no longer relevant in this conversation, but I thought I’d note that Kerry is a decorated war veteran who earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. For anyone, least of all an elected federal lawmaker, to argue on national television that Kerry “turned his back” on servicemen and women is disgusting.
Kerry’s willingness to protest the war in which he served as been the subject of considerable debate, but in Hunter’s mind, those protests are apparently comparable to desertion. I’ve tried to think of a way in which that’s coherent. I haven’t come up with anything.
For those unfamiliar with Hunter, it’s worth noting for context that the far-right Californian last year suggested using “tactical nuclear weapons” in Iran in order to “set them back a decade or two or three.”
Around the same time, the 37-year-old congressman said “lying” is simply a part of “Middle Eastern culture.”