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Right-Wing Media Frenzy Over Bergdahl: The New ‘Benghazi’ | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Right-Wing Media Frenzy Over Bergdahl: The New ‘Benghazi’

Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, March 2009

Two soldiers rest after a mission in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, March 2009. (Reuters/Stefano Rellandini)

The right-wing media, naturally, have been on a rampage—even putting Benghazi on the back burner!—over the US-Taliban prisoner swap. Since Obama was behind it, or at least agreed to it, this must have been a horrible thing, yet another to the long list of proposed articles of impeachment. It was nice to see Jake Tapper hit Senator John McCain on this.

And maybe the US soldier’s dad should be impeached, too, for wearing such a long beard—without even having nabbing a guest spot on Duck’s Dynasty.

But even mainstream outlets have breathlessly reported the claims by former comrades of the US soldier Bowe Bergdahl that the search for him, years ago, cost a number (it varies) of American lives. Then there are the long-held claims that he actually deserted his post and was not simply snatched.

While this all gets sorted out in the days ahead, this New York Times report today questions the claims of US lives lost in the hunt.

Don’t miss this wild file via WikiLeaks from its Afghan War Logs on the night of Bergdahl’s capture (was he on the john?) and frantic search for him using copters, drones, and dog teams.

Meanwhile, VICE News just posted a big piece up just now on the long-forgotten Rolling Stone article by the late Michael Hastings—that sparked FBI interest—on Bergdahl-as-defector. I’ve never been in the “conspiracy” camp on Hastings’s death but still this is interesting reading.

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At the time of the story’s publication, the media had all but forgotten about Bergdahl—who was released on Saturday after five years in the hands of the Taliban, in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners. And, with the exception of some initial chatter, Hastings’ piece, which paints a deeply unflattering picture of Bergdahl’s unit and its leadership, hardly had the impact of some of his other investigations.

But someone did pay attention to it: the FBI.

That, at least, is what was revealed in a heavily redacted document released by the agency following a Freedom of Information Act request—filed on the day of Hastings’ death—by investigative journalist Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, an MIT doctoral student whom the Justice Department once called the “most prolific” requester of FOIA documents.

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