Obama Admin Official: What If Bergdahl's Fellow Soldiers Were Psychopaths? UPDATE: Apologizes
An Obama administration official upset with the direction of the Bergdhal story voiced his concern on Twitter on Wednesday, floating a theory that put Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a more sympathetic light--and his fellow soldiers as part of the problem.
The American people, he argued, were too quick to jump to conclusions about Bergdahl after his fellow soldiers spoke out about his disappearance.
“Here's the thing about Bergdahl and the Jump-to-Conclusions mats: What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership?” asked Brandon Friedman, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at Department of Housing and Urban Development, in a series of Twitter posts.
“What if he grew disillusioned with what he saw, didn't trust his leadership, and walked off?,” he continued. “Legal? No. Worthy of sympathy? Maybe. If that were the case, the soldiers in his platoon would have all the more reason to smear him publicly now.”
Friedman, a former infantry officer in the Army, has been awarded two Bronze Stars for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also the author of The War I Always Wanted, a book that details his disillusionment with the U.S. Army and the decision to go to war in Iraq.
Friedman insisted that his theory was “not out of the realm of possibility” and called for Americans to withhold judgment until they heard both sides of the story.
“I’m not a fan of such speculation, but this story could not be more unbalanced - with so many premature calls of ‘traitor,’” he concluded.
Friedman has weighed in on the Bergdahl case in several other posts, in which he scorns critics.
“One reason why the Bergdahl thing is so overheated: Many Americans--including military 'supporters'--have a cartoonish view of the military,” he said on Wednesday. “Actual military people, specifically those who served with--and criticized--Bergdahl, are satisfied he was returned safely.”
“[T]he loudest, most venomous commentary on the topic comes from the least informed,” he concluded.
Friedman did not return calls made by Breitbart News to his office at
the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Friedman, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, has a long history
of anti-war activism after he left the military in 2004.
Friedman delivered the Democratic response to President George W. Bush's
radio address in 2007, blaming the president for putting troops in
the middle of a “civil war” in Iraq.
"The fact is, the Iraq war has kept us from devoting assets we need to
fight terrorists worldwide -- as evidenced by the fact that Osama bin
Laden is still on the loose and al-Qaida has been able to rebuild,"
Friedman said. "We need an effective offensive strategy that takes the
fight to our real enemies abroad. And the best way to do that is to get
our troops out of the middle of this civil war in Iraq."
He was also a key spokesman accusing Rush Limbaugh of calling veterans
who opposed the war “phony soldiers.” appearing on multiple MSNBC
segments criticizing the conservative talk radio show host.
Friedman called Limbaugh a “hypocritical draft-dodger” in a Daily Kos piece slamming his comments.
Friedman has a history of displaying disgust at conservatives on Twitter.
Below are some of his 'greatest hits'
By Thursday afternoon, Freidman apologized for his tweets:
While I just wanted to make the point that the public should wait before passing judgment, I unfortunately used my own poor judgment in choosing inappropriate language that many view as disparaging to U.S. service members,” he said in a statement to Buzzfeed reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro. “That was certainly not my intent and I regret making the comments on my personal account in such a way. I apologize to those with whom I work in the Administration, at HUD, and, most importantly, to any service members who took offense.