Bergdahl backlash worse than expected?
No one can be faulted for overlooking the distinction between the Taliban and Haqqani networks, since our glorious multi-layerered fact-checking media gatekeepers haven't been interested in discussing it so far. The White House did not instruct them to talk about the Haqqani stuff in this weekend's talking points memo, so they didn't.
I found an elliptical reference to it fully 15 paragraphs into a Washington Post piece that explained who the five bloodthirsty killers Obama traded for Bergdahl are: "Mohammad Nabi Omari, 46, was a member of a joint al-Qaeda-Taliban cell in eastern Khost province, according to his case file, and 'one of the most significant former Taliban leaders detained' at Guantanamo. He has ties to the Haqqani network, the group that was believed to be holding Bergdahl."
Otherwise, our million-dollar news anchors and writers at the Papers of Record seemed content to leave the heavy lifting to Brad Thor, who apparently has better military and intelligence connections than the entire American media establishment. Al-Qaeda should be super happy to have Omari back, since Obama "decimated" them and all.
I was initially willing to cut Sgt. Bergdahl's father a bit of slack for kissing up to his son's captors, but it looks increasingly like that wasn't just kissing up. He's punching out Tweets today naming the next wave of terrorists he wants returned to the battlefield. Sgt. Bergdahl himself looks worse with each new revelation, not least the negative commentary of those who served with him - a story the mainstream press is carrying.
Which leads us down the rabbit hole of Team Obama over-compensating and doubling down on their media strategy. I've seen speculation that the backlash against the Bergdahl deal caught them by surprise. I think what surprised them is how quickly the American public has turned skeptical about this deal, because Obama wanted some backlash - he wanted Republicans to make over-the-top criticisms of the deal, so the Pajama Boy platoon could jump on them and start hammering out those "GOP overreach" stories, painting Republicans as political hacks and hypocrites for daring to say a bad word about the rescue of a captive American.
The element that I think blindsided Obama was the negative feedback from military people, who have the credibility to make the public think about both sides of this trade in a skeptical way. That wouldn't be surprising, since I doubt very many people in this White House know, or care, very much about what the U.S. military community thinks. They assumed the troops would zip it while Obama took his victory lap for rescuing the last POW in Afghanistan.
It's also not surprising that the White House overplayed its hand, sending Benghazi fabulist Susan Rice - who snotty Beltway insiders don't realize is one of the least credible people in America to informed members of the public - to falsely claim Bergdahl was captured in battlefield action. They've even be forced to portray the Taliban as something other than a terrorist organization, to justify cutting a deal with them. Whom the gods would destroy, they first send Jay Carney out to speak for:
Can anyone possibly view that Rose Garden ceremony with Obama and Bob Bergdahl that you mentioned, complete with phrases from the Koran, in concert with the threat level of the prisoners who were released, and dispute Mullah Omar's contention that this was a big victory for the Taliban? All that remains is for one or more of the five terror masterminds to magically reappear somewhere in the Afghan theater, connected with some gruesome act against U.S. troops or the local government, for American humiliation to be complete.