Tweeting the Taliban

bergdahlparentsThe case of Sargent Bowe Bergdahl has captured the attention of the American public in an extremely dramatic way.  To summarize: After about five years in captivity, U.S. Army Sargent Bergdahl was freed in exchange for five Taliban prisoners that were being held at Guantanamo Bay.  The prisoner exchange took place on May 31.  Shortly afterwards, President Obama appeared with Bergdahl’s parents to celebrate Bergdahl’s release.  However, after that, stories began to appear, alleging that Bergdahl was a deserter who had walked off his guard post, unauthorized, and that previous rescue attempts had killed at least six soldiers.

Adding to the story has been Bergdahl’s parents, pictured here with President Obama.  Bergdahl’s father, Bob, has been compared to the Taliban for his large, bushy beard.  While that claim is absurd, Bergdagl’s father hasn’t helped matters in other ways.  On May 28, three days before the prisoner exchanged that freed his son Bowe, Bob Bergdahl sent out this tweet:


BergdahlTweetAs noted by the Washington Post, @ABalkhi is a Taliban spokesman.  That tweet was deleted.  But, a quick look at Bob Bergdahl’s Twitter timeline reveals three other tweets with @ABalkhi mentioned within the past week: two are retweets, and one appears to be a link to an article that was first shared by @ABalkhi.  The most recen is from May 31, the day of Bergdahl’s released, and appears to be the last tweet before the release of Sergant Bergdahl was announced:

The other two are retweets, sent out on May 28, the day that the above tweet was deleted:


Is this a “fail”?  I’m not going there.  One of the things that drives me absolutely nuts about political commentary and news today is it gives everyone the false impression that they know everything going on about a given situation.  I am not so naive as to think I have all the information necessary to make a judgement about the release of Sargent Bergdahl.  Nor am I so stupid as to think I can imagine anything that the Bergdahl family has gone through since their son has disappeared.  I have a three year old and an eighteen month old, and I would do anything to protect them – the pain these people have endured is beyond imagination  My point is this: I don’t know how I’d react if I was in their shoes, and I doubt any of us do as well.

But…these tweets, very clearly, are meant to portray prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in a more favorable light – something that the average American will have a huge problem with.  To that end, these tweets are another arrow in the quiver of those who believe that Sargent Bergdahl was a deserter, or worse, a traitor.  It’s a fascinating case of Twitter having an effect on a situation which may have geo-political implications.

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