Bergdahl and the War on the Individual

Normally I wouldn’t want to add to the excessive focus on what may be a giant distraction, but count me in with the “WTF” sentiment regarding the Bergdahl swap. (California Lawyer has written a great article outlining some of the odd questions, which you can read here if you missed.)

I don’t like the Obama administration, but I’ve always felt they knew how to massage the message. Sure, it had some misfires (like “Pajama Boy”), and it’s certainly easier to get your message out with a sympathetic media, but I would give them credit for knowing how to spin things.

The swap of a possibly deserter/druggie/traitor in exchange for not one, but five, count ‘em, five high profile terrorists, smacks of insanity. This is like trading Richard Simmons in exchange for Hitler’s top lieutenants, including Goebbels.

Is it just a distraction? From...

  • The VA scandal?
  • Benghazi?
  • Economic malaise?
  • Kids in mobs running amok across the country and committing two dozen murders alone in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend?
  • Immigration reform?
  • Net neutrality?
  • The Ukraine?
  • The EU imposing negative interest rates?

The thought has occurred to me that someone on the inside is trying to derail and sabotage Obama. I envision a President Biden before Obama’s term is officially up, if things keep going the way they are going.

TF Metals Report memer SS121 suggests this is a set up for Obama’s willing exit from the presidency

On a simpler conspiracy note, perhaps its simply as simple as getting the NeoCons riled up to ensure a Jeb Bush victory in 2016.

The left has been lulled to sleep for Obama’s reign, and the right has woken up too much. So it’s time to swap puppets and put someone in to put the right back to sleep, perhaps. The left will suddenly be outraged by drone attacks again if another Bush is in power, but the left/right split will still keep Americans divided. And nothing will change.

I’ve got another theory, which actually can work in conjunction with any of the other theories above.

The Subtle Message the Bergdahl Exchange is Really Sending

Why five terrorists? Wouldn’t one have done just fine? Some are reporting that a ransom was requested for Bergdahl’s release - why not just pay it?

I’ve seen comments by young progressives who are excited by the Bergdahl exchange and the prospect of Gitmo closing. Back when I was a young idealistic progressive myself, I was more of the civil libertarian sort of progressive. Guantanamo Bay concerned me, not because we had prisoners, but because I felt (and still do) feel that all prisoners of war deserve due process.

Being held indefinitely for years without a formal charge is an un-American thing to do, even if those POWs are evil killers. They should be charged and tried in a court of law.

So what Obama did in releasing five known killers was to not only side-step due process, but completely overwrite any sort of concept of accountability or rule of law in regards to those prisoners. We’re talking mass murderers who have basically completed a short prison sentence and are now free - more free than most Americans who are in prison on non-violent drug charges.

This is clearly not an even exchange - five mass murderers for one possibly traitorous American. But this theatrical exploit sends a very subtle but crucial message. The message is this:

The individual has no worth.

I’ll repeat: Exchanging five mass murderers for one crappy soldier is a message designed to imprint upon us the lack of worth of an individual.

Now, you might scratch your head at this, given that the White House spin has gone on and on about how a “child” needs to be returned to his “parents,” or that we leave no-one behind.

Yet, we’re being sold that this “child” has now become as important and precious as the bravest, most self-sacrificing hero. In essence, Bergdahl, a complete and utter failure as a soldier no matter how you spin it, is a) just as worthy as a war hero and yet b) equivalent to five terrorists in value.

I was recently at a technology conference, and I was frankly disturbed by the clear and loud trend towards “hive mind” when it comes to problem-solving and getting things done.

“Collaboration” is the buzz-word. "Community" is more important than the individual. Breaking people out of their personal “silos” is the hip thing to do. And instead of an employee using her personal expertise to solve a technology issue, she’s relegated to running feel-good kindergarten style group brainstorming exercises to do work she would normally just finish on her own.

Individual expertise is passe - everything needs to be crowdsourced now.

One presenter actually bucked the trend and cited a New Yorker article explaining why group brainstorming actually isn’t a better way to do things - that people are more creative as individuals than groups.

This message is not being sent out to Americans today, however. Even the quest for entertainment superstardom is predicated on the idea that anyone can be a star, because it’s not about talent and hard work, but just wanting to be one.

I’ve made the observation that a large number of young people at the technology conference are really excited about the idea that they are part of some great “community” and something bigger than themselves. Conversely, I also noticed how many of them (men especially) were timid and unable to assert themselves individually.

Our public schools have done such an apparently good job of squashing competition in order to give everyone a prize, that everyone’s self-esteem has actually suffered because of it.

All that said, America still has a very strong streak of individualism.

If Obama had exchanged Bergdahl for one junior-level terrorist who hadn’t actually killed anyone, I don’t think people would have been happy, but the outrage would not be at the level it is.

People are outraged because five top terrorist leaders were seen as being equivalent to one sorry excuse for a soldier.

But this is the message that the elites want you to get - that you, as an individual, are no longer going to get special favors or treatment if you happen to do a good job. You aren’t going to get any gold stars, accolades, or rewards for being a stellar contributor. 

You can just sit around and do nothing - or worse, desert your post and end up being the reason for the deaths of six other servicemen who try to find you - and you’ll still be treated on par with a national hero.

The message here is: Be mediocre, be lazy, be selfish, and lack integrity - and you’ll be treated just the same (if not better) than the guy next to you who worked his ass off.

And get ready, because this terrible exchange rate - between worthless humans - is going to play out in every area of our lives. We’re going to be paying through the nose for everything: Bread, gas, Internet access, housing.

We’ll also seeing this awful rate of exchange coming into play soon with a currency near you. One dollar for five Ameros. Or whatever it is that’s coming. Worthless paper for more worthless paper.

But that’s the inevitable result of leveling out the playing field.

UPDATE: Megyn Kelly interviews platoon about Sgt. Bergdahl's desertion:

Stephanie blogs sporadically at a number of websites, including Freeople and Free Thinking Christianity.


sengfarmer's picture

Whats up?

What a mess.

edit:  I think it's all for distraction and the crap is going to come faster and faster.

It's hard to focus when your head is spinning.

Mammoth's picture


Among those who should be fired for this uneven POW swap - are the negotiators.  Were the terms of the swap dictated by the Taliban, or is there something much more sinister going on - as alluded to by Stephanie?

ancientmoney's picture

Stephanie . . . your view is as likely as any I've heard . . .

actually moreso.

The message is that compared to what we have known all our lives, get ready, because we are soon entering into Bizzaro World.

achmachat's picture


I actually had to look up that "pajamas boy".

*shakes head in disbelief*

again... Bill Whittle on today's pajama boys:

Grublux's picture

I plead

the fifth!

ancientmoney's picture

Mammoth easy answer to your question . . .

" . . .  is there something much more sinister going on - as alluded to by Stephanie?"



ancientmoney's picture

2016: Hilary vs. Jeb . . .

Keeping it "All in the Family" (Clinton or Bush--known elitist families).

See, we have lots of "choice."

sengfarmer's picture

What if

Perhaps Obumbler is trying to push that button that ignites the  anger that is lying just below the surface in this country. He or they certainly anticipated this outcome.

The crap is circling the gurgler faster and faster. Throw out so many scandals that no one scandal can have enough time to gain enough traction for any action to be taken against the perps?

I'm with Fix. Whoever is running this show wants the public to rise up so they can be beaten down and martial law enacted.

The pieces have to be mostly in place. Executive orders placing EVERYTHING under the control of the president.  NDAA.  Arming of the federal agencies.

All that is needed is the flashpoint.

Mudsharkbytes's picture

It's been my impression…

…that a lot of these clowns locked up at gitmo just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and haven't really done anything wrong and aren't really a threat at all. 

Not trying to piss anybody off, and I've not been keeping up on this story, but how do we know these four dudes that were swapped are truly dangerous terrorists and not just innocent losers?  I mean, they didn't get their day in court, so how do we know they are guilty of any crime?

Just wondering.  Again, I've not been keeping up on this so there may be more to this story than I'm aware of. 

oh, and "nine", not that it matters. 

stephanie's picture

@mudsharkbytes - terrorists' backgrounds

It's probably pretty bad when you are wanted by the *UN* for war crimes. 


Po-Jama People

Bollocks's picture

This may help a bit...

Today on the Democracy now channel.


The Inside Story of Bowe Bergdahl: Afghan War Vet Matthew Farwell on "America’s Last POW"

As the controversy over the prisoner swap grows, new information has emerged about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s time in Afghanistan. On Thursday, administration officials said Bergdahl’s life could have been in danger if details of the prisoner swap had been leaked. While some in the media have speculated that Bergdahl became sympathetic to his captors, new reports reveal Bergdahl actually escaped from his captors on at least two occasions, once in the fall of 2011 and again sometime in 2012.

In another development, the New York Times reveals a classified military report concluded Bergdahl most likely walked away from his Army outpost in June 2009 on his own free will, but it stops short of concluding that there is solid evidence that he intended to permanently desert. The report also revealed that Bergdahl had wandered away from assigned areas while in the Army at least twice before prior to the day he was captured, including once in Afghanistan.

We speak to Matthew Farwell, a journalist and veteran of the Afghan war who has been following the Bergdahl story for years. He helped the late Michael Hastings write his 2012 Rolling Stone article, "America’s Last Prisoner of War." Farwell came to know Bergdahl’s parents after they attended the funeral of his brother who served and died in Afghanistan.

Full video interview:

nixy's picture

Yes, Mudsharkbytes .......

".....they didn't get their day in court, so how do we know they are guilty of any crime?"

We don't. But it does help keep the masses fearful, which is probably be the main intent.

Turd Ferguson's picture

Thank you, Steph


Well done.

Safety Dan's picture

The Elitist Have Won This Round

Distraction From What Is Going On. This is just one example -

One Ton Gold Shipment Into Hong Kong Revealed To Contain Just Worthless Metal

Two years agostories of fake tungsten-filled gold coins and bars began to spread; it appears, between the shortage of physical gold (after Asian central bank buying) and the increase in smuggling (courtesy of India's controls among others) that gold fraud is back on the rise. As SCMP reports, a mainland China businessman, Zhao Jingjun, discovered that HK$270 million of 998kg of gold bars he bought in Ghana had been swapped for non-precious metal bars. What is perhaps even more worrisome, given the probe into commodity-financing deals and the rehypothecation evaporation; these gold bars were shipped to a Chinese warehouse before Zhao was able to confirm the fraud.

metalsbyamile's picture

Talk about distraction

Excellent stephanie. I have a few thoughts reworked myself, although not directly related, who knows what is what any more.

Kudos to TFMR members:

As we progress into 2014, I want to thank you for your educational post  over the past few months. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance  of recovery.

I can no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, nor let the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon  peel.

I can't sit down on a hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one's nose.

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt  trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of Trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I can't touch any woman's  handbag for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public toilet.

I must send my special thanks for the post about rat poo in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a  wet sponge with every envelope that needs  sealing.

ALSO,now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I can't have a drink in a bar because I fear I'll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.

I can't eat at KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes, feet or feathers.

I can't use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

Thanks to you I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy fuel without taking someone along to watch the car, so a  serial killer doesn't crawl in my back seat when I'm filling up.

I no longer use Cling Wrap in the microwave because it causes seven different types of cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.

I no longer go to the cinema because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS when I sit down.

I  no longer go to shopping centers because someone will drug me with  a perfume sample and rob me..

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial  a number for which I will get a huge phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore and Uzbekistan ...

Thanks to  you I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big black snake could be lurking under the seat and cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

And thanks to your great advice I  can't ever pick up a dime coin dropped in the car park because it was probably placed there by a sex molester waiting to  grab me as I bend over.

I can't do any gardening because I'm afraid I'll get bitten by the Violin Spider and my hand will fall off.

If you don't send this post to at  least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with  diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow  afternoon, and the fleas from 120 camels will infest your  back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will  occur because it actually happened to a friend of my  next door neighbor’s ex mother-in-law's second husband's  cousin's best friend's beautician!

Oh, and  by the way...

A German  scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read the posts with their hand on  the mouse.

Don't  bother taking it off now, it's too late.

P. S. I  now keep my toothbrush in the living room, because I was  told by e-mail that water splashes over 6 ft. out of the  toilet..


ancientmoney's picture

Safety Dan re: fake gold to Hong Kong . . .

thesandbox's picture

Richard Simmons

why would you possibly want to exchange this? :-) 

ancientmoney's picture

Maybe, just maybe . . . they know nuclear war is unwinnable

Obama is trying to undo the neocon world domination by the U.S. the only way he can . . . by not declaring he is doing it.

Any thinking person who chooses to do a bit of research knows that 9-11 took the complicity if not full involvement of people in very, very high positions of power.

There is this:

"US public schools have not taught students about nuclear weapons for more than 20 years. The last time nuclear war was discussed or debated in a US Presidential election was sometime in the last century. Thus, most people do not know that a single strategic nuclear weapon can easily ignite a massive firestorm over 100 square miles, and that the US and Russia each have many thousands of these weapons ready for immediate use.

Meanwhile, neoconservative ideology has kept the US at war during the entire 21st century. It has led to the expansion of US/NATO forces to the very borders of Russia, a huge mistake that has consequently revived the Cold War. A hallmark of neconservatism is that America is the “indispensable nation”, as evidenced by the neoconservative belief in “American exceptionalism”, which essentially asserts that Americans are superior to all other peoples, that American interests and values should reign supreme in the world.

At his West Point speech on May 28, President Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” Obama stated his bottom line is that “America must always lead on the world stage,” and “the backbone of that leadership always will be the military.” American exceptionalism based on might, not diplomacy, on hard power, not soft, is precisely the hubris and arrogance that could lead to the termination of human life. Washington’s determination to prevent the rise of Russia and China, as set out in the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines, is a recipe for nuclear war."

I think world leaders really do know that nuclear war is not winnable, or even survivable by them and their loved ones.  Remember when Obama said to Putin "wait til after the election when I'll have more flexibility.?"

Is the posturing, even in Ukraine, a show for the masses?

After the neocon debacles of the last several years, which are now being shown as a combination of false flag events, foolhardy ventures, and the no longer sustainable paradigm due to the gigantic debt and failing financial system, it seems cooler heads maybe got together.

They decided that while things must be kept looking normal to the masses re: the "east vs. west" competition, there was agreement that the world peoples must be brought to a more even level.  Why else would the west allow all this gold to flow to Russia and China?  They are supposed to be our bitter enemies!

Maybe Obama was chosen to bring "hope and change" not to americans, but to peoples in countries who have lived under the submission of western nations/CIA dominance for decades.  Think "Economic Hitman."

Most Americans would not accept a full-frontal attack on their lifestyle.  But, take it away in bits and pieces, under what appears "necessity" and it gets done.

Was Obama saying to the American people that militant Islamists were only doing what Americans would do if under attack (by neocons) when he made the trade of the century?  Another step in gearing the American/western people for what comes next?

It seems so.  As individuals, all we can do is hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

AlienEyes's picture

Stephanie said....

Stephanie wrote, "Guantanamo Bay concerned me, not because we had prisoners, but because I felt (and still do) feel that all prisoners of war deserve due process."

So do I.... with “due process” being defined as a 9mm behind the ear followed by a beheading.  laugh cheeky

This eliminates repeat offenders.

Libero's picture

Alien not of this world

You are one scary dude.  So proudly you puff out barbaric venom. 

Did you torture animals as a child? 

Occasnltrvlr's picture


...There can only be "prisoners of war" if and only if there is an actual war.

Secondly, concerning Obama, does everyone here have dementia?

AlienEyes's picture



Were you limp-wristed as a child and did you wear a tutu to SDS meetings?

Libero's picture


No. Was that what happened to you?

Occasnltrvlr's picture

Reasons Behind MH370

I had overlooked the most obvious, cui bono:

"Search for flight MH370 to be privatized"

Bugzy's picture

Slim pickings this week Stephanie

Cannot find anything of note to dig at....

Oh hang on a bit!

5 Nasty terrorists = 1 U.S. Deserter, That means that either:  Terrorists have very little value or that one scumbag U.S. Deserter is almost priceless; which makes the rest of us incredible by this metric.

Sorry, but that is the best I can do with such an agreeable post.


G-Rod's picture

want china times

Is not a reliable source of information

admin's picture


Bugzy wrote:


Sure, why not a chocolate drone? Can spy on you, and tasty too. wink

tyberious's picture


Another great post!!! Thanks

@metalsbyamile Funny stuff!! 

ag1969's picture

I hear ya fix

I have been two Manhattan only twice since 9/11.  Once was to meet Ron Paul at his book signing, and the other one to was to see Nasim H.  I hate going there. (No offense GL)  I won't even go to Boston anymore, and I refuse to fly as well.  I used to fly every week on business.  I have been on one round trip flight to Florida in the last 5 years.  I hated it, and I almost got thrown in jail for calling the TSA guy that frisked my junk a "fucking weirdo" I believe the term was.  LMAO.  They get a little aggressive when you don't follow orders.

I have said it before and I will say it again, every American should refuse to fly for 30 days, and all of the Airport Nazis would be on the unemployment line.  With the internet and cars that go very fast, I would think everyone could find a way to survive without flying for a month.  Heck, two weeks would probably get it done.

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