Who is the Most 'Bloodthirsty' Enemy?
Brian Beutler, a senior editor at The New Republic, claimed in a column Friday (June 6) that the GOP was "overreaching" in its criticism of President Obama for trading five Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He acknowledged that there are legitimate questions about the deal, but these should have been kept to a "narrow" and "nuanced" debate. Raising the question of whether Bergdahl is a deserter added too much emotion to the discussion. He would rather "imagine" an inquiry that did not include this element.
This would have just been another unremarkable attempt to defend President Obama by a member of his dwindling base except for Beutler's use of the word "bloodthirsty" in the fifth paragraph.
Certainly, "bloodthirsty" comes to mind whenever the Taliban is mentioned. Consider the five terrorist leaders released from Gitmo by the White House. Abdul Haq Wasiq worked closely with al-Qaeda and has been accused by Human Rights Watch of mass killings and torture. Mullah Nordullah is wanted by the United Nations for war crimes, as is Mullah Mohammed Fazi. Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa not only had ties with al-Qaeda but also with Iranian authorities interested in working jointly against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Mohammad Nabi Omari had ties to a variety of terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network. Yet, they are not the ones who earn the "bloodthirsty" title from Beutler. Indeed, the "Taliban detainees" are only mentioned once in passing without any adjective.
No, the term "bloodthirsty" is used as follows: "the problem for the diffuse conservative outrage industry is that nuanced debates over public relations strategies and the relative 'value' of Guantanamo detainees probably wouldn't have satisfied bloodthirsty right-wingers." Does Beutler really think that Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn, or Sean Hannity is more likely to order a car bomb into a crowded marketplace to kill women and children than any of the Taliban Five? How about the beheading prisoners or the honor killing of women? Would he rather see a Taliban gunman walking down the street than a Fox commentator?
Can anyone think that a writer who would use the term "bloodthirsty" in such an inappropriate way is capable of engaging in "nuanced debates?" Wasn't his use of such a term purely emotional (hatred) without any basis in reality?
Beutler is an example of the narrow partisanship that has given politics such a bad name. That such notable Democrats as Sen. Diane Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Leon Panetta, who served for 16 years in the House before becoming President Clinton's Chief of Staff and President Obama's CIA Director and Defense Secretary; and Hillary Clinton, a former Senator, Obama's Secretary of State and the presumptive 2016 presidential nominee of the party, all opposed releasing the Taliban Five does not fit his narrative. Criticism based on the merits of the case must be depicted as a fringe conspiracy to "embarrass" the president. For him, there can be no "loyal opposition" who argue over what is best for the country; only domestic enemies to be vilified in ways he does not apply to foreign enemies who actually want to kill Americans and bring down the United States. Beutler's reckless use of language is a disgrace to such a venerable institution as The New Republic.