This morning Chuck Todd and Joe Scarborough got into an on-air scrap over Robert Bergdahl, Bowe Bergdahl's father. Scarborough criticized the elder Bergdahl's dialogue with jihadists and his failure to admonish his son to stay on the line of battle rather than desert. Todd rather indignantly replied with the standard defense that one can't judge a parent under extreme duress. The entire exchange can be seen here.
Todd's view is a popular one - and oft-repeated. We frequently give people who are under ultimate stress a pass for their outbursts and bad judgment. But should we?
Our moral obligations do not cease when we are under the most extreme forms of pressure. In fact, that is arguably when our moral commitments matter most. C. S. Lewis described courage as "not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point." In other words, we don't even know if we possess a virtue unless that virtue is tested. more >>
It's an old American saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" President Obama's National Security Adviser went on another Sunday show last weekend. She proceeded to tell the nation and the world that the AWOL U.S. Army soldier held for five years by the Taliban, Bowe Bergdahl, had served "honorably, and with distinction." She defended the Obama administration's decision to trade five of the worst detainees at Guantanamo Bay for this soldier.
This is not the first time Susan Rice has been dispatched to the Sunday shows. In 2012, she appeared on five Sunday talk shows in one day. Then, her mission was to spin the story that it was an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S. that had provoked the deadly attack on our diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
We now know that that was not true. We have since learned that the CIA never told the administration that it was a video that had precipitated the lethal assault that resulted in the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three brave Americans who had been sent to provide security for our mission in that strife-torn land. more >>
On death row in Sudan last week, Meriam Ibrahim gave birth to a girl, whom she named Maya. The 27-year-old prisoner of conscience is now a step closer to the gallows. On May 15, Meriam was sentenced to be hanged for apostasy from Islam, but the execution was ordered delayed until the then-8-month pregnant defendant delivered and weaned the baby.
Notwithstanding its assertion last weekend that Meriam would be released "in a few days," by Monday Sudan had made it clear it has no such intention. Her defense lawyer is now pursuing legal appeals, but Meriam's only real hope of being spared lies in the moral pressure created in the court of public opinion.
Meriam's case turned on the question of her religious identity-whether she is lawfully a Christian, a faith she inherited from her Ethiopian Orthodox mother and embraces, or whether, because her father was a Muslim, she too must be a Muslim, even though he abandoned the family when she was young. more >>
First Lady Michelle Obama recently appeared on the Web holding a sign: #BringBackOurGirls. She was presumably acting with the full approval of her husband.
President Barack Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of what was once respected as a Super Power. In London, Prime Minister David Cameron similarly resorted to the Internet to express the concern of a nation once known as Great Britain. These fatuous responses to the kidnapping of nearly three hundred Christian girls by the Islamist Boko Haram in Nigeria have met with widespread derision, as they should.
But these empty gestures by the White House and Number 10 Downing Street are worse than futile-they are dangerous. They reveal for the entire world to see the spinelessness of Western leaders "at the Summit." Could Mr. Obama and Mr. Cameron really think such infantile gestures will move the hard-bitten jihadists who have displayed the poor abducted girls in burkas and chanting Islamic slogans? Will the girls be raped? Will they be genitally mutilated? It is terrible to contemplate their fate. more >>
When Sen. Barack Obama went to Berlin in 2008 and proclaimed himself a "citizen of the world," he was acclaimed by hundreds of thousands of young Germans. They were as excited as many young Americans were by this avatar of Hope and Change.
The candidate chose an odd backdrop for his address, however. Mr. Obama spoke in front of the Berlin Victory Column. It is an impressive monument to be sure, but it commemorates the lightning victory of Prussia in a lightning war against its unoffending little neighbor, Denmark.
This was the first in a series of aggressive wars waged by the man who would unify Germany by liberal application of "blood and iron." That man-the true power in the new Germany, was Otto von Bismarck. He openly expressed his contempt for representative government and the processes of constitutional government: "Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided - that was the error of 1848 and 1849 - but by iron and blood." more >>
Since March 31, a United States Marine has been in custody in a Mexican prison. Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi was detained after making a wrong turn near the Mexican border. He told the Mexican police that there was no way to make a U-turn on the road he was traveling, thus he entered Mexican territory by mistake.
At the time of his arrest, Tahmooressi was in possession of three legally registered guns. The guns were safely stored in his truck, so the Marine was no reckless lawbreaker trying to commit crimes in Mexico. Tahmooressi told the Mexican authorities about the guns and followed their instructions. His polite cooperation was ignored by a Mexican military official, who seemed intent on bringing the Marine to prison. According to Tahmooressi, the officer made a calculation that "three guns…equals prison."
A Marine entering Mexican territory by mistake should be allowed to immediately return to the United States, no questions asked. Sadly, he was arrested, subjected to regular beatings, verbally harassed and even chained to his bed. Eventually, he may be used as a bargaining chip by the Mexican government. more >>