One of the many tangents to the Bowe Bergdahl story is the persistent problem of what to do with the detainees who remain in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, but one former Bush official has an idea you've probably never heard before: throw two billion more people in with them. That's just the sparkliest in a glittering array of conservative #Boweghazi dumbassery that was on display when former Bush Communications Director and current completely unqualified MSNBC contributor Nicolle Wallace and NRO's Jim Geraghty joined Anthony Weiner on the Real Time stage.
Wallace decided to make the odd point that keeping those guys prisoner all these years probably made them really, really mad, so maybe we shouldn't have let them go. Maher asked, "But should we take everybody off the planet who's unfriendly to America? Because we'd need a Gitmo that holds two billion people."
"Well, I think that'd be nice," Wallace replied.
"Really?" Maher asked.
"Yeah!" Wallace answered.
"To hold two billion people?" Maher repeated, incredulously.
Yep, because 9/11.
Maher, who also remembers 9/11, helpfully pointed out that while the Taliban were friendly to al Qaeda, the attacks were planned in Germany, and mostly carried out by Saudi nationals. "They're not terrorists," Maher said, "they're a guerrilla army.""
That's the problem with conservatives, they always want to remember 9/11, until they don't. They forget that it was their guy who let the attacks happen. They forget that it was their guy who let the guy who did it get away. They forget that it was their guy who kneecapped the war in Afghanistan from the start by putting all of our troops into the country that didn't attack us. And they always forget who it was that armed these fucking guys in the first place.
Wallace's one area of expertise ought to be her White House experience, but even there, she blows it by spreading the popular media lie that the President's announcement of Bergdahl's return was some ultra-rare "Rose Garden Ceremony," when anyone who's worked at the White House knows that the Rose Garden is just the place where the President announces stuff, and that the administration "sent Susan Rice out" to praise Bergdahl, when that's obviously not what happened. Not knowing any better himself, Maher agreed that this was "insane," but along came Anthony Weiner to explain how possible it is for the return of an American POW to be a big deal, and also a thing that will have complicated ramifications.
When Anthony Weiner is making you sound foolish by telling you to wait for all of the facts, it's time to pack it in, but Wallace and Geraghty soldiered on. Maher and Weiner spent several minutes busting up the dual premises that the five Taliban who were released are somehow going to distinguish themselves from the other "hundred thousand bearded assholes" who want to kill Americans in Afghanistan, and that the Taliban never had any incentive to capture Americans before the Bergdahl trade. Not for nothing, but the way his former platoon-mates have speculated about his supposed value in planning attacks likely did that to greater effect than any prisoner swap ever could.
As for Nicolle Wallace, if I ever find myself in need of someone to write half of a blog post about the nation of Africa, I'll ask her advice, but beyond that, I'll pass.