Bergdahl Didn't Desert, Lawyer Says
While the Army has decided to charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and "misbehaving before the enemy," his lawyer, Eugene Fidell, contends that Bergdahl never intended to desert.
"Sgt Bergdahl had serious concerns about the lack of discipline in his unit," Fidell contended. "Rather than engaging in idle griping, he took the initiative to try to resolve the problem by conducting an independent inspection of the standards and practices of the Taliban. It was his hope that what he learned could help reform the way US troops behaved while in the field."
"His plan was thwarted when the Taliban refused to let him return to his unit," Fidell said. "Instead, they held him captive, forced him to convert to Islam, and enlisted his aid in their operations against US troops. This turn of events was a complete surprise to my client. He now regrets his naivete. It would be cruel for him to be punished after he already has suffered enough at the hands of his captors."
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki declared that "these new revelations vindicate the President's decision to make the exchange that brought Sgt Bergdahl back home. We should wish that more of our soldiers were as earnest as he was. It would be tragic if this nation were to repay his service by sending him to prison."
UN Human Rights Official Says Islamic State More Open to Diversity than West
UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein told the Security Council that "the Islamic State is more accepting of ethnic diversity than the western governments that are making war on them."
"Islam is open to persons of every race, color, or ethnicity," Zeid pointed out. "It doesn't matter if a person is black or white. As long as he accepts Allah as his master he can be a full member of the umma. This stands in contrast to a long history in which western governments have oppressed and even enslaved persons because of the color of their skin."
In support of his contentions, Zeid cited a recent UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) condemnation of Israel for violating the rights of Palestinian women. "Israel—a state with western values—is the only one of 193 nations receiving such a rebuke from the UN," Zeid said. "This is very revealing."
Unlike some other countries in the region, Israel does not bar Palestinian women from driving a car or being out in public unaccompanied by a male relative. Neither does Israel mutilate their genitals or stone them to death for marital infidelity after they have been raped.
"Women of any race or ethnicity can enjoy the full benefits allotted to them under the Quran," Zeid boasted. "Their modesty is protected by rigorous enforcement of appropriate clothing. They are insulated from foolishness by strict adherence to the guidance provided for them by their husbands, fathers, and brothers."
Mayor Suggests that Chicago Airports Be Renamed
In an unexpectedly difficult reelection campaign, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sought to rally support by promising to rename the City's two airports in honor of President and Michelle Obama. The two airports are currently named in honor of World War II Navy pilot Edward "Butch" O'Hare and the 1942 Battle of Midway—an upset US victory over Japan that many historians view as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
"I don't mean to denigrate these earlier historic events, but they pale in significance to the impact that President Obama has had on this country," Emanuel explained. "O'Hare was just one of thousands of pilots who served in the war and Midway was just one battle among dozens. President Obama is America's first minority president. His innovative approach to governing by executive action has transformed the way we do business without having to go through the cumbersome process of amending our Constitution."
"And let's not forget what we all owe to the First Lady," Emanuel added. "From her soapbox she has broadcast a message of healthier eating that reverberates across the nation. People's lives are being saved on a daily basis. Surely, this merits greater accolades than whatever Butch O'Hare did—if in fact, he did anything worthy of note. I, for one, am unaware of what that might have been."
In related news, Emanuel pulled out of a previously scheduled joint appearance with challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia saying "I'm the one with name recognition. I'm the one with the huge funding advantage. Why should I help boost my opposition by appearing on the same stage with him?"
President Says Critics Overreacting to Iran's "Death to America" Rhetoric
President Obama insists that Iran's "death to America" rhetoric is nothing to get worked up about.
"First of all, it's just a slogan—like Burger King's 'have it your way,'" Obama argued. "It doesn't really mean anything."
"Second, it's not all that negative," the President continued. "In Islam's theology, death is the gateway to paradise. For the devout Muslim, hastening the entry into paradise is much to be desired. Granted, unbelievers face eternal torment, but that could easily be remedied by submitting to Allah's will. So, it is only Americans' refusal to heed Mohammed's message that casts an unpleasant pall over the fate of death."
Clinton Wipes Server, Cites Right Against Self-Incrimination
In what her backers are calling the "perfect checkmate" move, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sought to blunt all further inquiries into her activities while at the Department of State by completely reformatting the server used for her email correspondence while she was in office.
"Those who are trying to prove that I'm guilty of violating the law will have to do it without access to documents formerly on my own private server," Clinton announced. "They may grouse that since I used this server for all my official correspondence as Secretary of State that I had no right to destroy these documents. That is mere assertion. I contend that the Constitutional guarantee against self-incrimination gives me every right to withhold evidence that could be used against me."
It's not only State Department correspondence that has gone missing. Records relating to the Clinton Foundation's dubious solicitation of donations from questionable sources was also believed to be on the computer server that Hillary wiped clean.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Chairman of the House's Select Committee on Benghazi, saw Clinton's actions as "obstruction of justice." Nevertheless, Clinton dared the Republican to make something of it. "I doubt the GOP has the stomach for it," Hillary taunted. "Even if they could prove obstruction, it's still a minor irritation compared to what I could've faced if I had surrendered the server."
Congressman Faces Backlash
After calling newly announced GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz a "big mouth" and a "failure," Rep Peter King (R-NY) was shocked to receive feedback in-kind from Cruz supporters.
"People have been phoning my office belittling my accomplishments and asserting that I am all talk," King complained. "This is disrespectful. No member of Government should have to put up with such abuse."
King rebutted assertions that his inelegant way of expressing his disagreement with Sen. Cruz may have invited equally inelegant retorts. "I am a member of Congress, the Constitution explicitly protects my right to speak on any matter without fear of being accosted by the rabble," King maintained. "Ordinary people shouldn't be misusing the privilege of freedom of speech for intemperate attacks on those who govern them."
Administration Reveals Secret Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program
The Obama Administration has declassified a top secret file disclosing the details of Israel's nuclear weapons program.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest characterized the move as "payback for Netanyahu's deviation from the path laid out for Israel by President Obama. People have got to learn that their actions have consequences. When you defy the world's most powerful man you can't expect to get away unscathed."
Earnest also argued that "it may help level the playing field in the Middle East. Even without nuclear weapons Israel has consistently defeated efforts to annihilate it. By publicly releasing this previously secret information the President hopes it will stimulate Israel's Muslim adversaries to similarly arm themselves."
"Geographically, Israel is a very small country," Earnest observed. "A few dozen well-place nuclear bombs could effectively wipe it off the map. If its neighbors acquire enough such bombs Israel will have no alternative to seeking the protection of the United States' nuclear umbrella. Of course, that will come at the price of complying with the policies the President has determined they must follow."
In related news, a recent poll of Palestinians found that 68% support Hamas' rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. "We can't defeat their army, but if we make life miserable enough with the threat of being blown up an everyday occurrence, maybe they'll see that the only peace to be had is the peace of death or evacuation," said one respondent.