Fewer than two dozen protesters showed up to an anti-war, pro-Bowe Bergdahl rally in front of the White House Tuesday.
Organizers, including Code Pink, the Answer Coalition and March Forward, billed the rally’s message in promotional material as, “Welcome Home Sgt. Bergdahl, End the War in Afghanistan Now, and Shut Down Guantanamo!”
Despite the poor turnout, the leftwing organizers said the American people were increasingly embracing their message.
“We’re here representing what we believe is the majority sentiment of the American people, even though there is not 140 million people here,” Brian Becker, executive director of the ANSWER Coalition, told The Daily Caller.
“I as well as Bowe Bergdahl’s questions about the war in Afghanistan now represent the mainstream of the American people who after 12 years of war are saying, ‘Why are we in Afghanistan,'” Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told TheDC. “‘What are we doing there? Why are we spending so much money there?’ Let’s bring the troops home and focus on rebuilding America.”
While polling shows that support for America’s mission in Afghanistan has decreased in recent years, especially in the absence of an American president explaining to the public the importance of the U.S. effort there, some of the day’s speakers struck a much more radical, anti-military note than merely calling for an American withdrawal from the country.
“We welcome Sgt. Bergdahl home and we hope others will follow suit and start to criticize what our military is doing,” one rally speaker said, referring to the American soldier who fellow comrades allege deserted them in Afghanistan before being captured by the Taliban.
The speaker was likely referencing an email Bergdahl sent to his parents before his 2009 capture in which he said he was “ashamed to even be American.”
“The future is too good to waste on lies,” he wrote. “And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be American. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting.”
The Obama administration recently negotiated Bergdahl’s release in exchange for five of the most dangerous Taliban prisoners America had in custody at its Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility. Polls show a plurality of Americans oppose the details of the deal.