Apparently the keyboard commandos got their panties all in a knot over this anecdote from Obama last night:
You know, I’ve heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon — supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon,” he said. “Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. And as a consequence, they didn’t have enough ammunition, they didn’t have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief.
Now in the right-wing wankosphere, where they pride themselves in all things military, this was perceived as a grave insult to the flightsuit-in-chief, and much anger was displayed. If you want to read the morons, you can check out the links at Big Media Matt’s, who also directs us to this Jake Tapper piece over at ABC:
I called the Obama campaign this morning to chat about this story, and was put in touch with the Army captain in question.
He told me his story, which I found quite credible, though for obvious reasons he asked that I not mention his name or certain identifying information.
Short answer: He backs up Obama’s story.
The longer answer is worth telling, though.
The Army captain, a West Point graduate, did a tour in a hot area of eastern Afghanistan from the Summer of 2003 through Spring 2004.
I find that Obama’s anecdote checks out.
Some are quibbling about whether or not the “commander in chief” can be held responsible for how well our soldiers are being equipped, since Congress provides the funding for the military, but the Pentagon (and ultimately President Bush) are in charge of the funding mechanism.
I might suggest those on the blogosphere upset about this story would be better suited directing their ire at those responsible for this problem, which is certainly not new. That is, if they actually care about the men and women bravely serving our country at home and abroad.
Like hell! What really needs to be done is to find out who this traitorous Captain is, and then we need to examine his counter tops and let the Confederate Yankee run a 50 part investigation into his MySpace account.
Seriously, is there a more useless bunch of douchebags than these right-wing hacks?
*** Update ***
More confirmation here, from Phil Carter:
I talked this morning with two friends who led rifle platoons in Afghanistan. Both confirmed to me that they did, at times, use captured or found weapons or ammunition. One relayed the story of mounting a Soviet 12.7mm heavy machine gun (the equivalent of a U.S. .50 caliber machine gun) on his HMMWV because it was too difficult to get the spare parts needed to fix their G.I. (government issue) .50 cal. Another told me his platoon carried AKs anytime they patrolled with their Afghan counterparts, and that it was always much easier to get 7.62mm ammo for the AKs than to go through the U.S. bureaucracy for ammunition requisition. These stories are timeless; you’ll see similar ones in the narratives from WWII, Korea and Vietnam vets too. Anyone who’s dealt with the Army supply system – particularly at the pointy end of the spear – ought to be able to sympathize.***
In light of my experience in Iraq, Sen. Obama’s comments last night are eminently believable. Sen. Obama is also absolutely right to use this anecdote as a critique of the administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq. It is incontrovertible that the war in Iraq diverted scarce military resources (manpower, equipment, etc.) from Afghanistan to Iraq. The cost for that diversion was paid by America’s sons and daughters, and our Afghan brethren, who continue to fight in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. We owe our troops better.
Now granted, Phil Carter has some military knowledge, so I would take this a grain of salt when you compare it to the vault of information these bloggers have procured over a lifetime of arranging GI Joe dolls while watching betamax copies of Uncommon Valor in the basement apartment they rent from their parents. I know it is a tough call, but I am gonna go with Obama, Tapper, and Phil Carter on this.
*** Update #2 ***
Surprisingly enough, the biggest moron in this whole affair is not Bryan Preston or Uncle Jimbo, but instead junior-grade wingnut Amy Proctor (or should I call her a wingnette?). Enjoy:
THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE NEED TO BE ASKING:
1) Why did Barack Obama say he “heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon” when the captain was actually a Lieutenant at the time, the equivalent of a PRIVATE?
2) Why did Barack Obama pass this account off as CURRENT when it took place in 2003, FIVE YEARS AGO?
3) Why is the LT/CPT’s story not corroborated by any military source and why is his identity being shielded by ABC and Barack Obama?
4) Why did this Army LT/CPT contact an anti-war candidate, ask for anonymity and recount a story FIVE YEARS OLD?
Of course we know the answer to all these questions. The intent was to make it appear that TODAY the Bush Administration is sending our troops (WHO KEEP VOLUNTEERING FOR DUTY, BY THE WAY) into combat unprepared and unequipped, which is NOT true.
Sweet jumping jeebus that woman is stupid.