You know, going back to the Beauchamp story, you have to remember just how crazy this time period was for everyone. The wingnut narrative was in danger, and they just had to destroy Beauchamp for basically telling what everyone who has ever spent a day in uniform knows- all our troops are not angels, and some bad shit sometimes goes down. We had folks screaming for his own troops to “take care of him,” people wanting him court-martialed, and so on, and they went to extreme lengths to have the young man destroyed- while he was in theatre avoiding bullets and serving his country.
Just to remember how crazy the wingnut reaction was to the possibility that not all our troops are angels (and thereby threatening the war narrative and taking away the media as an excuse for everything going wrong in the war), you have appreciate this classic post at the Power Line, where reader Stuart Koehl “proved” that a track vehicle could not run over a dog by eyeballing a 1/32 scale model of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. As Tbogg noted in one of the all time classic blog posts, “The role of the dog was played by a 3-inch My Little Pony named Princess Sparkle Snowflake Rainbow. Next up: Warren Commission report disproved using a Hot Wheels Terrordactyl Track.”
As to Stuart Koehl, what happened to him? Well rest assured, “expertise” like that is highly valued in wingnut circles, and he was rewarded with a guest appearance at none other than the Weekly Standard just a few months later:
There is a lot about Obama’s story that makes no sense. Let us start with the opening line:
“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. Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq.”
Well, captains command companies, not rifle platoons. A rifle platoon is normally commanded by a 2nd lieutenant, sometimes (if short handed) by a senior sergeant. So for starters, Obama betrays a woeful ignorance of military organization and the chain of command. Then he remarks that the platoon was under-strength because 15 of its men had been “sent to Iraq.” Sorry, the Army doesn’t work that way. Platoons are organic units, consisting of three rifle squads, a heavy weapons squad, and a headquarters section. You can’t break it up. It is the smallest building block in the infantry that can conduct fire-and-movement tactics.
You remember how this worked out, don’t you? Jake Tapper, in one of his best moments from last year, ended the wingnut screeches once and for all:
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.
Prior to deployment the Captain — then a Lieutenant — took command of a rifle platoon at Fort Drum. When he took command, the platoon had 39 members, but — in ones and twos — 15 members of the platoon were re-assigned to other units. He knows of 10 of those 15 for sure who went to Iraq, and he suspects the other five did as well.
The platoon was sent to Afghanistan with 24 men.
“We should have deployed with 39,” he told me, “we should have gotten replacements. But we didn’t. And that was pretty consistent across the battalion.”
He adds that maybe a half-dozen of the 15 were replaced by the Fall of 2003, months after they arrived in Afghanistan, but never all 15.
Jake then goes on to verify every claim Obama made.
So when you think back to this time period, remember what we were dealing with and the quality of “evidence” that the usual suspects on the right latched on to to defend their own personal fantasies. The second anecdote in this post is extremely relevant, as these jackasses have now spent the last few months accusing Obama of “dithering” in regards to Afghanistan.
Just wrong about everything, which is, of course, why David Gregory will have McCain on again soon.