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February 22, 2008

Obama's Captain Speaks

Although his identity is withheld.

Jake Tapper spoke to the guy, and he claims to find him credible. He re-tells Obama's tale.

Still sounds like bullshit, but here's what the guy's saying.

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.

This continues sounding like pure bullshit, no matter what the guy says or how credible Tapper claims to find him. Milbloggers say the platoon is the basic organic unit of the army, and troops are never picked out of a platoon to serve elsewhere -- if more troops are needed elsewhere, a whole platoon goes, not just Ronny, Bobby, Ricky and Mike.

I'm not in the military, but everyone who is seems to be in firm agreement on this point.

On to the other claim:

As for the weapons and humvees, there are two distinct periods in this, as he explains -- before deployment, and afterwards.

At Fort Drum, in training, "we didn't have access to heavy weapons or the ammunition for the weapons, or humvees to train before we deployed."

What ammunition?

40 mm automatic grenade launcher ammunition for the MK-19, and ammunition for the .50 caliber M-2 machine gun ("50 cal.")

"We weren't able to train in the way we needed to train," he says. When the platoon got to Afghanistan they had three days to learn.

They also didn't have the humvees they were supposed to have both before deployment and once they were in Afghanistan, the Captain says.

"We should have had 4 up-armored humvees," he said. "We were supposed to. But at most we had three operable humvees, and it was usually just two."

So what did they do? "To get the rest of the platoon to the fight," he says, "we would use Toyota Hilux pickup trucks or unarmored flatbed humvees." Sometimes with sandbags, sometimes without.

Also in Afghanistan they had issues getting parts for their MK-19s and their 50-cals. Getting parts or ammunition for their standard rifles was not a problem.

"It was very difficult to get any parts in theater," he says, "because parts are prioritized to the theater where they were needed most -- so they were going to Iraq not Afghanistan."

"The purpose of going after the Taliban was not to get their weapons," he said, but on occasion they used Taliban weapons. Sometimes AK-47s, and they also mounted a Soviet-model DShK (or "Dishka") on one of their humvees instead of their 50 cal.

Tapper sternly scolds bloggers for calling bullshit on Obama, but right there, he himself calls bullshit -- he just wants to pretend Obama's got it right. The source himself denies he had to "capture" enemy weapons and equipment to fight -- he is claiming that he did in fact use such weapons on occasion, but that is different than warfare generally... how?

As for not having the weapons to train with at home -- well, that sounds like bullshit too. Tapper thinks his job is done if he merely talks to a guy making these claims; but perhaps he should actually do some actual reporting and find out if our army is being denied key ammunition in training.

The left has a habit of claiming victory when some small detail is corroborated. Obama fucking claimed our troops HAD TO -- not chose to on occasion -- capture the very weapons with which they were expected to fight the enemy.

Tapper gets a guy claiming "Yeah, once we took a captured Soviet heavy machine gun and used it on a truck."

Then they say, "Ah-ha! You owe Obama an apology! He was Right!"

They did the exact same thing with Beauchamp.

Beauchamp claims that a guy picks up a child's skull from a mass grave and dances around his fellow soldiers while wearing the skull as a fucking yarmulke.

One soldier says, "We found some bones, they looked like animal bones but maybe they were human."

The left claims: Ah-ha! TNR had it exactly right! Apologize!

Really? What about that fucking shit you mentioned about wearing the child's skull as a yarmulke while dancing around your commanding officer like Pennywise the clown?

Same thing here, it seems. Obama spins out a ludicrous exaggeration, some claims are found to support (if you credit the claim) a much more plausible version of the claims he made, which are as far from the original as the lightning bug is from the lightning, and... we're wrong, we need to apologize.

Okay, whatever.

Hey, Yglesias? I'm sorry about your manateesque metabolism.


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posted by Ace at 04:08 PM

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