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Obama: Troops Must Use Taliban Supplies

In case you missed this lowlight from last night’s CNN (and Univision) debate, via YouTube

Obama: U.S. troops using Taliban weapons to fight

“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.  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.”

By the way, his controller speech writer campaign advisor, David Axelrod, is already backtracking on this.

From ‘The Corner’ at National Review Online:

Axelrod on Afghanistan

Stephen Spruiell

In the spin room after the debate, I asked Obama advisor David Axelrod about the anecdote Michael Graham flagged below.

Axelrod didn’t shed much new light on the source of the story:

AXELROD: That was a discussion that a captain in the military had with our staff, and he asked that that be passed along to Senator Obama.

I’m sure our guys capture whatever of the Taliban’s they can get their hands on, but are they so poorly equipped that they have no choice but to fight with captured enemy weapons? Any expert opinions out there on this one?

Filthy defeatist liars.



Jake Tapper at ABC News claims to have talked to the “captain”:

From the Fact Check Desk: Obama’s Army Anecdote

February 22, 2008

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.

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.

The Captain has spoken to Sen. Obama, he says, but this anecdote was relayed to Obama through an Obama staffer.

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.

Of course Mr. Tapper could have been talking to Jesse MacBeth for all he knew. Or any of the thousands of other frauds who like to masquerade a veterans.

But not only does he not name this supposed source, but many of these new details far fetched.

Captains don’t command platoons. Platoons are not split into different theaters.

But more importantly, this “captain” does not even claim what Mr. Obama said he claimed. In fact, he says just the opposite:

The purpose of going after the Taliban was not to get their weapons,” he said, but on occasion they used Taliban weapons.

Yet Mr. Tapper pronounces:

I find that Obama’s anecdote checks out.

This is what passes for journalism in this day and age.

By the way, note how concerned Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are about our troops, also from ABC News:

Clinton, Obama Take No Funding Pledge

September 17, 2007

ABC News’ Teddy Davis, Jonathan Greenberger, and Donna Hunter Report…

“I have voted against funding this war and I will vote against funding this war as long as it takes,” Clinton told the Service Employees International Union on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Clinton’s comments came one day after Obama made a similar pledge.

“If there is a funding bill that does not have a timetable for when we begin withdrawal, and the completion — a plan for how that withdrawal will proceed — I will not support it,” said Obama on Sunday during a wide-ranging foreign policy discussion at Des Moines’ First Christian Church…

Yes, they are so concerned about our soldiers having adequate supplies, they have voted against funding them at nearly every opportunity.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 22nd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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