Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Democratic debate

Of infantry captains running undersized rifle platoons and US troops needing to use Taliban weapons. And Hillary none the wiser.

Is it true?


Blogger Nate said...

This looks like another "Missile Gap."

1) Captains almost never command rifle platoons. There are some kinds of platoons that captains do command (occasionally a Ranger platoon, ANGLICO Platoons, etc.) Almost never a line rifle platoon of the type he's speaking of.

2) Line infantrymen are prohibited from using enemy weapons and ammo. They know how to use an AK-47 but CENTCOM actually prohibits use of enemy weapons in any case but some dire emergency. Deploying without your weapons and then fighting to get Taliban weapons? HA!

3) 39 Men? That's another funny one. He's right that most infantry platoons have 40ish men. They are almost never filled to Table of Organization capacity. So no big deal there.

4) Half the platoon in IZ, the other half in AF? I can't see this happening either, unless maybe the half that went IZ was sent there on Individual Augmentation orders (i.e. individuals deployed to Iraq to do specific tasks). But these IA jobs are usually for senior NCOs and officers--Not the sorts of people in a line platoon.

I want to see more evidence before I believe this guy.

2/22/2008 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger lugh lampfhota said...

Perhaps the media needs to ask Barak to produce this "captain" so America can find out how under-staffed and under-funded our broken army truly is. My God, are they foraging for food in the field and stripping Taliban boots so they won't have to trek barefoot in the mountains?

Methinks Barry is full of shit.

2/22/2008 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Snobamas

Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it? Did anyone at their Ivy League universities school them in why one should love America? Do they confuse patriotism with nationalism, or nativism? Are they more inspired by abstractions like "international justice" than by old visions of America as the city on a hill, which is how John Winthrop saw it, and Ronald Reagan and JFK spoke of it?

2/22/2008 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So his point is, we're not spending enough on defense? I agree...

2/22/2008 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Barack's reporting sounds like it was the end result of a Whisper Game. Clearly this is fourth-, fifth-, nth-hand information, passed through the credulous filters of overzealous and incurious operators. Equally clearly, the Republican machine needs to go roto-rooter on this thing and find out whether Obama was passing on unsubstantiated Leftist rumor about a matter as fundamental as our military at war.

If he was, this could be a "headshot" for the McCain campaign. All the contrasts they want to draw between their War Hero and the Facade, all the labels they want to stick on Obama (inexperienced, unpresidential, naive, untrustworthy, power-hungry, gullible, knew-jerk and credulous Lefty, overconfident, etc.) -- should the Republicans discover Obama passed on bad information, and should they be able to prove it in devastating manner, they would have succeeded in 1) finding a treasure trove of leaden tails to pin on the Donkey; 2) drawn a clear distinction between the two candidates; and 3) done so by focusing on the two issues on which the Republicans still dominate the Democrats: military and national security.

2/22/2008 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

In presidential debates, it is often far less important to get one’s facts straight than it is to look like one knows what one is talking about. For many audiences, looking authoritative and sounding authoritative are more important than being authoritative, especially when the audience is more interested in hearing what it wants to hear than hearing anything else. Many audiences want to hear someone make a very convincing case, and they will swoon for someone who is very convincing at not making any sense.

2/22/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger always right said...

My God!

If we can not even support our troops right now so they can do their jobs properly, how are we able to support all the proposed socialists' programs for the whole nation?

2/22/2008 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Priorities, Always,
It's always priorities,
that's how Barry will bring change to Washington.

2/22/2008 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...


" 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. "

2/22/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

I'm wondering if any unit has ever been deployed with a full complement of everything they were entitled to. Maybe by George McClellan. I think Patton once started an attack without enough fuel for his tanks. I would really doubt that our forces have taken any losses because of equipment shortages. As Rumsfeld said, you go to war with the Army you've got, and it seems like they've had enough to do the job. The problems that we have had are more related to insufficient coverage and restrictive ROEs, with maybe a little political sabotage thrown in.

2/22/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The thing about Hillbilly armor, maybe. But that was actually an upgrade that hadn't been anticipated.

2/22/2008 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

My comment here is how many similar stories like this could be told of Vietnam, Korea, WWII, WWI, SAW, Civil War, MAW, War of 1812 or the Revolution? Line officers have always groused how their units are undermanned, under-trained and under-equipped. My next comment is, “Wow, so Obama is considered about the lack of manpower and equipment to fully flesh out the Army units. So what is his solution? What social programs are going to be cut so that troops will have the necessary funding for equipment? What sort of pay and benefit increase is going to be proposed to help Army recruiters fill the ranks? How many additional units is he going to authorize for the Army to help relieve the units in the field?” Just curious.

2/22/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

The story sounds as if it came from the NYT. No need for sources here, move along please.

On another note, I didn't realize that there were that many men in a platoon. I was a permanent third squad leader in boot and never had anyone to my left through the entire quagmire.

2/22/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Logistics STILL are not what they need to be to support troops in Afghanistan.

And that's the result of Pakistan being unwilling to have US supply convoys running through it on the scale needed.

The new Bhutto Party led Govt is pledging to restrict it even further, and renege on agreements that the US had with Musharraf to kill Taliban/AQ with less "proof" inside Pakistan.

So things will get even worse.

But Obama lied. Troops were short in training in the US. Not in the field.

2/22/2008 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Barrack's biggest stretch is his Fraudulent Portrayal of who he really is.
Saul, Bill, Hill, and Barry.

(Communist) Alinsky advises the organizer to target the middle class, rather than the poor: "Organization for action will now and in the decade ahead center upon America's white middle class. That is where the power is."

Alinsky is interested in the middle class solely for its usefulness: "Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and the way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt. They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change, and the power and the people are in the middle class majority."

To accomplish this, Alinsky writes that the organizer must "begin to dissect and examine that way of life [the middle class lifestyle] ... He will know that 'square' is no longer to be dismissed as such -- instead his own approach must be 'square' enough to get the action started."

Rules for Radicals defends belief that the end justifies the means: "to say that corrupt the ends," writes Alinsky, "is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles ... the practical revolutionary will understand ... [that] in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one's individual conscience and the good of mankind."

Altogether, Alinsky provides eleven rules of the ethics of means and ends. They are morally relativistic.
Alinsky was a critic of a passive and ineffective mainstream liberalism. In Rules for Radicals, he argued that the most effective means are whatever will achieve the desired ends, and that an intermediate end for radicals should be democracy because of its relative ease to work within to achieve other ends of social justice.

Alinsky was the subject of Hillary Rodham's senior honors thesis at Wellesley College, "There Is Only The Fight...": An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.[8] Rodham commented on Alinsky's "charm," but rejected grassroots community organizing as outdated. Once Hillary Rodham Clinton became First Lady of the United States, the thesis was suppressed by the White House for fear of being associated too closely with Alinsky's ideas.[9]

Alinsky also had a significant influence on Barack Obama, who is a United States Senator and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.[8] Obama particularly used Alinsky's techniques while participating in Chicago community organizations in the 1980s.
Yup, he was a "Community Organizer" all right!

2/22/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Hillary could have won the election right there. She could have turned to Obama and pressed him for details. She could have asked him when this incident happened, etc. Obama would have been trapped. And then Hillary might have turned to audience and said, "Here's your Commander in Chief. I rest my case".

But Hillary didn't. She was nodding her head beside him none the wiser. Maybe because she didn't know any better.

2/22/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought she might be able to KO him on licenses for illegals, but then I realized she'd kill herself in the "Hispanic Community."

2/22/2008 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama, Ayers, and Dohrn.
Ayers and Dohrn:
But — unlike some other fringe figures of the era — they’re also flatly unrepentant about the bombings they committed in the name of ending the war, defending them on the grounds that they killed no one, except, accidentally, their own members.

Dohrn, however, was jailed for less than a year for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating other Weather Underground members’ robbery of a Brinks truck, in which a guard and two New York State Troopers were killed.

“I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough,” Ayers told the New York Times in 2001.

And their rehabilitation in establishment circles, even in Hyde Park, has its limits.

Though he is a respected figure in liberal educational circles, Ayers wrote recently about how in 2006 he was informed he was persona non grata at a progressive educators’ conference in the summer of 2006.
“We cannot risk a simplistic and dubious association between progressive education and the violent aspects of your past,” he quoted the conference organizers, whom he described as friends, as writing to him.
But the couple has been embraced, by and large, in the liberal circles dominating Hyde Park politics.
...and he attended a Racist Church, but what the hey?

2/22/2008 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cargosquid said...

A telling comment that this is a suspicious story-the comment about the "uparmored" humvees. This Captain, then Lt. deployed in 2003. Armored Humvees were a priority for Iraq. IED's were not a problem in Afghanistan. This whole story sounds like political spinning by a Obama supporting officer.

2/24/2008 11:35:00 AM  

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