Obama on Afghanistan.

By 229 Comments 3,570 views


It appears that ABC News’ Political Punch Blog has tried to confirm this story, and is claiming that Sen Obama’s story is true (though not told directly to him, but through a staffer). Readers are encouraged to not only read the ABC News comments, but the comments to the contrary posted here at Flopping Aces. They can be informative regardless of political orientation. -Scott


Me thinks this little blurb will come back to bite Obama in the ass. Just my guess:

OBAMA: 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.

First of all, and correct me if I’m wrong on this Chris (seeing as how I’ve been out for 18 years) but the military rarely splits a platoon across theaters, maybe companies but platoons? Nope…..Secondly, Captains don’t lead platoons, they lead companies. Thirdly, on the weapons thing it may very well because the AK is just a damn good desert weapon that rarely jams PLUS having a weapon that sounds like the enemies and doesn’t sound like one of our M16’s is probably a pretty good tactic. They may be grabbing the AK’s but I’m doubting its because they are not getting supplied. Fourth, if they are so underequipped how in the hell are they able to capture all these weapons in the first place? Just going up and asking the Taliban for em?

I’m gonna call shenanigans (codeword for he is lying through his teeth) on these charges by Obama.

Oh, and one last note. It’s Congress that gives the money to the Military Senator Obama….not the Commander in Chief.


Great comments left by Chris and Caelestis who is in Iraq right now. Caelestis:

Now as far as personnel there is a thing called cross leveling where people that are not deploying are brought into a unit so that the unit can deploy with full strength. I know I just watched it happen in Hawaii with the 2nd SBCT 25th ID (I’ll explain what all those capitalized letters mean later Mr. Obama)….What you are describing doesn’t happen Mr. Obama because if it did happen, there would be an 0-6 and an 0-5 and a bunch of 0-4’s and especially one extremely pissed off 0-3 who would have screamed loud enough that even the NY Times could have heard them over your droning speeches to notice…..A Brigade commander that let something like this happen would have lost total respect and honor from every officer in his brigade,

and Chris:

Now as for weapons. No kidding we use the enemy’s when we can. The same is true for the initial invasion of Iraq. Ammunition is always a sought commodity, but there was no shortage of transports getting it to Afghanistan. HOWEVER, in the midst of a fire fight, ammo runs low and many Soldiers/Marines know how to use the AK series (AKM/AK-74 and SVD). Since a majority of US Military Members are gun owners/shooters and many are NRA members, we tend to learn all we can about weapons and teach those who are not hunters/shooters in our ranks. A light infantry unit can only carry so much ammo on extended missions. Air resupply is not always available while in combat (helicopters draw enemy fire for some reason) and ground resupply is not always able to get up the goat trails that comprise Afghanistan.


I see the lefty reporter Jack Tapper from ABC has wrote a piece refuting this post. Apparently he talked to the man in question and we find out that this all happened 5 years ago. For the rest I will use Chris as my source seeing as how he is a active duty Major in the Army:

No corraborating evidence besides allegedly talking to the (former?) officer? Further more, no mention that M2s, MK-19s, and HMMWVs are not part of the 10th MOUNTAIN Division’s standard MTOE at Rifle Co level in 2003. They are light infantry… LIGHT means they walk. M2s and MK-19s were reserved for higher level weapons platoons, not rifle platoons, and those were man-packed. This means the weapons are taken apart and moved.

On the parts issue, with the influx of heavier weapons, the units probably did have trouble at first taking care of the “new” heavy guns. The M2 is not in production any more and all parts come from rebuilds or stocks. They also need more specialized tools and care than an M4/M16/M240/M249. The M2HB I had on my M1A1 was manufactured in 1943 for instance and in 1997 would have been down a long time if damaged due to lack of funding. This person said they had no problems with the organic weapons they had, but with weapons which the Army added from experience in theater.

Then we have the Pentagon refuting Tapper’s anonymous “Captain”:

The Pentagon on Friday cast doubt on an account of military equipment shortages mentioned by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during a debate with rival Hillary Clinton.

During the face-to-face encounter on Thursday evening, Obama said he had heard from an Army captain whose unit had served in Afghanistan without enough ammunition or vehicles.

Obama said it was easier for the troops to capture weapons from Taliban militants than it was “to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief,” President George W. Bush.

“I find that account pretty hard to imagine,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

“Despite the stress that we readily acknowledge on the force, one of the things that we do is make sure that all of our units and service members that are going into harm’s way are properly trained, equipped and with the leadership to be successful,” he said.

Whitman’s remarks were unusual as the Pentagon often declines to talk about comments from political campaigns.

Of course with the “Captain” remaining anonymous its hard to come right out and say the man is lying since the Pentagon doesn’t have the particulars such as the dates, units, and other important info. With him remaining in the shadows its easier for Barack and his pal Tapper to just say “believe us” because well, just because. Which leads to this great rundown from Scott:

Some guy told some staffer who told Obama who couldn’t even repeat the story accurately. That’s the reality, the truth, and the facts.


Remember Obama said this:

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.

According to Tapper and his anonymous “Captain:

“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.

Which jives with what all of us bloggers were saying last night. They were getting those weapons because they are good desert fighting steel. NOT because of a lack of weapon supplies which is the opposite of what Obama was alleging.

Allah links to the AP with this which should be pointed out:

Obama said the platoon was supposed to have 39 soldiers. A platoon does not have to consist of 39, but can have between 16 to 40 soldiers, according to standard Army unit organization. It is also commanded by a lieutenant and not a captain.

Finally Vets for Freedom just issued this press release:

Vets for Freedom questions the recent comments by Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill) in the Democratic debate last night, in which he stated that American troops were “capturing Taliban weapons because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than get equipped by our current Commander in Chief”.

“Yet again Senator Obama has demonstrated the loose grip he holds on the reality of these conflicts,” said Vets for Freedom State Captain, and Afghanistan Army veteran Daniel Bell. “Senator Obama’s comments are insulting not only to those who have served and are still serving in Afghanistan but to all who serve in the armed forces. I can attest from my first hand experience that these comments are incredulous and that we were supplied all the tools necessary to complete our missions.”

He continued “His statements last night assert that he lacks the necessary knowledge to make serious judgments on military matters, that he is prone to dangerous exaggeration, and that he is grossly unaware of the facts on the ground. I call on other veterans of Afghanistan to respond to these ridiculous allegations and to remind Senator Obama that it is the sacrifice of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan that allows him to so freely speak in this manner.”

But I guess the main point of this whole thing should be the fact that Democrats, especially Democrats like Obama, wanted to cut funding to the troops and run like cowards from the fight but now want to use lack of equipment as some sort of attack against a war they wanted to defund anyway…..and THATS why they should be elected!


The part that the Messiah can’t spin away is that this is another case of the US military adapting and overcoming. It’s been going on since our inception; adaptibility has survived Presidents and wars, and is just as strong as ever. So while he votes against our funding, then talks of how the CiC can’t get us adequate equipment, talking out of both sides of his mouth so hard he’s coming in in Stereo, those of us in uniform just laugh, find what works, and keep going.


No one says it like Ace:

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.

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

229 Responses to “Obama on Afghanistan.”

  1. 201


    “She seemed a little stumped, and seemed skeptical of the honesty of some poster”
    Reading some of the comments from leftists on this site, I too have been skeptical.

  2. 202

    Mike's America

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    Found this from Jack Kelly:

    February 23, 2008
    Obama’s Curious Tale
    By Jack Kelly

    “I’ve heard from an Army captain who was head of a rifle platoon — supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon,” Sen. Barack Obama said during his debate with Hillary Clinton Thursday night. “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 for them to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief.”

    The comment raised eyebrows among veterans.

    Rifle platoons are not commanded by a captain. They are commanded by a lieutenant, usually a second lieutenant.

    The heart of Sen. Obama’s charge is that the captain’s platoon was cannibalized in order to send soldiers to Iraq. The Army does have a program called “cross leveling” where soldiers from units which are not deploying are sent to units which are to bring them up to full strength. But the Army emphatically denies taking soldiers from units which are scheduled to deploy to a combat zone to give them to other units. This would be insane.

    “As a consequence, they didn’t have enough ammunition, they didn’t have enough humvees…”

    This is a weird non-sequitur. There is no reason why a shortage of personnel, if it existed, would translate into a shortage of ammunition, or of vehicles.

    Soldiers on a mission carry a basic load of ammunition, typically seven magazines (210 rounds). It’s possible to burn through this quite rapidly in a firefight, especially if the soldier lacks fire discipline. Soldiers can run low on ammo until they are resupplied, typically by helicopter, but this has nothing to do with the adequacy of ammunition stocks in theater. There has never been a shortage of ammunition in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

    “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.”

    The basic Taliban weapon is the venerable AK-47. Many of our soldiers and Marines prefer it to the M-16 because it is less likely to jam, and has more range and stopping power. A soldier who has run out of ammunition for his weapon in a firefight eagerly would pick up an AK-47 if one were close to hand. But this would be just a temporary expedient. For one thing, it’s against the law for conventional U.S. soldiers to carry enemy weapons. More practically, a soldier using the AK-47 as his basic weapon would have serious ammunition resupply problems. The AK-47 and the M-16 are of different calibers. (I doubt Barack Obama knows this.) Our cartridges don’t fit into their guns, and their cartridges don’t fit into ours. The basic load of ammo a Taliban guerrilla carries is less than what our soldiers carry, both because the AK’s 7.62 mm round is heavier and bulkier than the M-16’s 5.56 mm round, and because al Qaida is stingier with ammo than we are. The ammunition taken off the dead body of a Taliban guerrilla wouldn’t last long.

    Units don’t deploy to Afghanistan with their organic vehicles. Afghanistan is 8,000 miles from the U.S., in a mountainous region far from seaports. It’s hard to ship stuff there. So unnecessary stuff isn’t shipped. Units arriving in theater fall in on the equipment that was being used by the units they are replacing.

    Even though he’s a member of Congress, Sen. Obama seems to be unaware that it is Congress, not the president, which funds the military. If Sen. Obama thinks the military is inadequately supplied, he should take it up with his Democratic colleagues, who routinely cut the president’s defense budget requests.

    ABC’s Jake Tapper tracked down Sen. Obama’s captain, who was a lieutenant in the summer of 2003 when his unit was sent to Afghanistan. His unit was understrength (though it was reinforced a couple of months after its arrival in theater). But the captain complained of a shortage of ammo for his heavy machine guns and grenade launchers while training at Fort Drum before deployment, not in Afghanistan. This is a rather different story from the one Sen. Obama told, and a fishy one, because infantry platoons in the 10th Mountain Division are not normally assigned heavy machine guns or Mark 19 grenade launchers.

    Sen. Obama should restrict himself to talking about “hope” and “change.” Whenever he stumbles into matters of substance, he demonstrates his unfitness for the job he seeks.

    I’m still waiting for Obama, or any of the acolytes in his socialist cult to clarify that he was talking about a report FROM 2003, NOT CURRENT.

  3. 203


    “…some magazine called Foreign Policy which apparently is funded by a left wing group Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.”

    “I would not think that anyone in America thinks that such a group does not have a far leftist basis.”

    This is ludicrous. They let Soros speak at an event; that doesn’t mean they endorse his positions. Foreign Policy was founded by Warren Manshel, who also founded the conservative Public Interest quarterly, along with Sam Huntington, who was famous for advocating the heavy bombing of rural South Vietnam to drive the Viet Cong into the open. Nixon’s Under-Secretary of State Bill Donaldson ran the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace until 2003. Gaither (the current head) assisted president Johnson after clerking for Chief Justice Earle Warren – I’m not aware of him having taken any controversial positions. Whatever the case, these are not a bunch of left-wingers.

    Even if they were, of course, one would have to posit that the poll was either massively biased or fraudulent to negate its implications. Asseverating that Foreign Policy is a left-wing publication amounts to an ad-hominem attack.

    And finally, I also don’t really know anyone in the military who actually liked either Clinton, though there were a few who nevertheless thought Bill was less bad than George. Barack, on the other hand, has quite a few advocates, and is easily the most popular candidate in my platoon and at least competitive with McCain in my fiancee’s.

  4. 204



    That poll included retired officers….not good. Even worse it was put on by The Center for New American Security, a supposed unbiased, non-partisan group founded and run by old Clinton hands:

    A coterie of national security and defense experts from the last Clinton administration have formed a new Washington think tank, the Center for a New American Security, that looks an awful lot like a shadow policy apparatus for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    The center is led by two former Pentagon officials in the Clinton administration. Its board includes former Defense Secretary William J. Perry, the chairman, and former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and John Podesta, the former White House chief of staff. And, indeed, Mrs. Clinton delivered the keynote address at the center’s inaugural forum in Washington today.


    However, in foreign policy circles Edwards’s knowledge of world affairs is considered thin, and on the stump he’s far more passionate about domestic issues like poverty and trade. His main foreign policy adviser, Mike Signer, was an aide to former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, and his longtime national security adviser in the Senate, Derek Chollet, is a Holbrooke protégé and a fellow at the Center for New American Security, a centrist think tank working to align Democrats closer to the military.

    So without seeing the details of the poll I remain very wary of believing it. I, along with Chris, have already stated that the active duty people we know do not support Obama and when asked they tell me they don’t know anyone who does either. Although I wouldn’t be surprised that with Obama playing the race card nowadays some of the blacks may go to him, a man who may very well be worse then Bill Clinton.

    Seems fishy to me.

  5. 205


    Sorry Nato, maybe we are different generations. I grew up knowing what the defeatism and economic desolation of the Carter years did. Then Reagan came and really brought an attempt at change. Real and positive change. He did not do as much as he wanted, but he transformed America from a country awash in defeatism and self hate, defeated the Soviet Union, created real economic growth from Carter’s disasters, and fought the last offensive phase in what became known as the War on Terror.

    Then Clinton came and with him returned the defeatism, self hate, and inaction.

    Obama’s nebulous “change” is no different from Bill Clinton’s “it’s time for change” empty suit rhetoric. If you cannot see this and will not research who and what Obama really is, then I am sorry you fell for the siren’s song.

    Just remember, if Obama does get elected and demands that the “rich” pay their “fair share” (they already pay 85%+ of the income taxes) you will find a whole bunch of “middle class” people will suddenly find out they are “the rich” and see their taxes go way up (as will the “poor” and everyone else). At the same time, you will see the West fold to Islamofascism and terror, just as is happening in London, Manchester, Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam, and other EU cities and countries.

  6. 206


    I hadn’t ever heard of the New American Security think tank; thanks for the info. After a little research it’s certain that they would wish to publicize anything that they think would hurt the GOP, especially since their backers are openly “center-left”. It seems a little doubtful that FP would sign on to a simple hatchet-job, however.

    In the interests of fair disclosure, I spend the most time in military-intelligence circles, and I’m sure that skews my perceptions somewhat. However, I also spend time with SF, and they don’t seem all that different. I will admit that I spend next to no time with anyone outside the Army or, occasionally, the Marines any more, so I don’t have any personal experience with what active Navy or Air Force folks are thinking. What interactions I *have* had seem to make plausible the numbers in the survey. I’d certainly be interested to hear anything concrete that calls the survey methodology into question, like say, a really disproportionate or unrepresentative retiree sample.

  7. 208


    “This is ludicrous. They let Soros speak at an event; that doesn’t mean they endorse his positions. ”

    Here is an individual heavily tried to George Soros:

    “After he left government in 1970, Halperin became a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was feted and embraced by many leftist organizations that promoted similar views, such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Council on Foreign Relations.”

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org spends their time and money identifying leftist individuals and groups. IMO, it would be ludicrous to believe a leftist organization is publishing anything but a leftist publication.

  8. 209


    Oh my, pagar. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace AND the Council on Foreign Relations are now both left-wing because DiscoverTheNetworks says so? If the Council on Foreign Relations is a left-wing organization, I sort of wonder why Paul Bremer, Dick Cheney, Irving Kristol, David Petraeus, Paul Wolfowitz, Newt Gingrich and quite a few others are on its council. Perhaps in DiscoverTheNetworks’ fevered imagination, they are all closet left-wingers too.

  9. 210


    “Since there was no link, I googled the words and found a poll conducted by some magazine called Foreign Policy which apparently is funded by a left wing group Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.”

    I’ve read FP for years, and they do a pretty good job of presenting the full spectrum of opinion. As far as specific examples are concerned, they’ve given ink to Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani–and they don’t print ANY short articles, this is meaty stuff–and that’s just in the last 2-3 issues. They interviewed GEN Petraeus last month; I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t sit down with anything less than a respectable outfit, aren’t you?

    “That poll included retired officers….not good.”

    Wow. A group of people who have, by and large, given their entire lives to the uniformed service of this country, and their participation in a poll on military issues is…”not good?” That’s just breathtaking.

    Here’s the description of the groups surveyed:
    “The U.S. Military Index is based on a survey of 3,437 officers holding the rank of major or lieutenant commander and above from across the services, active duty and retired, general officers and field-grade officers. About 35 percent of the participants hailed from the Army, 33 percent from the Air Force, 23 percent from the Navy, and 8 percent from the Marine Corps. The Index focuses on a very elite portion of the military – the 6 percent of the military ranking Major/Lieutenant Commander and up, the most highly accomplished active duty and retired officers, including 232 flag officers, elite generals, and admirals who have served at the highest levels of command. Approximately one-third are colonels or captains, while 37 percent hold the rank of lieutenant colonel or commander. Eighty-one percent have more than 20 years of service in the military. Twelve percent graduated from one of America’s exclusive military academies. And approximately two-thirds have combat experience, with roughly 10 percent having served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both.”

    Sounds like a pretty good survey group to me, especially when one reads that last sentence.

    Details and poll results available at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4198

  10. 211



    Wow. A group of people who have, by and large, given their entire lives to the uniformed service of this country, and their participation in a poll on military issues is…”not good?” That’s just breathtaking.

    Seeing as how they are no longer in the military they’re opinion matters about as much as mine does in the context of how the current military feels about a subject. Your attempt to spin my statement is ignorant at all kinds of levels.

    That rundown on who was surveyed is also telling since the original commentor was stating that the rank & file appear to be disaffected but it now appears this is from the true big wigs in the service. Certainly not indicative of the rank & file.

    Additionally, you make no reference to the liberal think tanks involvement in the poll….quite telling.

  11. 212

    Mike's America

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    Nato said “As a side note, I was an econ major.”

    Well, I wasn’t. After my poly sci degree I did post graduate study in national security topics the hightlight of which was a doctoral seminar at Columbia University with former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzenzski.

    So forgive me if I don’t accept the word of an econ major when it comes to national security issues or the underlying foreign policy intellectual establisment.

  12. 213


    I’m not really sure why the involvement of a liberal think tank’s involvement would be all that relevant. The methodology and procedures are either respectable or they’re not.

    It would seem the methods are respectable, but there’s still room to assert that the rank and file are overwhelmingly of the opposite mind to their commanders.

    The most recent active duty poll I know of is the Military Times poll from 2007. It’s somewhat more upbeat than either the 2006 poll or the FP/CNAS poll, but it’s still a roughly even division in opinions rather than totally lopsided support for Bush, the war in Iraq, etc.

    As a sort of digression, I might also ask if we should not take very seriously the judgments of those most likely to have the greatest visibility and experience with the state of the military and its position in the Middle-East. Obama’s captain’s story aside, there’s clearly widespread trepidation at the state of our forces and the impact of the ongoing war in Iraq.

  13. 214


    Mike’s America:
    “I don’t accept the word of an econ major when it comes to national security issues or the underlying foreign policy intellectual establisment”

    Mike, I mentioned having been an econ major in light of Chris G’s comment
    “Just remember, if Obama does get elected and demands that the “rich” pay their “fair share” (they already pay 85%+ of the income taxes) you will find a whole bunch of “middle class” people will suddenly find out they are “the rich” and see their taxes go way up (as will the “poor” and everyone else).”

    I’m not exactly enthused with Obama’s class warfare, was all I was saying.

    And what was I saying about national security issues or the foreign policy intellectual establishment with which you disagreed? It would seem I cited an opinion poll – two of them, now – and my anecdotal experience with the military. I *did* defend the FP poll from being dismissed on the grounds of FP being a putative “liberal” rag, but I would be surprised if you disagreed with my position there.

  14. 215

    Mike's America

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    nato… I’m not really sure where you are coming from. Are you?

    And, I find it interesting that an econ major chooses nato as his comment name.

  15. 216


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    Interesting polls.. I never heard of them before you linked. Was never asked, nor has anyone I know been asked to participate.

    As it stands, you and I have opposite opinions about our efforts and the history behind them, and feelings of people we know. Nothing will convince me that Obama, or Clinton, would make a good President. I fully support the war and volunteered to deploy again even with a pregnant wife because I believe in this fight that much and KNOW it is the correct path. It should have been done in 1998 with Operation Desert Fox, but was not. Just as Hitler should have been confronted before the spring of 1940, but was not.

    But then, my opinion as shown from the more rabid leftists above (i.e., not you) and the ABC censored “factchecker” blog, does not count.

    As an aside, here is an article from the Asia Times about the Obama mania and an outside (of the US) look at where Obama is coming from.

  16. 217



    The poll is a moot point anyway.
    McCain, Obama, and Hillary have all said they will continue the war in one form or another and withdraw troops “depending on conditions on the ground”(a common conditional caveat for all three).

    If anyone tells you they will end the war if elected, you’re being misled.

  17. 218


    Mike’s America – My sister started calling me Nate-o back in high school and it stuck. Even my future mother-in-law addresses me as “Nato.” As for “where I’m coming from”, I’m not sure what you’re asking, but I have wanted to shoot everyone in the Taliban in the face since way before it was cool. I speak Arabic and have had enough interaction with Islamic terrorists to know that people are deluding themselves if they think the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist is only in perspective or whose side you’re on. Most of my perception of how to deal with Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan come from my years of being an MI analyst (also the reason I speak Arabic).

    ChrisG – I doesn’t bother me that we come to differing judgments regarding Obama’s likelihood of being a good president, and I’m by no means certain that he will be. And, for what it’s worth, I do support the war in Iraq – I just hate the way we’ve gone about it, and wish we would get serious about it. I’m pretty upset that my girl got stop-lossed until almost two years after her expected out date, but if Iraq turns out okay it’ll be more than worth it. I just don’t want it all the time we’ve lost, and those we left behind, to accomplish nothing more than passing a festering buck onto the next president. And that seems to be all we’re doing unless the Iraqi politicians start dealing like they feel a sense of urgency rather than like Uncle Sam will always catch whatever ball they drop.

  18. 219


    I do not have time to search the Internet every time someone mentions an unbiased poll, so I used an already established source to determine if the poll might have some bias. I have already listed my source. I believe my source to be reliable. Others can make up their mind about who they consider reliable.

    Based on watching the career of John Kerry since he flew to Paris to meet with the enemy that was killing members of the US military in Vietnam at the same time he was encouraging them in their efforts to kill us: I am well aware one can find members of the American military/Retired who agree that we should just give up. Most of the Retired/Active Duty that I know do not believe that is the correct course for America.

  19. 220


    “I believe my source to be reliable.”

    You’re of course free to do so. In light of their completely implausible asseveration that the Council on Foreign Affairs is a left-wing organization, however, I struggle to understand how one could continue to assume their reliability to the point of accepting the paired asseveration that Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a left-wing organization. Perhaps DiscoverTheNetworks is ordinarily careful and reliable, but that statement at the least is highly dubious.

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    btw, yeah, I got to agree that the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace definitely leans left, but the point remains…that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan will remain regardless of who is President.

  21. 222



    “Other Democratic groups joining the campaign include VoteVets.org, Americans United for Change and the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank led by John Podesta, a former aide to President Bill Clinton. None of those organizations, however, has endorsed a candidate for president.”

    [emphasis added]

  22. 223


    “Seeing as how they are no longer in the military they’re opinion matters about as much as mine does in the context of how the current military feels about a subject.”

    I would think that field-grade combat veterans (and two-thirds of those surveyed were combat veterans), retired or active-duty, would have a more informed interpretation of current events in the military than would just about anyone here.

    I would also point out that the survey to which I linked is not answering questions about “how the military feels about a subject,” but rather “what is the current state of our military.” That’s a markedly different question; the most motivated soldier can’t complete his mission without effective leadership, effective logistics and effective planning. If you’re suggesting that retired soldiers can’t assess those aspects of the current military’s performance, I think you’re mistaken.

    I find it really amazing that people argue “I’ve been in Iraq, so I have more credibility”, yet dismiss the opinions of those who preceded them in combat. If you think that the lessons of Vietnam–or even Korea–don’t apply to today’s war, you’re sadly mistaken; they may not translate wholesale, but they are certainly relevant. My father was a career soldier (retired as an O-5 after enlisted service in WWII and commissioned service in Korea and Vietnam), and some aspects of military experience haven’t changed one whit; his analyses of Iraq/Afghanistan were often echoed (later) by current commanders/leaders. This commonality is particularly strong in the areas of command/control and logistics.

    For these reasons, I suggest that you are mistaken to dismiss/ignore the opinions of retired officers, especially those of combat veterans. Let’s leave it at that.

  23. 224



    Are you trying to tell me that a field grade officer retired 20 years is better suited to tell me the state of our military then a guy currently in the military?

    If so then, yes, we can leave it at the fact that we disagree completely on this issue.

  24. 225


    That’s kind of like saying we don’t need IGs, isn’t it?

    We all have some degree of tunnel vision when we look at ourselves, do we not? Bringing in knowledgeable outside voices is a good thing, simply because they can often see things that we might otherwise miss. I also think that there is some pressure on active-duty soldiers to ‘accentuate the positive,’ so to speak; again, bringing in experienced persons from outside the chain of command helps strip away some of the gloss.

    I am not saying that we regard these as definitive voices; I merely suggest that their opinions are valuable. Let me put it another way – I’d rather hear what they have to say than 95% of the talking heads in the media, eh?

  25. 226



    Just a note to Nato, letting you know that I enjoyed reading your comments very much. Thanks to you and your wife for your military service. And thanks for adding substance to the debate.

  26. 229


    I too, would like to say thanks for nato’s comments and for their service and to wish them the best of luck. My contention all along has been over the words–unbiased poll—-. With the military opinions spread between the belief that the US should taken no military action, everything should be under the UN, to the US should be out of the UN. IMO, it is not possible to do an unbiased poll. Especially among senior officers.

    Concerning the Council on Foreign Relations, a quick Google of those words shows 4,500,000 entries Including this one from Screen Number 1 of the 4,500,000.

    “, Professor of History at Georgetown University, stated, “The Council of Foreign Relations is the American Branch of a society which originated in England and believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established.” [4]

    Do I believe national boundaries should be eliminated and one world rule established?
    No. Therefore I repeat, I stand by the judgement shown by http://www.discoverthenetwork.com.

  27. 230


    Thanks to all for their kind words.

    Scott – I tend to agree. Winding down force levels doesn’t have to be a disaster, and politically it’s probably all that’s possible. How we do that will be critical for the results. Personally, I think the best-worst COA is to announce a plan that writes a timeline on the wall for the Iraqi factions: find a workable compromise by this date (which should be a ways out) or reap the whirlwind. Right now they seem to think that they can jockey for advantage over other factions, and if things blow up, the Americans will just surge in and pick up the pieces. Meanwhile the various insurgent factions attack us because they think (occasionally with some justice) that we’re backing their enemies. A large part of the reason the Sunnis kept allowing terrorists operational space was because they viewed them as a resource against US-backed (in their minds) Shia hegemony. Eventually they woke up (pun intended) to the fact that the terrorist cure was far worse than the disease, but as long as their communities continue to feel that the national government is their enemy, the gains are fragile. Replay the same tape for SCIRI and Mahdi Army, Turkmen and Kurds… etc. These politicians hanging out in the heavily fortified, relatively peaceful Green Zone – which, if you’re a good little soldier, you might be allowed to visit for a couple days as R&R – don’t seem much more in touch with the realities of Iraqi life than US voters. They need to “wake up” to the fact that they can’t hunker down there forever. Heck, I sometimes wonder if they have a conflict of interest: if they finally start cutting real deals, then we might actually leave them accountable to their population.

    But that’s just me waxing a little bitter and frustrated.

    pagar – Whatever Quigley’s opinion may be – and Quigley is certainly a fairly popular fellow for people whose conspiracy theories center on CFR – I don’t think that the long list of conservatives on the council “believe national boundaries should be eliminated and one world rule established” either. The previous issue of Foreign Affairs featured one article from Richardson and one from Huckabee. In 2002 they published an influential article by Kenneth Pollack advocating the invasion of Iraq. If the CFR indeed “believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established,” then there’s a whole lot of folks on the CFR who didn’t get the memo.

  28. 231


    Hmmmm….I note that discoverthenetworks.org is apparently one of David Horowitz’ sites; I can’t find any definitive list of “who they are,” but the link to FrontPage is a pretty big clue, as is the fact that Horowitz wrote their one and only ‘correction.’ That brings me to my other concern; they claim to have only made one error of fact in almost three years? That seems somewhat improbable.

    It’s an interesting source, to be sure, but I don’t treat any website as ‘gospel truth.’

  29. 232


    Oops – my mistake. Discoverthenetworks.org does list (on a link from their “corrections” page–I wasn’t expecting to have to click another link) 10 corrections in three years. I apologize for the error, but I still think that a pretty small number. I also note that they use terms like “limousine leftwing daughter”, which doesn’t exactly seem impartial. (laugh)

  30. 234


    Again, I’m not downing Horowitz’ site – I’m just suggesting that limiting ourselves to one source (or relatively few sources) of perspective/information is not the best choice. One should read a range of opinion and analysis, see the bias for what it is (ALL media is biased), and figure things out for themselves. Anyone who goes with single-source information is asking to be misled.

    (Yes, I read and listen across the political spectrum on a regular basis.)

  31. 236


    pagar, in #169 above:

    “I do not have time to search the Internet every time someone mentions an unbiased poll, so I used an already established source to determine if the poll might have some bias. I have already listed my source. I believe my source to be reliable. Others can make up their mind about who they consider reliable.”

  32. 237


    Curt, I think his comments about one site and one source may have been directed at me, since I only listed one. I just don’t think anyone is better able to point out the leftist better than Horowitz. I propably could have listed 10 or 50 sites, the results are going to be the same

  33. 238


    It’s really no big deal at all – heck, I bookmarked discoverthenetworks.org as another reference site. (grin) We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.


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