Here's the transcript:
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, it's the responsibility of Congress to provide money and equipment to our military, not the POTUS. And we all know who is responsible for all the delays in making that happen: Democrats.
Secondly, although I've been away from the Army for awhile, I have never, ever heard a rifle platoon being split up and sent to two different theaters of war. You see, the whole idea of Infantry Platoons is to train them together so that they can fight together. It's called unit cohesion, friends.
Third, except in rare cases, Captains command rifle companies and Lieutenants command rifle platoons.
Finally, as Curt points out, how are our troops capturing enemy weaponry if they don't have weapons or ammo? Throwing rocks and homemade spears, perhaps?
In my humble opinion, the guy has no clue what he's talking about. And this is precisely why we do not want an inexperienced, incapable Senator running the United States of America.
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Updated: As you can see in the comments section, people are pointing to this Jack Tapper piece at ABC News.
According to Tapper, the still unidentified Captain was a Lieutenant at the time in question, not a Captain, so he gets a pass on that one.
I still don't buy the fact that an Army platoon was split in half to fight in two separate theaters. According to Tapper
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.
So the platoon was reduced in size, gradually, and almost all of them were replaced. Now that makes a little more sense, doesn't it?
The part about the weapons and ammo changes too.
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."
40 mm automatic grenade launcher ammunition for the MK-19, and ammunition for the .50 caliber M-2 machine gun ("50 cal.").
Now this makes it sound like the ammo problem was a training issue the unit had before deployment. That's not what Obama said, though, is it? You might also note that the 10th Mountain Division, the unit in question, is a LIGHT Infantry unit, meaning no HEAVY weapons, which M-2's and MK-19's - and armored Humvees - are. Light Infantry means you fight with what's on your back.
And, if you read the Tapper piece, they were only short one or two Humvees from their TO&E. You might also remember that 2003 was still before the large increase in IED's in Afghanistan.
Also note the Tapper piece here:
"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 on one of their humvees instead of their 50 cal.
Now that's a lot different than what Obama said, too, isn't it? ON OCCASION, they used Taliban weapons. But no explanation as to why. It's easy to see, however, why a Light Infantry Platoon would put a captured heavy weapon into effect. You see, that's what the Infantry is trained to do.
So, as usual, we have some information provided by an unnamed, unidentified source that cannot be verified. And that information was stretched to make it look like something that it wasn't.
Now if everything Obama said is true, let him identify the source and the specific unit so that his story can be verified. Then all of you Liberals can get in line behind me demanding that these problems, if they did - and still do - exist, are fixed and never happen again.
Because we definitely owe that to our troops.
BTW, if Obama is so concerned about these problems, why did he vote against increasing spending for our troops on the battlefields? Damned details...
It also strikes me funny that the nuts on the Left completely discount all of the Milbloggers and veterans, many of whom are identified by name, unit and experience, and point to ABC News as a more credible source. Amazing.
UPDATE II: Oops, more credibility problems for Obama and for Mr. tapper at ABC News, the guy trying to hammer all the Milbloggers.
It seems that Pentagon doesn't buy it either.
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.
Exactly what Milbloggers like Amy Proctor, Blackfive, Flopping Aces and I have said since his comments made the news. No wonder Obama's people - and Mr. Tapper - didn't dig too deeply.
Vets for Freedom also weighed in today:
“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.”
Vets for Freedom is a nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its mission is to educate the American public about the importance of achieving success in these conflicts by applying our first-hand knowledge to issues of American military strategy.
In typical Obama fashion, he commented on something he knew nothing about, got caught, and now the Liberal left mouthpieces are trying to save Mr. Second Coming.
And reading through the comments - aside from the ones I deleted for failing to adhere to this blog's policy of no profanity - one thing is clear. Every Liberal that came here to defend their Messiah simply hurled insults and pointed to the ABC News piece, such as it was, rather than commenting on their own military experience. Why is that, do you think?
Oops, even CNN's "The Situation Room" is questioning Obama and the crappy follow up by ABC News. Amy Proctor has the video posted on her blog. Their consensus? Obama "missed some important nuances." In other words, Obama was trying to relate some story that some staffer heard and he screwed it up because he knows nothing about the military. You can even see it in the stuttering, halting way he relates it during the debate.
Even the "Captain" clarifies it for CNN, after they obviously asked much better questions than ABC News did. Ah, facts.
The bottom line is that he screwed up the story related to him by a staffer. While there is some truth to it, he screwed up the facts and mislead anyone who was watching. I'd at least respect him if he came out and said as much, but I won't hold my breath....