Obama's Platoon

By California Yankee Posted in | | | | Comments (19) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

During last night's Democratic presidential debate in Texas, Barack Obama told the following "platoon" story:

Here it is in black and white from CNN's transcript the debate:

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.

Now, that's a consequence of bad judgment.

Today the Pentagon weighed in on Obama's platoon. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters, he
finds Obama's story "pretty hard to imagine":

"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.

Read on.

According to Reuters, Whitman's remarks were unusual as the Pentagon often declines to talk about comments from political campaigns.

The Associated Press "fact checked" Obama's platoon story:

The Obama campaign offered no details to support the captain's story, making it impossible to verify. A spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about who the captain was and when and how the candidate learned about the allegation.

[. . .]

The captain said, however, that the unit did not go after the Taliban for the purpose of getting their weapons, but sometimes used those weapons when some were captured.

[. . .]

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.

The Associated Press also relied upon ABC's Jake Tapper in its "fact check":

ABC News said it talked to the unidentified captain, whose account of shortages in Afghanistan was for the most part accurately summarized by Obama, although not verified.

According to the ABC report, the captain was a lieutenant when he took command of the rifle platoon.

It doesn't seem all that accurate to me. I ran this post by friend who has had the pleasure being in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The short version of his reaction is that Obama’s Platoon story is too incredible to believe.

Senator John Warner also has questions about Obama's Platoon story. Warner has written Obama about this "disturbing framework of factual allegations":

As a former Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the timing of the situation you describe quite likely occurred during the period of my Chairmanship.

There are specific military regulations governing the use by U.S. forces of weapons other than of U.S. manufacture, and, likewise, regulations covering the deployment into combat zones of military units at manning levels below an optimum level.

Consequently I, and I believe other members of SASC, have a responsibility to establish where in the military chain of command rests the "accountability," depending of course, on the accuracy of the facts.

I am endeavoring to determine this now and have tasked the Chairman of The Joint Staff, through his J-3, and other entities in the Department of Defense to assist me. Moreover, it is my intent to raise this issue with Secretary Geren and General Casey when they testify before the Armed Services Committee next Tuesday.

What I need from you are the essential facts of when- the dates- the unit was deployed, to which brigade combat team, or other unit it was assigned, the name and current location of the captain, or other military personnel who shared the alleged facts with you, so that committee staff can debrief them.

Warner's letter is available here [PDF file].

What do you think?

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Obama's Platoon 19 Comments (0 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

1. Bob's platoon is sent into battle with 10,000 bullets and 39 soldiers. How many bullets does each soldier have?

2. Pretend instead that 15 men in Bob's platoon were instead diverted to Iraq. Now how many bullets does each soldier have?

3. Did the soldiers in question two have more or less bullets per soldier than the soldiers in question one?

4. Pretend that Bob's platoon runs out of bullets. They decide to steal guns from a group of violent terrorists, who have both guns and bullets. Is there a way for them to accomplish this without getting summarily slaughtered?

5. Would the scenario in problem four be easier or harder to navigate than cutting through military red tape?

The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

This is just completely unbelievable! Obama is absolutely lying. Look at his face. He is absolutely lying! He made this whole thing up. I bet this mysterious "captain" doesn't even exist. If this turns out to be true I'm just going to shoot myself. That's how sure I am that this can't possibly be true. I mean, we all know that Obama couldn't possibly know anything about the military. Gosh, liberals just make me so mad sometimes.

he's been interviewed on CNN and NBC


It looks like there were some embellishment, but it's not a total fabrication.

This is the relevant portion:

The captain told NBC News that he was talking about not having enough ammunition and no Humvees for training, but that his unit underwent a three-week crash course in Afghanistan before they saw combat.

The captain, who spoke on background because he's still active duty, said that his unit temporarily had to replace their .50-caliber turret-mounted machine gun with a weapon seized from the Taliban because they couldn't get a needed part fast enough.

You do understand that this does not at all mean that they were short on ammunition and seized Taliban weapons for that reason, right? You do understand that needing a repair part for a training mission is an entirely different animal from just running out of bullets? You do understand that having 15 men shipped to Iraq rather than Afghanistan has no effect on a parts requisition?

In other words, Obama took an allegedly true story and totally fabricated all the important points he was trying to make out of it.

The Red Sox Republican: Burkeanism, Baseball, and Sundries.

telling other clueless people how the military works.

We are just lucky that in the story Haliburton didn't make an appearance, all the men sent to iraq weren't illegal aliens, and last they werent sacrificed so their blood could fertilize an oil well.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

to make Obama's story a complete lie.

...carefully documented in the military. Somewhere, there are receipts for all the arms and ammunition the unit received, whether in training, or at a forward operating base.

As the Platoon Leader, his signature is probably on quite a few of them.

Don't be surprised if the Pentagon releases copies of those receipts in the coming days.

The caliber's at question are 5.56 mm (or .223, as it is known here), and .50. There is no shortage in the military of either caliber.

In regards to the .50, I am not sure that the .50 is even in the TOE for a light infantry platoon, so that may explain why there wouldn't be a part (if it isn't in the TOE, they scavenged it from another unit, and put it to use - which means parts for that weapon wouldn't be in the supply chain for the light infantry platoon).

Oh MSNBC is not one unbiased network LOL

Disclaimer: I spent a measly five years in the US Army. I've been out for almost twenty years. I never saw combat. I was not combat arms.

The clip shows Senator Obama, in about ten seconds, getting so much so wrong about US Army organization and doctrine that it's hard for anyone with any experience in these matters to respond to this without foaming at the mouth.

If you are active, a vet, or a military spouse/brat, please consider that what's driving you nuts about this is that this clown who thinks himself qualified to be CinC is more clueless about the military than even Hollywood. Forgetting whether it should drive you nuts, please take deep breaths and count slowly to ten before discussing this topic with anyone lacking experience to recognize this story as the steaming pile of bogusness that it is.

Don't let spittle fly. Don't go red in the face. I suspect the next stage of Obamania is going to be goading somebody into serving-up a well deserved fist sandwich for rolling cellphone cams and riding the "martyrdom" to fame.

are never elected President. Carter and Clinton ran to the right. The leftist cocooned and media fooled Obama runs to the left. He will lose.

Bill Clinton was from the South, ie he was smarter.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer

So, which is your problem: reading or comprehension? Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B?

...with simply admitting that your guy messed up the story?

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!


Vista really sucks!

“One element in the strength of any government is the patriotism of the people, their love for its institutions, their pride for its name and achievements.” ~ William McKinley

Mike "Gamecock" DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson

Senator Warner has challenged Sen. Obama to present supporting evidence to the Senate Armed Services Committee defending those outrageous statements.

"...depending of course, on the accuracy of the facts."


“Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so.” – Ronald Reagan

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