The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

There's a story breaking on MSNBC.com which describes the Pentagon's refutation of Obama's claim in the debate last night that a solider who has served in Afghanistan did not have enough ammunition or vehicles:

The Pentagon on Friday tried to cast doubt on an account of military equipment shortages mentioned by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, whose campaign team stood by the story.

In a debate with rival Hillary Clinton on Thursday evening, Obama said he had heard from an Army captain who served in Afghanistan and whose unit did not have 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 Bush.

"Pentagon questions Obama's soldier story," MSNBC.com, Friday, February 22, 2008

The media's love affair with Obama is at an end.

It was bound to happen. Quite frankly, I am surprised it is happening in the small window of time Clinton has left to save her candidacy. But the fact that it is happening, and the fact that there is no quick rebuttal from Obama's camp indicates that the fury and the pace of presidential politics is too much for the heretofore untested Obama PR machine. This machine is untested in that it does not know what it means to be attacked from all sides. This machine knows grassroots politics only. It does not know how to fight conservatism in all its forms, whether it be in the objective guise of the mainstream media or the cloak-and-dagger, down-and-dirty, rough-and-tumble nastiness of the Republican attack machine.

Senator Warner, the Republicans' foremost voice on all matters military, has already written Obama a letter asking for clarification of "the essential facts" and said that Obama's recounting represented "a disturbing framework of factual allegations." So basically, Warner is saying that Obama deftly strings together facts that are unrelated in the hopes of proving an overall, preconceived point. While there may be no doubt that our military has not been entirely prepared in every aspect for major wars in two separate theaters, Obama has blown up an anecdotal aside into a talking point for the major, if not singular, pillar of his campaign platform, disdain for the Iraq War. What he managed to do in this instance, however, is confuse and conflate our activities in Afghanistan with Iraq and prove his own opportunistic ambition in seizing on important issues without putting them in a proper context.

Clinton has continually, whether it's been the scandal at Walter Reed, the lack of Humvees and body armor, or the deployment of the Coast Guard and army personnel on multiple tours of duty, defended the integrity of our military while at the same time attacking the management of our armed services in the person of George W. Bush. Obama has seen fit to attack Clinton by questioning her judgment in authorizing George Bush to wage war in the first place, when it was actually the intention of Congress to let Hans Blix and the weapons inspectors complete their work and put the necessary pressure on Saddam not to go forward with any weapons programs. All of this, however, has been elided by the all-important framework of "Iraq is bad," which is far easier to sloganize (a new word of mine), package and deliver than Clinton's nuanced, balanced yet torturous defense of her original vote. It is far easier to play that camcorder home video of Obama standing in proud defense of his anti-war tendencies back in 2002.

If this nomination has come down to sound bites, which it has, then I think Obama obviously bit off more than he could chew last night with a claim which basically says that because the soldiers couldn't get a replacement part fast enough that somehow they were forced to use one from the Taliban. What is not explained is how quickly the soldiers needed the part or if they could have waited an extra few minutes for their turret machine gun to be repaired. What is also not explained is if the soldiers were in mortal combat at the time of the repair or if they were out of harm's way and just got impatient.

It seems that Obama's campaign, which has relied on idealism, is now having to deal with actual facts and is proving incompatible with reality.

Tags: Barack Obama (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

You did see that the story largely checks out, right?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23301273/

<<Captain: Training shortages<br> 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.

He did not say that any of the shortages contributed to any combat casualties in his unit. But he said any shortage, whether in training or combat operations, was inexcusable for the U.S. military.

Obama said the captain had served as the head of a rifle platoon, which should have had 39 members -- but 15 had been sent to Iraq so the unit deployed to Afghanistan had only 24 soldiers.

Obama's campaign said an ABC News interview with the captain confirmed the story. ABC said the officer was a lieutenant when he led a platoon to Afghanistan in 2003. Fifteen soldiers were reassigned to other units in ones and twos and not replaced before the unit deployed, ABC cited the captain as saying. He knew 10 had gone to Iraq, and suspected the other five had too, ABC said.>>

by bigdcdem 2008-02-22 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

The story was largely MISLEADING, DISTORTED, BUSHIAN.  That doesn't bother you?

by Sensible 2008-02-22 08:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

Talk about taking the smallest shred of evidence of something and running with it.

by dmc2 2008-02-22 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

Obama did not talk about it being "training" he used it as though they were on the battlefield. That's the difference... for heaven's sake, if you're going to make some grand statement, at least get it straight. He made it sound like he had a person conversation with the Captain, which it doesn't look he did -- he talked to a staffer.  perhaps the Captain did not appreciate being used as a campaign tool on national tv.  Frankly, it seems like Obama's campaign really is out of touch with the military and their families.  

If anything I'd think the Weather Underground story will get a lot more traction with the media soon.  There's just all these things floating around in the background with Obama, and the media is finally waking up to them. Nice that they've been languishing in the glow of Obama's specialness, but I'd really rather not have a candidate torn to shreds when it comes time to face the media's true love: Any republican in the General Election. Let's get this stuff out in the open NOW, vett him now.. do your jobs now.

I think that either Obama's supporters are too young, or too enthusiastic, to remember that the MSM does the same thing every time. They play hardball with certain primary candidates, they play favorites with a few others. Then, when the GE comes along, they turn on their Democratic love object, and leave them in the dust, in favor of their real goal. The republican. Anyone can tell you this is what happened to Dean and Edwards last time, and then to Kerry.

Think the MSM is genuinely in love with Obama. As IF.

by Catriley sez 2008-02-22 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

I don't believe you're providing accurate information.  Where in the debate transcript do you see Obama making a distinction between combat vs. training?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/21/d ebate.transcript/index.html

<<<  OBAMA: But it also means using our military wisely. And on what I believe was the single most important foreign policy decision of this generation, whether or not to go to war in Iraq, I believe I showed the judgment of a commander in chief. And I think that Senator Clinton was wrong in her judgments on that.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, that has consequences -- that has significant consequences, because it has diverted attention from Afghanistan where al Qaeda, that killed 3,000 Americans, are stronger now than at any time since 2001.

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.

OBAMA: 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. And you know, the question is, on the critical issues that we face right now, who's going to show the judgment to lead? And I think that on every critical issue that we've seen in foreign policy over the last several years -- going into Iraq originally, I didn't just oppose it for the sake of opposing it.

I said this is going to distract us from Afghanistan; this is going to fan the flames of anti-American sentiment; it's going to cost us billions of dollars and thousands of lives and overstretch our military. And I was right.

On the question of Pakistan, which Senator Clinton just raised -- we just had an election there. But I've said very clearly that we have put all our eggs in the Musharraf basket. That was a mistake. We should be going after al Qaeda and making sure that Pakistan is serious about hunting down terrorists, as well as expanding democracy. And I was right about that.

On the issues that have come up that a commander in chief is going to have to make decisions on, I have shown the judgment to lead. That is the leadership that I want to show when I'm president of the United States. >>>

by bigdcdem 2008-02-22 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

And I'll take a candidate with 8 years on the Armed Services Committee to be Commander in Chief, in a heartbeat. Talk about knowing the crucial military issues.  

by Catriley sez 2008-02-22 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

Not sure what this has to do with my post that you're replying to.

by bigdcdem 2008-02-22 07:21PM | 0 recs
Obama sayin combate vs training

Well, if you say weapons they captured it implies combat.

by del 2008-02-23 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

The point is he DIDN'T specify that it was for training purposes, because his writers (kennedy's guy) KNEW it sounded worse.  Frankly, it was deliberate. Otherwise, he would not have used it as an example.  It's a lie of ommission.  And it was done for effect...  

by Catriley sez 2008-02-22 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The Denouement of the MSM's Crush

If you find evidence of their intent, let me know.  Otherwise, you're simply speculating.  He did not say whether it was combat or training at the debate.  

by bigdcdem 2008-02-22 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Grasping at straws

Comparing your candidate to Ronald Reagan does not make him any more electable.

In fact, it's not teflon, it's deception.

by HillaryKnight08 2008-02-22 07:35PM | 0 recs

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