ABC interviews Obama’s Army source for last night’s ammo shortage claim; Update: AP “fact checks”

posted at 3:05 pm on February 22, 2008 by Allahpundit

An answer to the question of why Hillary hasn’t gone after him over it: Because, like me, she’s heard enough old stories of troops being underequipped not to doubt any new ones too strenuously. Even the Pentagon is skeptical but Jake Tapper was put in contact with the captain by Obama’s campaign and corroborated most of the details with him. The guy commanded the platoon back when he was a lieutenant, which explains the odd incongruence between rank and unit; the ammo shortages were related to grenade launchers and to .50 caliber machine guns, although only during training (problems with finding replacement parts for the weapons persisted into the theater); and they were short on humvees from day one and sometimes had to rely on pick-up trucks.

As for the Messiah’s essential claim that “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,” that’s a little more nuanced:

“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.

Stuart Koehl acknowledged this morning that troops do, as they always have, occasionally scrounge for weapons when they’re in a spot but mooching off the enemy isn’t regular practice, and even Obama’s source doesn’t suggest that it was. We’ll chalk up the exaggeration to, shall we say, audacity.

Milbloggers, everything squared away here?

Update: I was going to let this go since Tapper did good work in following up on the story but his snide “tsk tsk, right-wing bloggers” outro warrants some static. Like Rusty says, what does this mean?

I find that Obama’s anecdote checks out.

Well, except for that very minor detail about them not actually having to capture Taliban weapons to fight, okay. But how does it “check out” merely because Obama’s source for these explosive charges is willing to repeat them to a reporter? If you’re willing to take the guy at his word, fine, but the Times applied this same standard of “checking” to the McCain/Iseman rumors. How’d that work out for them?

Update: Ah, and here’s Yglesias in Greenwald mode, not paying attention to what the right-wingers he links actually write lest it complicate the narrative. I made a point of saying last night that the story could be true; troops are in fact underequipped. The Yglesias reimagining:

Basically, as you can see if you check the conservative blogs above, that story can’t possibly be true, and the fact that Obama would say it reflects either his dishonesty or else his gross ignorance of military matters.

No surprise: If he’s willing to gloss over the fact that Tapper’s source didn’t corroborate Obama’s basic claim, he’s willing to gloss over whatever else. Beauchamp redux, like the man says.

Update: The AP notices a detail that eluded Tapper and Yglesias:

He underscored his point in the Democratic debate Thursday by telling a story about a rifle platoon in Afghanistan that allegedly didn’t have enough soldiers or weapons to do its job, leaving the platoon to scrounge for weapons from the Taliban…

The captain said [to ABC], 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.

I didn’t know this either:

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.

Update: Never mind Tapper’s piece; read this illuminating post by Phil Carter instead, which does actually involve “checking out” details from beyond the source himself. Carter says he has in fact heard of guys using Taliban weapons because they can’t get parts for theirs and asserts that it’s a result of resources being diverted to Iraq, although it’s unclear how widespread the practice is and to what extent it would be happening anyway due to standard military inefficiency. As Carter says, “These stories are timeless; you’ll see similar ones in the narratives from WWII, Korea and Vietnam vets too. Anyone who’s dealt with the Army supply system – particularly at the pointy end of the spear – ought to be able to sympathize.”

Update: Vets for Freedom, which is sort of the hawkish counterpart to VoteVets, just issued a press release challenging Obama. I’m dreading this turning into another Beauchamp saga, I don’t mind telling you.

Update: I should note that Phil Carter is doing some work for the Obama campaign.

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Looks like a friggin UFO sneaking up on him… lol.

johnnyU on February 22, 2008 at 8:08 PM

ROFLMAO! It does look similar to that UFO video that was posted here a while back. The one flying over the palm trees! It was real and it’s for Obama!

TheBigOldDog on February 22, 2008 at 9:29 PM

M9 Beretta broke; the armorer could neither fix it, nor figure out how to replace a reserve-component weapon

Could someone clue me in to what is the standard issue sidearm for active duty soldiers, if it is not the M9 Beretta.

BohicaTwentyTwo on February 22, 2008 at 9:31 PM

Just now, on FOXNews’ Hannity & Colmes…

To Alan Colmes, when he thought the cameras were off:

“I’m tellin’ you, this guy (obama) is full of sh!t”
–Ollie North


franksalterego on February 22, 2008 at 9:32 PM

This probably isn’t a big deal to anyone else, but I feel queasy when I see “the Messiah” when referring to Obama. Yeah, I know it’s satire and all that, but I have to say I wince when I see it.

Rightwingsparkle on February 22, 2008 at 9:37 PM

sometimes had to rely on pick-up trucks.

In some areas they rely on pickup trucks BECAUSE there are areas in which the hummers can not go and will not fit.

Hubs patrolled the Paki border for a year, the “roads” in the mountains are dry creeks and riverbeds. Boulders, cliffs, walled canyons. They took trucks into areas where they couldn’t go with the hummers.

Allah, you want pictures, I got pictures.

I’m not saying everything there was peaches and cream, cuz it wasn’t. But when there were supply/mail issues it was because of weather conditions – everything came in and out by CH47’s

It didn’t have to do with friggin’ shortages or having to scavange, it had to do with friggin weather keeping the choppers on the ground.

Tink on February 22, 2008 at 9:42 PM

crud, that didn’t quote right.

Tink on February 22, 2008 at 9:44 PM

Yanno what really ticks me off about all of this?

Look, things in the military will never be perfect. It’s a huge friggin’ bureaucracy – paper upon paper, red tape upon red tape.


It sickens me to hear these people screaming about “shortages” during this administration.

Where the heck were they during the Clinton administration? They sure as heck didn’t give a damn then.

Hubs has served under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush. You want to talk about horrid shortages, scrounging for weapons and ammo, horrid pay, horrid housing and medical care then lets talk about the Clinton administration and how the military was treated during that 8 years.

We were the red headed step child – treated like garbage, supplied like second or third class citizens.

When Bush came into office, it was like friggin’ Christmas. Pay was brought back up to levels that fell more in line with the general public. The falling apart equipment began to be replaced..etc.

People wonder why I get so friggin angry when people talk about staying home during this next election. I’ll be honest, I don’t give a dang about the “party” – I do give a dang that my husband and his brothers may be serving during a WAR under a party who has treated them like crap in the past and has done NOTHING to show that they won’t continue to treat them like worthless crap while they’re being friggin shot at and blown up in the future.

YES! I have an ulterior motive. I want my husband to have the best possible chance to come home from his next deployment ALIVE.

I don’t like or trust ANY politician, but historically, in our experience, the Republican party has taken better care of the military than the Democrats have.

Some of you people talk a great game – how much you care about and support the troops, but when push comes to shove, where will you be? Still talking or actually doing something about it?

Tink on February 22, 2008 at 10:08 PM

The point is not that Obama is lying

No, he was lying. He is a leftist with an ideology that cannot stand up to reality and history. Therefore he lies like the rest of them. I don’t know that website and maybe they are liberals but I am so sick and tired of mealy mouthed self proclaimed conservatives not taking the fight to the leftists who want to destroy our country. Bill bennett spent the weak making excuses for michelle and her pretty boy husband instead of hammering them like they deserved. laura Ingraham has all but endorsed barry, she sounds like she, not chris matthews, gets tingles up her leg when he speaks. Who would have thought that a rino like Warner would be the one to tell barry to put up or shut up.

peacenprosperity on February 22, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Pickups? damn, they get to ride?

I bet you’re all shocked to sheep dip.

Obama is a maroon. Any astute politician would check out a BS story like that before using it.

He’s not happy now, I guarantee.

dogsoldier on February 22, 2008 at 10:13 PM

Any astute politician would check out a BS story like that before using it.

He’s not happy now, I guarantee.

His devotees are not reading conservative blogs, he could care less. Do you think the ny times will have this on their front page on Monday? The only way this makes the times is if they say it is fully substatntiated and look at the nut conservative internet.

peacenprosperity on February 22, 2008 at 10:16 PM

barry has no accomplishments, no experience. All he has is an ability to speak well. Now there is proof that alot of the words he speaks aren’t even his and he is a liar also. Monday morning every conservative news and information outlet should be screaming that information. if they aren’t I swear it proves that the political class, right and left, is all in it together pulling the wool over our eyes.

peacenprosperity on February 22, 2008 at 10:22 PM

They can try to sell this empty suit through the entire Spring, Summer and Fall, but that would be an achievement of monumental proportion.

There’s a long time between now and November. I say the higher he goes now, the harder he falls later.


Saltysam on February 22, 2008 at 11:08 PM

God this is a tired old argument. Personally I wish they would take some of the gear back, it’s very heavy after awhile. Everytime I turn around there is a new widget we have to waste time training on instead of operating. Gucci gear is only cool for awhile. Mostly it just gets tossed back in the pack when you get a chance. You don’t use foreign weapons because they don’t take very good care of them. Any Soldier/Sailor/Airmen/Marine who bets his life on an Afghani Ak is an idiot. Also AK-‘s, although historically reliable, aren’t very accurate compared to an M-4 or M-16A4. In fact two Marines from my company took out (killed) an enemy mortar team (3 of them) from 600 meters with an M-4 (which is a carbine for peets sake). You could not do this with a spray and pray AK. I would bet my life on our weapons, oh wait, don’t need, to I have! This is either a fabrication, or a piss poor unit. I’m to understand an armorer could not fix a piece of crap Berretta? A freakin pistol? Is he still the same rank? I hope not. Maintenance management still needs to be conducted on the front lines, leaders who do not understand how to get things done, should not be leaders. Period. Oh by the way I was in Afghanistan during this same time period out in the middle of nowhere far far away from Kabul or Kandahar, and I had plenty of Ammo and weapons. Semper Fi!

gator70 on February 22, 2008 at 11:33 PM

Methinks military supply bureaucracy might be a shade older than the GWoT.

Yes. That’s what I was attempting to say.

joewm315 on February 22, 2008 at 11:45 PM

It sickens me to hear these people screaming about “shortages” during this administration.

Where the heck were they during the Clinton administration? They sure as heck didn’t give a damn then.
Tink on February 22, 2008 at 10:08 PM

Well, you can ask Misses Clinton and Senator McCain and oh..yeah Senator Warner… they were there :-) (and I was in the Army at that time and KNOW why we stifed…but then we started getting shortchanged at the end of Reagan and all through Bush, so…it’s an ongoing problemo). ;-)

TOPV on February 22, 2008 at 11:54 PM

Hey Allah or Bryan,

Senator Warner is asking for th transcripts of that night.

Gateway pundit has the PDF of Senator Warner’s request. Looks like they are going to investigate.

upinak on February 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

And BTW Allah, Vets for Freedoom is exactly what they say, with a twist. But you do not have to be a Vet to be in this organization. They go to highschools (Here where I live they do) and are anti-military and tell the kids not to join and that the recruiters are lying to them, etc. Not quite Code Puke, but when they do that it certainly makes me mad.

upinak on February 23, 2008 at 12:08 AM

This kind of “experience” is why the Republican party is officially done (they aren’t distinguishable from the liberals except for who gets the welfare checks):

“Prodded in part by some of the nation’s biggest banks, the Bush administration and Congress are considering costly new proposals for the government to rescue hundreds of thousands of homeowners whose mortgages are higher than the value of their houses.”

With this kind of experience who needs a CinC or a military? We won’t because we won’t be able to afford them. The only good thing might be that the story came from the NYT (who knows who they are trying to benefit today with it…I’m sure someone will send a donation request email because of it).

TOPV on February 23, 2008 at 12:11 AM

Oh my God- I just had a flashback. Ten years ago when I was a LAMPS pilot on board USS OLDENDORF (DD 962) during DESERT FOX, I couldn’t get a spare radar for my helicopter and I was one Electronics Technician (AT) and one pilot short for long periods of time. Oh my God. Bill Clinton couldn’t get those parts or people to me when I was in the middle of the North Arabian Sea. NOW I know why I voted for GW. Clinton couldn’t get me the parts. Makes PERFECT sense now. Bill, oh Bill, why couldn’t you have gotten me the parts so I could have a reason to vote for Algore?

rotorhead on February 23, 2008 at 3:26 AM

upinak at 12:08 am:

I really hope and trust you’ve just mis-typed in the wrong Vet org name, and not wrongfully confused the very patriotic VETS FOR FREEDOM guys (“”) with the VOTEVETS tools.

And Allah, I’m glad you remembered to qualify your reference to Phil Carter with the caution that he is a Messiah Disciple, and well on his way to becoming a classic Dhimmicrat (with political ambitions of his own in La-La-Land).

Mojamaiko on February 23, 2008 at 3:47 AM

I think we need to reinstitute poll restrictions, like those security questions when you try to do online banking? If you vote for, say, Obama, a question about his platform pops up, and if you don’t get it right your vote is deleted.

There are simply too many stupid people involved in this election cycle.

Jaibones on February 23, 2008 at 8:19 AM

So…is Obama’s point of complaint, that our troops allegedly had to scrounge for weapons, going to be rectified by President Obama fully funding the Military? What? No? Just retreat out of harm’s way? Slash the Military budget and call the money saved a Peace Dividend?
Hey Obama: “Bring the troops home” to do what? What will the troops do here while we are in the middle of a war? Train for surrender? White flag practice drills?
I guess the upside is that Obama would have at least one accomplishment under his best so that his defenders would have something to point to.

Doug on February 23, 2008 at 8:20 AM

A question on the timing. Is it possible that Obama was not the “intended” recipient of this info, merely whoever became the leading dummy-spitter in this election cycle? Did Obama say that he had this info in his possession for five years or so?

OldEnglish on February 23, 2008 at 8:53 AM

There are simply too many stupid people involved in this election cycle.

Jaibones on February 23, 2008 at 8:19 AM

He has certainly been offering up some gems of statements we can expect to see in the campaign ads during the general election.

Bradky on February 23, 2008 at 9:00 AM

When the non-working figure out that they can vote themselves the spoils of our labor, our country and way of life is doomed. I think that we have basically reached that tipping point. I am not sure what Reagan was thinking, but between him and the libtards, they have pretty much given the country to those too stupid or too lazy to get a job.

rgranger on February 23, 2008 at 9:14 AM

What will the troops do here while we are in the middle of a war?

Confiscate citizens guns, keep order in the food lines and run the trains to the reeducation camps.

peacenprosperity on February 23, 2008 at 9:51 AM

This issue here is not whether Obama lied/stretched the truth or otherwise. Obama used the classic “tell the right amount of truth and then shut up”. Progressives (I hate their usurpation of that term) can use this as an example of “standing up for the troops”. I see it as another example of BDS and hypocrisy on the Clinton legacy.

Croy_P on February 23, 2008 at 10:44 AM

BHO says he has info that proves that Bush is failing the troops and endangering them with poor planning and inadequate support. Then he sits on this info until something at a debate reminds him of it. So he mentions it an off hand way and then goes on with his life. So a senator and self-proclailmed leader doesn’t care enough about our soldiers to try and right this wrong. The message here is that BHO really doesn’t give a f**k about the troops and God help them if he’s elected. I think that if he has info that affects the safety of our fighting men and women and he does nothing with the info but use it to advance his own career then the senate ethics committee should look into sanctioning him (fat chance). But I tend to over react to things like this. Then again maybe we could find out if AQ gives medals for such behavior and get him one.

snaggletoothie on February 23, 2008 at 10:44 AM

It sickens me to hear these people screaming about “shortages” during this administration.

Amen. During the Billy Jeff years, we were always in short supply, and this was while they were closing bases and offering up early retirement to all the veteran NCOs.

We’d be stuck in the barracks during training cycles because we had no funding, no gas for humvees, no MREs, no blank ammo.

And don’t get me started on weapons, one of the most frustrating jobs I ever had was that of company armorer. Good luck trying to get a weapon fixed in a timely manner. If I didn’t have the parts stashed away somewhere, forget about it. An infantry company with only 3 working M60s….

reaganaut on February 23, 2008 at 11:13 AM

It’s simply astounding that Obama gives ludicrous reasons for us to withdraw from a war in which we’re trying desperately to keep these idealogical maniacs from attacking us again on our own soil. And while everyone quibbles about the details, Iran is not so quietly going about constructing a nuclear bomb.
My question, is Obama on their side? Seriously.

4shoes on February 23, 2008 at 11:57 AM

ROFLMAO! It does look similar to that UFO video that was posted here a while back. The one flying over the palm trees! It was real and it’s for Obama!

TheBigOldDog on February 22, 2008 at 9:29 PM

And it’s in Mace Windu purple, too.

James on February 23, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Could someone clue me in to what is the standard issue sidearm for active duty soldiers, if it is not the M9 Beretta.

BohicaTwentyTwo on February 22, 2008 at 9:31 PM

Oh yeah– from Wikipedia–The M9 handgun, formally Pistol, Semiautomatic, 9mm, M9, is a 9x19mm Parabellum pistol of the U.S. military adopted in the 1980s. It is essentially a mil-spec Beretta 92F, later the 92FS.

It won a competition in the 1980s to replace the M1911A1 as the primary handgun of U.S. armed forces, beating out many other contenders. Some other models have been adopted to a lesser extent (namely the M11 Pistol), and older, or different, models remain in use in certain niches. It officially entered Army service in 1990 according to the official Army website. It was scheduled to be replaced under an Army program, the Future Handgun System (FHS), which was merged with the SOF Combat Pistol program to create the Joint Combat Pistol (JCP). In early 2006, the JCP was renamed Combat Pistol (CP), and the number of pistols to be bought was drastically cut back.

The M9 has been modified as the M9A1, adding, among other things, a tactical rail for the attachment of lights, lasers, and other accessories to the weapon. The U.S. Marines have ordered large numbers of M9A1 pistols in the last year. Additionally, a contract for 70,000 M9 pistols was signed in 2006 by the U.S. military.

doufree on February 23, 2008 at 6:04 PM

I’d like to bring my comments over from the other thread, identical subject:

You float a story like this… Can of Worms doesn’t cover it adequately.

The joint Cheifs will question that captain. Then they will review the unit’s log books, message traffic, e-mail, and after action reports. The unit’s CO and staff will be called in, as well.

I’m willing to bet that the Captain will admit that it was false, ir distorted.

And Obama? Intentionally Deceptive. This may be the end of his political career.

Mazztek on February 22, 2008 at 9:42 PM

peacenprosperity You see, a lie implies that he did something and got caught. Timmy eats cookies before dinner. Mom asks, “Did you have a snack?” Timmy then says, “Nooo.” Meanwhile, Mom sees the crumbs on his shirt and chocolate smear in his mouth.

Obama took that situation, from 5 years ago, provided a bare crumb of a fact, if it was a fact at all, and made it look like Bush took troops and ammo away from our troops and sent them to combat anyway. The situation he referred to was very different.

Today, you have to have your head firmly up your ass to not know anything about the military. And, as a SENATOR, he has or had access to reports from the military to have at least a hazy knowlege of the situation in Afghanistan. And ESPECIALLY if you are running for president, I’d hope you bome up. Now, maybe I’m giving him too much credit. But I would really like to think that he would have some military knowlege, especially when running for president while we are at WAR.

So, when I say “intentionally deceptive”, He knew about the situation, and presented something that would draw you to a total opposite conclusion, so he could bash Bush.

And if I’m polite, it’s because I would like to think I ma far above the Chi Hil Dish libz and dimocraps.

Mazztek on February 22, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Someone mentioned to me, “Why would Obama listen to the military? His leadershit, Reid and Pelosi, are usually convienently elsewhere when Gen. Patreus gives his briefings.”

Mazztek on February 23, 2008 at 6:49 PM

doufree on February 23, 2008 at 6:04 PM

That’s what I thought. Maybe I was reading into what this other officer was saying, but he made it seem like his armorer couldn’t get repair parts for his obsolete “reserve component weapon” when in fact he’s using the same side arm everyone else is using.

Mazztek on February 23, 2008 at 6:49 PM

I’ll offer up another, equally unimpressive scenario. Either Obama told a story he knew was five years old, or he is so ignorant of the current military situation he thought this story was describing how things are right now in Afganistan. Early 2003, heck, I think the SF guys were still riding horses at that time.

BohicaTwentyTwo on February 23, 2008 at 8:17 PM

Bohica — And they were looking for me to volunteer because I can ride horses!! All that time in summer camp almost paid off! I almost completely forgot about that.

— Ssgt, USMC-R

Mazztek on February 23, 2008 at 8:25 PM

My uncle went on patrol in Korea without a weapon.

tomas on February 23, 2008 at 8:44 PM

Anyone watching Saturday Night Live skewer the media for their Obama obsession. It’s really pretty funny.

SouthernGent on February 23, 2008 at 11:36 PM

I think my only shot at sanity this election cycle is to completely ignore it. It’s a Democrat vs a Marxist this time around.

Mojave Mark on February 24, 2008 at 12:17 AM

Nothing wrong with using enemy equipment, AKs are good weapons. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and reduce our federal deficit a bit.

greenLibertarian on February 24, 2008 at 8:03 PM

The key to this story is that Obama very carefully implied things that are contrary to reality in his comments, using ‘facts’. It is true that this captain had issues – of course they were in 2003, not today. His squad had shortages of ammo – while training in the continental US, not in the theater of operations. They were indeed picking up enemy weapons – but not because they didn’t have their own weapons. See how cleverly Obama takes these ‘facts’ and creates a totally different story. He could give Uncle Billy lessons on slick.

Think_b4_speaking on February 25, 2008 at 10:41 AM

I was watching Hannity and Dunce Friday and the Dunce was hammering Jonah Goldberg about the lack of ammunition and body armor. Then he was waxing on about not enough troops. I find this amazing, the left can, in the same sentence, claim we sent our troops in without enough equipment then whine we should have sent more troops. Wouldn’t that mean having even more troops in battle unequipt?

TitanTrader on February 25, 2008 at 11:09 AM

In my twenty years in the Navy, there was never as much spare parts, flight hours, etc. as would have been optimum during the time in between deployments. Then availability would increase noticeably for the units getting ready to deploy, so that we were “up-to-speed” when the deployment started. I am sure that the situation is similar in the other services.

exhelodrvr on February 25, 2008 at 12:29 PM

My friend BoB was a cav. scout in Afganistan with the 10th Mountain. They used what every vehicle the fit the requirements of their assignments. Hummers, pickup trucks, ATVs, mules, and horses. He hated the mules. His unit (371st) never has ammo shortages, even in training.

David on February 25, 2008 at 3:32 PM

I never had any supply issues in Afghanistan – except for one issue – I couldn’t wear half of the articles I was issued (but that was hardly nothing new, gotta stay in uniform), including the infamous black fleece (you paratroopers from the 82nd know what I’m talking about)…I still remember hearing the word from higher that we couldn’t wear the black fleece (that was on the packing list), and seeing the big photo plastered around Bagram showing Gen. Tommy Franks wearing his at Crawford, TX, and the Battalion CSM wearing his around the fire while our platoon pulled security during a 5 day patrol just outside of Khowst, inside an old opium farm (guarded with huge walls…but I’m not bitter about it…

As for ammo or weapons, never had any problems getting that…

charlie36r on February 26, 2008 at 3:18 PM