There’s nothing worse than attempting to ridicule a critic by offering a ridiculous — and easily checked — assertion. Recall this moment from the final debate, when our current Commander-in-Chief lectured his opponent on the modern American military?
You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
Actually, submariners call those boats, Mr. President. Ships that go underwater are called sunk. But that’s merely a technicality. On bayonets, Barack Obama had no idea at all that those are still standard issue in the Marine Corps — and that we have a lot more Marines now than we did in 1916:
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. military has at least 600,000 bayonets in stock and plans to acquire 175,000 more.
Given that there were about 200,000 men in the Army and National Guard in 1916, according to National Review, that would mean that there are three times as many bayonets today and probably will be at least four times as many than before World War I.
According to the website marines.com, every Marine receives bayonet training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and on the Bayonet Assault Course in Recruit Training. The bayonet makes a rifle ”just as effective in close combat situations,” according to the website.
That’s the kind of thing that one might expect someone who spent the last four years as C-in-C to know, even without trying to puff himself up as a military expert. Only amateurs would make this kind of mistake, and on the biggest stage of them all, no less, in what was clearly a pre-planned attack line. Didn’t Obama and his team even bother to check with their own people at the Pentagon before deploying this in the debate? Apparently, Obama’s just as talented at research as he is at military expertise.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!