23 February 2008

My Take on Obama-Platoon-Gate

All Hail the Future Commander-in-Chief

Meet Daniel Kingery. He's running a 2008 presidential campaign out of his '86 Crown Vic, thereby earning a lot of respect for his gumption and providing a humble view of America's future, instead of more hubris mixed with ignorance. More importantly, this allows me to be free of the partisan shackles of endlessly apologizing for a political party on this blog, rather than attempting an objective analysis. One issue I would like to discuss is this recent ruckus about Obama, a CPT in Afghanistan, and the tie-in to Iraq.
During a recent debate with Hillary, Sen. Obama mentioned that he received notice of a Captain who was ill-equipped to fight the war in Afghanistan:

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.
Matthew Yglesias says that the story is true, despite skeptics from numerous conservative outlets like Weekly Standard. I'm a little concerned since the whole issue might turn into some sort of "phony soldier" type inquiry, which ultimately denigrates the political awakening of OIF/OEF vets. One thing the blogosphere hasn't come to grips with is that people in the military aren't unilateral in their political opinions like some Smurf village. Rather, you will see a variety of different commentary. Allow me to illustrate by opposing a dichotomy of views:
Criticism of left-leaning pundits: Certainly there has been equipment shortages in Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush administration. But there has also been a lack of resources for probably every other soldier in every major conflict as Thus Spake Ortner at The Sniper mentions. However, it's not like the US Army is as ill-equipped as the Soviet Army during the Siege of Stalingrad. I hold the equivalent rank to a CPT in the Army, and I could easily make some off-hand comment to Sen. Obama's staff about being over-equipped. Case and point being the lousy 9mm that I have to schlepp around that was issued to me by the Army at FT. Jackson. As a Naval officer, I am a horrendous marksman, and also I certainly don't need it to perform my routine duties in Iraq of powerpoints, answering emails, and preparing briefs. A comment by a disgruntled officer like myself could provide some insight, but is not a basis to decide the entire US defense policy.
Criticism of right-leaning pundits: Please discontinue your belief that every member of the US military holds the same views as Rush Limbaugh. The presumption that everyone who isn't politically aligned with the neo-conservative world view must be "phony" or telling "bullshit" makes you look childish and emphasizes that you hold a weak argument. I can staple a DD 214 to my head when I'm out of uniform to appease you, but the CPT in question probably does have a legitamate gripe. The military IS stretched thin as thinking conservative Jules Crittenden mentions, and yes, that is the largely the fault of the Iraq war acrhitects who thought this thing would be over in a short period of time.
Just my .02, and vote Kingery for a brighter future. Uh, hopefully that prosperous future does not involve me being duct taped in the trunk of an '86 Crown Vic.


Anonymous said...

Ok, ok, I put down the roll of duct tape. Thank you, yes, there's more than one side -- the old "there's three sides to every story; yours, mine and the truth".

I wonder if there's enough knowledge out there to be dangerous -- as in, people that think they know and people that swear they know and then the "stories" of Iraq and Afg. It does get hard to stay objective -- for me, anyway.

LT Nixon said...


I found it easier to be a bit more objective if I take myself very unseriously.

Anonymous said...

well, I take you very unseriously, if that helps!

Wek said...

How can Kingery expect to become the President since he doesn't have a Flag lapel on his jacket?

LT Nixon said...


He has no lapel, but I bet he has one of those "Power of Pride" bumper stickers on his sweet Crown Vic.

Wek said...

...uh whoops. Meant to say "flag pin" not "flag lapel".

Jackie said...

Great post. I'm headed to BIAP tonight, Ali Al Salem tomorrow. R&R, here I come!

LT Nixon said...


You have to go through Ali Al-Salem, that place sucks. I almost froze to death in the tent since I didn't bring a blanket. Anyways, have fun on R&R, post some pics so we can all live vicariously. Safe travels!