Pentagon Questions Captain's Statement to Obama Campaign

Big Tent Democrat wrote yesterday about the controversy that's developed over Barack Obama's reference in the Texas debate to an army captain who told him or someone in his campaign that his unit in Afghanistan had to fight without proper equipment and training. ABC News spoke to the captain and said he confirmed Obama's account.

Now, the Pentagon is challenging it and Sen. John Warner, who chaired the Senate Armed Forces Committee when the captain was in Afghanistan, has asked Obama for details of the man's unit and when and where the alleged incidents happened. He intends to bring it up at a hearing next week.

What Obama said (from the debate transcript):


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.

NBC News also spoke to the captain Friday.

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.

While Obama didn't say the lack of equipment occurred during combat vs. training, I think he implied it by prefacing the story with a statement about 3,000 Americans being killed by al Qaeda, which is now stronger in Afghanistan.

Obama said the captain's unit lacked ammo and humvees. The captain says they didn't lack ammo once in Afghanistan, only during training.

Also, Obama never spoke directly with the Captain about the incident, he was repeating a story his staff had told him.

David Axelrod told the National Review's Stephen Spruiell, "that was a discussion that a captain in the military had with our staff, and he asked that that be passed along to Senator Obama."

Nor did Obama mention this occurred several years ago. (The captain, at that time, was a Lieutenant.)

In all, I think the differences are petty. What I question, is Obama use of this hearsay incident to argue he's ready to be commander in chief. Back to the transcript:

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.

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, as we all know, expressed his opposition to the war in 2002. What legislation has he introduced in his three years in the Senate to strengthen the ability of our troops fighting in Afghanistan, where he believes the fight should be taking place? Or any other topic related to the military?

Here's one from Hillary, in Feb. 2007, speaking on the floor of the Senate about a bill she was introducing:

Finally, I would prohibit any spending to increase troop levels unless, and until, the Secretary of Defense certifies that our American troops will have the proper training and equipment for whatever mission they are ordered to fulfill. Yesterday I read the classified report outlining the findings by the Department of Defense's Inspector General about the problems that have been faced by our troops getting the equipment they desperately need in combat areas like Iraq. The Inspector General did not have the full cooperation of the Department of Defense and it is heartbreaking that the Inspector General could conclude that the U.S. military still has failed to equip our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially for the kind of warfare that they are confronting with IEDs and insurgents who are attacking them in asymmetric, unconventional warfare.

This report comes on the heals of an article in The Washington Post last week entitled, "Equipment for Troops is Lacking: Troops Must Make Do, Officials say." The Washington Post story raised serious questions about the adequacy of the supply of up-armored humvees and trucks. One of our Generals is quoted as saying that he doesn't have the equipment that our forces need and they will have to go into battle with what they have.

On my way back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I stopped at Landstuhl Hospital in Germany to visit with some of our wounded soldiers. I met with one young man who was lying in his bed with his injuries that he had suffered from one of the shape charges, these new, more advanced, more sophisticated command-controlled IEDs, the Improvised Explosive Devices. He told me that the armored fully equipped humvee that saved his life and that of the life -- the lives of his buddies who were with him. But he also told me that not everybody that he served with had that kind of protection because there weren't enough of those armored vehicles to go around.

Madam President, I do not believe that the Congress can shirk its responsibility.

What has Obama done, legislatively or otherwise, that prepares him to be Commander in Chief?

Hillary has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and three of its subcommittees, Airland, Emerging Threats and Capabilities and Readiness and Management Support

She introduced a bill to enhance services available to members of the Armed Forces returning from deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to assist them in transitioning to civilian life.

She introduced a bill to prevent nuclear terrorism.

She co-sponsored the Standing With Our Troops Act of 2005 to increase authorized end strengths for the Army and Marine Corps. The bill also required the Secretary of Defense to publish a monthly accounting of military casualties incurred in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and any other operation undertaken under the Global War on Terrorism, among other things. Sen. Obama didn't sign as one of the 25 co-sponsors.

She co-sponsored the Targeting Terrorists More Effectively Act of 2005:

Targeting Terrorists More Effectively Act of 2005 - Sets forth provisions with respect to: (1) Army special operations forces increases; (2) increasing foreign language expertise in the United States for the purpose of improving national security; (3) preventing terrorist financing; (4) prohibiting transactions with countries that support terrorism; (5) preventing the growth of radical Islamic fundamentalism, and promoting democracy and development in the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia; (6) advancing U.S. interests through diplomacy; (7) the treatment of detainees, including establishment of a National Commission to Review Policy Regarding the Treatment of Detainees; (8) strategy for the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia; (9) non-proliferation programs, including Russian nuclear facilities and tactical nuclear weapons; (10) border protection, including border personnel increases; (11) seaport protection, including deployment of radiation detection portal equipment, tanker security, and acceleration of the Megaports Initiative; (12) first responders, including training for law enforcement personnel; and (13) prohibitions on war profiteering.

Sen. Obama was not one of the 12 co-sponsors.

She co-sponsored a bill to require that Homeland Security grants related to terrorism preparedness and prevention be awarded based strictly on an assessment of risk, threat, and vulnerabilities.

I don't mean to suggest this is all Hillary has done in this area. It's just a brief glance at her legislative record since 2005 when Obama became a Senator. Nor do I have any expertise on the military.

My question pertains to Barack Obama's readiness to serve as Commander in Chief. Again, what has he done, legislatively or otherwise, that shows his readiness to lead our country as Commander-in-Chief? Is it just that he expressed his opposition to the war back in 2002? I haven't researched his record. I'm hoping his supporters can enlighten us.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Great analysis Jeralyn (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by diplomatic on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 03:59:58 AM EST
    It is somewhat terrifying how close Obama is to getting this nomination without so many of these questions about his preparedness being answered.

    The primaries and the vetting process should continue until at least April 22nd.

    This is President of the United States we are talking about here folks, not the head of the local Bingo club.

    How we vote (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Lou Grinzo on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:40:50 AM EST
    I'm deeply worried that in a couple of election cycles many Americans are going from voting for the guy they'd like to have a beer with to the guy they'd like to invite to a dinner party.  Those approaches are equally bad, in my opinion.

    I'm most definitely not suggesting that President Obama would be anywhere near the train wreck that Bush has been, merely that we should know what we're getting, to at least some reasonable level of certainty, before we vote.


    well true, we don't know that obama would (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by hellothere on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:49:50 AM EST
    be a train wreck. but the fact is we don't know and the hero worship for an unfinished picture is very depressing to me. in the age of tv and computers, with so much info available, we have done nothing to but fail in the area of critical thinking. it reminds me of rome hate to say. obama has not been vetted. it wasn't demanded by the voters and the media certainly has failed.

    How about (none / 0) (#67)
    by andrewwm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:00:18 AM EST
    someone that:

    • opted out of the lucrative corporate track to work on progressive organizing
    • had a progressive record running the Harvard Law Journal
    • worked on thankless progressive goals in local neighborhoods in Chicago (in essence, he volunteered for the Siberia of progressive activist stations)
    • ran as and became a strong progressive advocate in the IL legislature
    • ran as and became a strong progressive advocate in the US Senate

    I'm fine with people thinking other candidates having better qualifications in some way (although I obviously disagree), but this idea that he's some kind of Manchurian candidate is silly.

    what exactly is it that you would like to know? (none / 0) (#41)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:20:20 AM EST
    First of all, I don't really think "legislation introduced in the Senate" is that useful a measure. I mean, it is fine and all, but it isn't really that different from reading policy papers on each campaign's web site. A much more interesting thing to look at, IMO, is legislation they have sponsored or cosponsored that has actually become law. Hilzoy has a long series of posts up (summarized here: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/02/dear-chris-matt.html) about Obama's (and Clinton's, in some of the linked posts) bills that have passed.

    Of note with respect to this Commander-in-Chief debate:
    -Obama has devoted considerable attention to arms control, both nuclear nonproliferation and securing stockpiles of conventional weapons.
    -Obama successfully fought to improve screening for brain injuries in returning vets
    -Obama passed a bill to increase foreign aid and refocus US priorities in the Congo
    -Obama passed legislation on pandemic preparedness with respect to avian flu

    Also, Obama opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which Clinton supported.

    Now, many of these are relatively small issues, but of course it has been quite difficult for Democrats to get anything much passed for a while. If that doesn't satisfy you, you can read his website (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/), which seems almost as relevant as legislation introduced but not acted on.

    It seems clear to me that Obama's major focus in the foreign policy arena is refocusing the US on diplomacy and international frameworks. He has repeatedly emphasized that he would be willing to meet with foreign leaders, even of enemy states, without requiring them to agree to our demands beforehand (although as he emphasized in the most recent debate, he obviously isn't going to meet with them unless they agree to discuss issues of concern to the US). He has said that, if he is the nominee, reengaging with the world on climate change will be a major initial priority. Arms control, based around international frameworks like the original Nunn-Lugar initiative, is obviously a priority of his. He opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which defined the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization, making it much easier for Bush and Cheney to start a war with Iran (which fortunately hasn't happened yet). Obama has constantly questioned not just the Iraq war itself, but the mindset that got us into that war.

    I'm not sure what more it is that you are looking for. I think that both these candidates would make incredible Presidents. Just because I support Obama doesn't mean I think Clinton would be a disaster, and I have to admit that I don't quite understand where the attitude among some Clinton supporters that Obama would be a disaster comes from.


    Hmm... (none / 0) (#55)
    by Lena on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:46:02 AM EST
    In support of Obama's qualifications to be c-in-c, you write:

    "-Obama successfully fought to improve screening for brain injuries in returning vets
    -Obama passed legislation on pandemic preparedness with respect to avian flu"

    Both things are laudable, but there's no way that these 2 items would convince me that this is preparation to be c-in-c....


    well, there are a bunch of other things (none / 0) (#63)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:53:55 AM EST
    in my post as well. Is everything else I mentioned not preparation to be c-in-c also?

    Plus, if bills that Hillary introduced to improve the transition of vets to civilian life count as qualifications to be c-in-c, surely bills Obama actually got passed that improve the conditions of returning vets count as well.


    Obama opposed Kyle-Lieberman bill . . . (none / 0) (#113)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:44:11 PM EST
    and how did he vote on it?

    An analogy (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:09:24 AM EST
    Obama opposed the war before Hillary did. Surely, something more is required to be Commander in Chief.  I doubt anyone, myself included, would think I'm qualified to be Attorney General even though I've spent decades opposing our policy of over-incarceration.

    Bad Analogy (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:26:08 AM EST
    You spent decades.

    Obama's criticism of invading Iraq lasted maybe a year.  And then it started back up again when he declared.

    For me the issue is interventionism.  I know where Clinton stands on it, and, while I agree with Clinton, I can respect why some will disagree.  They have a right to do so on their own terms without being disparaged by folks in the party (I mean the DLC).

    I also know where Feingold stands on interventionism.

    He opposed Kosovo.  Fine.  That's his right.

    I don't know where Obama stands on interventionism.  

    His opposition to Iraq has never transcended "I told you so" status.  He's communicated no other position or values on what America's role should be in the world, except to say we need to be filled with remorse and self-loathing.

    I suppose that's a start.


    "I told you so" (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:08:01 AM EST
    That's a perfect summary of his Iraq position.

    Voting against Iraq when it mattered.... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Dadler on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:38:18 AM EST
    ...is a pretty clean indication Obama WON'T get us into the kind of fiasco Clinton cowardly enabled.  On this score, Obama is a far supierior choice if you're worried about future Iraq's.  If you want Iraq to go on and on and lead to others, the record clearly shows Hillary is willing to send us down this route.

    I don't give a rat's ace who wins, I just want Dems to start acting like they can see the obvious in front of their noses.  On the issue of Iraq, Clintong enabled genocide and mass murder that has been committed in our name and continues to.  Obama voted against it.  Period.

    Hillary Clinton has more blood on her hands than the rest of us, but we all have it.  Her vote to give Bush the power, which he ultimately used to destroy millions of lives, cannot be taken back, cannot be rationalized.  It is what it is.  A stupid, thoughtless, cowardly vote that enabled mass murder.  That is her record on this issue.  


    No, Obama did not vote against the war (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:45:07 AM EST
    He did not vote against funding, either.

    Why do people still insist that he "voted" against it?  Did the IL senate pass some kind of resolution that I don't know about?

    This is right up there with Cheney still saying Sadaam was behind 9-11.  IT IS NOT TRUE.  HE DID NOT VOTE AGAINST ANYTHING.


    HE DID NOT VOTE AGAINST THE WAR (none / 0) (#60)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:49:07 AM EST
    The mirror (none / 0) (#71)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:04:26 AM EST
    Just like many of us.

    Well (none / 0) (#59)
    by andrewwm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:48:05 AM EST
    I'd say good judgment is a necessary but not sufficient condition for president (c.f. Iraq, Kyl-Lieberman).

    Clinton's not even met the necessary part of the criteria yet.

    It's always been a very weird line of argument to that Clinton supporters have been making that Obama's accomplishments aren't that great, really all he's done is make the same mistakes that she's made (funding the war, etc).


    I think Obama's (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by reynwrap582 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:36:29 AM EST
    "I was against it from the beginning" is not going to be as effective against McCain as Obama thinks it is.  All McCain will have to do is dismiss it by pointing out Obama wasn't even a Senator yet when the Iraq war was authorized and didn't have a vote (i.e. new and inexperienced in national politics) and that he's voted to continue funding it (which is tantamount to supporting it), which is something HRC can't really say because she's been voting to fund it too while saying she wants to end it.  The Clinton Campaign has tried carefully to make that argument, but all it ended up doing was making Bill look like a racist by calling Barack's campaign a fairy tale (I know that's not what he said, but thats what the spin was).

    If anything, I honestly think Hillary might have a stronger stance against McCain on Iraq because she can say that they saw eye-to-eye in the beginning, but that she understands the realities on the ground and that things are not going well and that we need to withdraw and let things fall into Iraq's hands.  I think her arguing with McCain that he refuses to see the reality and hold the Iraqi Government accountable would play out A LOT better than Obama's "nana-nana-boo-boo, I was against it the whole time!" shtick.  That approach has not seemed to work well with anybody I know that wasn't already an ardent Obama supporter.

    Yep (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edgar08 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:39:13 AM EST
    That's not what he said, that's what the spin was.

    Uh (none / 0) (#62)
    by andrewwm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:49:31 AM EST
    are you forgetting the line of "for it before he was against it"? That probably killed Kerry's chances right there.

    Sniping at Obama (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by robrecht on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:02:46 AM EST
    I agree that Hillary is more qualified to be commander in chief and I am supporting her.  But I wish she had opposed the Iraq War from the beginning as Obama did.  It was not politically possible for either of them to end the war responsibly from the Senate.  Both of them could have done much more, of course, to try and end the war.  Defunding was logically possible but never a political possibility.  I think Hillary did more to try to end the war from the Senate, but she did not oppose it when it mattered most.  Unlike her supporters, Hillary, for the most part, has not engaged in sniping at Obama's opposition to the war, but rather has mostly tried to defend her initial vote, sometimes a bit dishonestly, but she knows Obama was right in 2002.

    Michael Dukakis moment? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ineedalife on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:04:03 AM EST
    I know Obama's people are astute enough to prevent him from getting his picture taken inside a tank. But if he can't talk about a specific military issue without botching it, then McCain is going to win going away. This is one of Obama's glaring weaknesses so, when ever he goes there, he has to be absolutely sure he has it nailed from every perspective. He can't be mixing timelines to try to create false impressions. It plays right into the American-hating liberal theme. He is going out of his way to make the military look inept. The details matter because the Republicans will be calling him a liar. They can gin up a faux-outrage firestorm whenever they please.

    I think the Superman photo (none / 0) (#28)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:23:12 AM EST
    on the other post is right up there with the tank.  Who let him do that?

    Obama has already messed up once with McCain--in writing--vis-a-vis the "flack" jacket.  McCain popped him for that one.  Something like this, if said in a debate, would give McCain an opportunity to humiliate him on national television.

    This just all goes to experience.  A more seasoned politician would not have given those specifics--and I wonder, if Obama was so concerned about this young soldier, why didn't he find the man himself to hear his story?  Why did he "staff" it out and then take the word of his staff?

    Bush took the word of his staff (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al) and look where that got us.  Is Obama too busy to get the facts right?  Reminds me of something I read in Newsweek from a Bush staffer: "It's not the job of the president to be a fact-checker."

    Uh, WHAT?


    wrong (none / 0) (#44)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:30:16 AM EST
    The "flack" jacket thing is a right wing talking point that is completely and utterly false. Please see here: http://mediamatters.org/items/200705260002

    I really wish that all Democrats, Clinton and Obama supporters alike, would avoid using right wing talking points to attack the other candidate. It is extremely unhelpful and unwise.


    Are you saying that McCain (none / 0) (#48)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:36:16 AM EST
    did not humiliate him?

    Because that was the point I was making.  It makes it even more pathetic that he has to run to the dictionary.  I mean, come on.  This is the big leagues.  Playing pedant isn't the way political wars are won.  If it was, then we'd be looking at Al Gore stepping down from his second term and endorsing Clinton right now.


    Are Republicans in Congress (none / 0) (#61)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:49:21 AM EST
    "humiliating" House Dems over the Protect America Act extension right now? Perhaps McCain did "humiliate" Obama in that sense, in that he lied in order to try to make a political opponent look bad. But McCain wasn't right in any sense of the word about his trivial and mistaken criticism of Obama's spelling of the word "flack" (or "flak"). Did you even read the Media Matters piece?

    But generally it is not a good idea to repeat lies by right wingers as if they were true, which is what it sounded like you were doing.


    Humiliate? (none / 0) (#85)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:41:40 AM EST
    Only if you think that someone who flies off the handle over a minor point "humiliates" the other person.  Generally I think they embarrass themselves.

    The moment in question was rude and did not follow decorum.  It was a "get these kids off my lawn" moment for McCain who thought that Obama wasn't worthy to address him.


    you prove my point (none / 0) (#107)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:12:43 PM EST
    and raise another one--how is Obama going to "unite" McCain if McCain has so little respect for him?  How is he going to bring "change" to the many other senators and reps--from both parties--who view him as an arrogant upstart who has not paid his dues?

    hard to "inspire" people who think you are a kid...and treat you like one.


    um (none / 0) (#115)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:58:55 PM EST
    Obama is not trying to UNITE with McCain, he is trying to DEFEAT McCain.

    You're absolutely right (none / 0) (#120)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:07:06 PM EST
    Obama will not be able to unite with McCain.  There goes that Obama/McCain ticket I was so hopeful for.  

    I'm pretty sure that every single Democratic Senator will respect President Obama.  And the Republican Senators that don't deserve their fate.

    Quite the ageist observation from you, Kathy.  Then again, you don't don't care what it takes to beat Obama.  As long as he loses, you're fine.


    It's ironic (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:11:08 AM EST
    A soldier says something to senator of someone in his staff, and instead of using this information as a senator to start an investigation into the matter he uses during his campaign run,  If when I was in the military I ever expressed any concerns to a senator or representative it would have been to have him/her do something about it in Congress.  But then maybe he would have been better off if he had told Warner instead.

    hmm, well it does something important. (none / 0) (#32)
    by hellothere on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:38:42 AM EST
    by having this information and not starting an investigation but rather using it as talking point tells me a great deal about obama. things i'd rather not have to know but now do.

    Obama said he "heard from" (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by PennProgressive on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:19:43 AM EST
    the Captain--which I took it as he himself had a conversation with the Captain. Otherwise he should have said "heard about a Caaptain and his platoon". Perhaps a minor point--but words do matter. Jeralyn, again thanks for a terrific post.

    Another demonstration of why Obama is an amateur (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by OxyCon on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:57:58 AM EST
    Obama didn't use this trumped up story to prove that he was ready to be President. He used this bogus story to attack Hillary with over her vote for the AUMF. Attacking Hillary was the only reason why he brought the story up, to make her look evil for her AUMF vote. It was a "see what Hillary's vote has done?" attack.
    Too bad for Obama, most of the story is bullcrap and now he's going to get his face rubbed in it.
    Obama got caught Bamboozling and Hoodwinking America.

    Umm (none / 0) (#70)
    by andrewwm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:04:10 AM EST
    ...the vote for AUMF WAS evil. Or are we okay on people voting for the war now?

    It'd be one thing if Clinton apologized like Edwards did; it probably wouldn't be much of an issue now. But she's never even apologized for it or said what she did was wrong (only if I'd known then what I know now I would have voted differently).


    This is a lie (none / 0) (#81)
    by Marvin42 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:36:33 AM EST
    If she apologizes then she would be hit with "she admitted she was wrong, she is not qualified." I believe she was stuck like many democrats, trapped by a political maneuver. And now her own party can't see past the trap.

    Sen Obama was fortunate enough not to be in the senate at the time.


    Can you provide (none / 0) (#87)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:43:25 AM EST
    an example of someone admitting error and then be excoriated for that error, in politics?  

    John Edwards? (none / 0) (#89)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:45:56 AM EST
    There were a number of reasons his campaign never really took off, but I haven't heard anyone claim that apologizing for his Iraq War vote was one of them.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#122)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:08:51 PM EST
    Just about every Democrat I know thought that he did the right thing and criticized Hillary for not doing the same. Admitting that you made an error sends a message to Democratic voters that you won't do it again.

    I voted for it (none / 0) (#134)
    by Marvin42 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:40:17 PM EST
    Before I voted against it. Come on.

    You could also posit (none / 0) (#90)
    by obscure on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:47:47 AM EST
    If you go by that reasoning, you could easily say that "she doesn't think she was wrong, so she's not qualified because of the obvious consequences of her choice."

    Her follow-up votes, including Kyl-Leiberman, can go a long way to suggest a pattern in her reasoning that a person could reasonably object to. All of this without hating Clinton in the slightest.


    And how did Obama vote on that bill? (nt) (none / 0) (#112)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:41:17 PM EST
    Kyl-Lieberman (none / 0) (#116)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:59:32 PM EST
    He was against it.

    Kyl-Lieberman (none / 0) (#126)
    by cmugirl on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:15:06 PM EST
    Right.  The point was, he was too busy campaigning in New Hampshire to go go and VOTE against KL.  It's a lot easier to criticize when you don't put your money where your mouth is and actually take a stand.

    I think it depends on what you plan to do (none / 0) (#133)
    by Marvin42 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:39:40 PM EST
    With the rest of your career and what your constituents are like. Do you consider for a moment that she was/is the Senator for New York? I am not saying the decision was right or wrong, but please, let's not use sound bites, let's talk about real world decisions. I rather have someone who makes real world decisions and get things done, than someone who promises whatever you want to hear, but can't get it done.

    I shouldn't need to say this (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:21:32 PM EST
    The "Commander in Chief" does not lead the country, he issues orders to the military. Don't think like a Bushist!

    The President as head of state leads the country, one could say.

    Here's what I'd like to hear from a C-in-C (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by tnthorpe on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:44:50 PM EST
    "I'm going to cut the military budget by more than half, withdraw from the majority of our overseas bases, and let Europe and Asia spend themselves into the same bankrupt state this country has been forced into by successive Rep and Dem administrations that have increasingly militarized our democracy. It seems that folk forget that the reason a civilian was put in charge of the military was so that the military would not be able to control the country's politics. It's time to put an end to militarization and start to build America up again."

    (Does anyone even read Eisenhower's farewell speech anymore?)

    Can't imagine either candidate making that decision, but then with Clinton's vote on the war, Obama's and Clinton's votes on its continued funding, and their statements on the need for expanding military spending, why would I?

    From my admittedly left pov, neither are the C-in-C I prefer.

    I also wonder... (none / 0) (#6)
    by reynwrap582 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:45:29 AM EST
    Was the Captain's statement really given to Obama to use as a campaign anecdote?  It seems strange to me that the Captain would give him the story, tell them they can use it how they'd like, but then request absolute anonymity.  It's not like there's an infinite amount of people who were under the same circumstances as this guy, and the military will no doubt be able to figure out who it was if they really want to penalize him for it.  Maybe he just wants anonymity from the media so Limbaugh and his clowns don't go after him.  (I originally meant to type clones but it came out clowns and I decided that that fit equally as well)

    I'm just hoping that the Captain was expecting them to use the story like they did and that they didn't just accidentally out him.  There's a big difference between saying "this is my story just so you know what's happening" and "this is my story so you can talk specifically about it in your campaign."

    btw Jeralyn, fan-freaking-tastic post.  I'm going to forward this along to some people.

    This Captain's no dummy for (none / 0) (#29)
    by scribe on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:23:18 AM EST
    wanting to retain his anonymity.  The Pentagon wants to "talk to him" so they can destroy his career for being honest.  They've done it before and they'll do it again.

    Here's what I hope the Captain did, as a Lieutenant and since - kept his "notebook".  If he did, and kept his notebook the way you're supposed to, he'll have no problem corroborating from contemporaneous records at least the personnel transfers out.  

    When I served, we were taught to keep a notebook in which you were to record everything about the men under your command.  Name, current rank,  SSN, hometown, date of birth, last promotion, next of kin and their addresses, job position, shirt size, boot size, pants size, gas mask size, date into the unit, expected date out of the unit ... everything.  You were supposed to keep this updated by having your subordinate leaders - the sergeants - do the same for each of the men under their leadership and make a copy for you, which you would then copy by hand into your book.  

    If (and it's a big if) he kept such a notebook, it would show the transfers out of the unit, and no replacements in.

    The point of having such a book was that you could then cross-tab it to know, for example, "my platoon needs x pairs of boots in size 9 1/2, y in 10" and so on, to speed resupply and such.  But the more important function was making you know your subordinates.  That came from copying it by hand.

    The idea of copying it by hand was that when you write something, you have to make the mental effort to write it down and that make a far greater impression on you than does just getting a piece of paper and inserting it in a looseleaf binder.

    Not everyone keeps such a notebook, and not everyone who does, does it well.  It's a colossal pain to get started, though not as much of one to keep going.  And, it's not a job "requirement" per se (or at least it wasn't).

    But it would be a serious buttress in favor of his statement if it were.


    How is an officer ever to get (none / 0) (#114)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:53:39 PM EST
    the supplies s/he says s/he needs if it's only in a notebook (very useful info there), if s/he only calls a candidate (he ought to call McCain and Clinton, too -- would that help for cover?  or maybe Wes Clark?), if s/he does not tell the Pentagon now that it is spotlighted?

    I fully understand fear of what it could do to a military career -- but the needs of the troops trump that, don't they?  I really am trying to follow this, as I was married to a Vietnam War officer, so I know how difficult this can be.


    More to this... (none / 0) (#7)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:07:09 AM EST
    Right after the quote you mentioned, Obama said this:

    "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."

    He's exaggerating here, too. His 2002 speech didn't mention thousands of lives and overstretching the military. I don't think anyone was predicting that level of casualties.

    This seems to be a habit of his--for example, claiming to have passed a law about nuclear emissions, when in fact it never passed.

    It's also probably more accurate for him to say that he opposed the war "at the beginning", not "from the beginning." He certainly hasn't done much in the Senate to oppose it.

    Sure he did. (none / 0) (#9)
    by jdmccuistion on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 05:44:22 AM EST
    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.

    I'd say he hit the nail on the head from the beginning.  He didn't use the specific words "thousands of lives", but that doesn't seem to matter because this entire "issue" is about semantics anyway.

    The point he was making is this: Iraq distracted us from the real war, the one against Al-Qaeda.  Obama has asserted that he intends to get out of Iraq and refocus on the organization that actually attacked us instead of creating new bogeymen to chase since we can't find the real ones.  Since the POTUS isn't supposed to be directly overseeing every platoon in the armed forces, I'll be satisfied just to have one with a decent grasp of which country to deploy the troops to when needed.

    The question about his legislative record in support of the military is a valid one, I'd like to see some answers.


    Question. (1.00 / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:45:56 AM EST
    I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world,

    Can anyone show us any of those "best" impulses? I haven't seen any of those, and I am specifically including the years prior to the invasion.


    In the words of Fred Flintstone... (5.00 / 0) (#74)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:13:46 AM EST
    Droll, Jim. Very droll.

    It's not an admirable quality to profess willful ignorance about a culture with which the US shares a difficult future.


    No "thousands of lives" (none / 0) (#131)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:28:08 PM EST
    That's a very specific claim he said he made. And he didn't make it.

    I'm not denying that he was right on some things. But he's giving himself a lot more credit than he deserves, which seems to be something of a pattern for him.


    Or ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:11:15 AM EST
    "before it began" and then was relatively silent for more than a year.

    What's he done? (none / 0) (#11)
    by dmk47 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 06:41:43 AM EST

    According to Joseph Cirincione, Director for Nuclear Policy at the Center for American Progress, Obama has the most comprehensive, far-reaching, detailed nuclear non-proliferation program of anyone running. I'd say that's about the single most important feature of national security policy.

    What has he done about it so far? (none / 0) (#132)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 04:28:55 PM EST
    Other than appropriating some $40 million for it with Lugar?

    We Need a New Commander in Chief (none / 0) (#14)
    by barryluda on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 07:31:52 AM EST
    Wow!  Jeralyn sets out a very powerful list of Clinton's accomplishments.  I don't know how to find a comprehensive list of Obama's accomplishments that support his ability to be our next commander in chief, but here're a few examples I looked up online this morning:

    I believe one of the biggest reasons we are at risk due to our existing commander in chief's failed policies is our continued over-dependence on foreign oil.  So, when you look at what Obama and Clinton have done in this area, you see Obama has introduced four, solid energy bills including S.133 which would promote national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil through the use of alternative fuels and new technology.  He also introduced legislation to provide incentives to the auto industry to accelerate efforts to develop more energy-efficient vehicles, and permanently modify the IRS code to repeal tax breaks for the oil and gas industry.  And Obama worked together with other senators; for example, S.133 was co-sponsored by Harkin, Lugar and Salazar.  Clinton, in contrast, seems to have introduced just one bill, S.701, a temporary fix to impose a short term oil profit fee, and had no co-sponsors on the bill.

    On Iran Obama introduced a joint resolution (S.J.RES.23) stating that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law.  He introduced a bill (S.1084) to provide housing assistance for very low-income veterans.  And on global terrorism he introduced a bill (S.1977) providing for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

    And we need someone able to stand up against torture.  You can read on this post -- http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/02/obama-actually.html -- about how Obama as an Illinois State senator, showed the leadership and guts to get important things done.  As Mark Kleiman is quoted in the blog: "Standing up for the rights of accused criminals in a contemporary American legislature requires brass balls."  Obama was able to work across aisles and with our crazy Governor Blagojevich, who initially said that he was against it, to pass legislation requiring that interrogations and confessions be videotaped.

    Bottom line to me is that both Clinton and Obama agree much, much more than they disagree.  I would be extremly happy with either one as President.  But my personal opinion is that Obama would be able to build the type of consensus we need to start to undo the damage done by eight years of Bush.  Of course, Clinton would also help us undo that damage.  I just hope that the next several weeks (or months) of fighting among democrats doesn't serve to give us President McCain.

    The "consensus-building" myth (none / 0) (#16)
    by ajain on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:14:20 AM EST
    This just annoys me.
    I mean firstly, what proof is there that he has done that before? Secondly, what proof is there that Hillary Clinton has not done that and will not be able to do that?

    Consensus building (none / 0) (#17)
    by barryluda on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:33:50 AM EST
    Did you read my post with an open mind?  My points wasn't that Clinton couldn't build a consensus.  In fact, I think Jeralyn did a good job of setting out many data points that support that she could build consensus and be a great President.  When I passed on the story about what Obama did as an Illinois State Senator, my point was just to give a data point (proof) that he could build a consensus about something I think is important (the rights of accused criminals).

    I suspect (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:43:12 AM EST
    I suspect that it's much easier to build consensus at the state level than it is at the federal level.  I've never worked in Congress at either level, but I suspect that priorities and interests of congresspeople at the state level are far more "consolidated" than they are at the federal level.

    Not necessarily (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:14:21 AM EST
    But certainly so in Illinois, for the Daley machine.

    Just north of it. Why? (nt) (none / 0) (#96)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:03:16 PM EST
    Michelle Obama worked (none / 0) (#105)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:38:57 PM EST
    for the Daley machine, his way into it, just for starters.  I read the Trib.  What are your sources for what I have to say is an astonishing assertion?

    very easy to build a consensus (none / 0) (#21)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:59:24 AM EST
    when you have the Daly machine behind you.

    You have been called incorrect twice now (none / 0) (#108)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:15:34 PM EST
    and have been asked to prove otherwise.

    Michelle Obama worked in the Daly machine, yet they did not support Obama?


    You're off topic (none / 0) (#118)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:04:51 PM EST
    take it to an open thread. Copy and paste your comments there so these can be deleted.

    He was not about to lose his (none / 0) (#20)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:58:48 AM EST
    state senate seat trying to do any of those things.  He is from a very, very liberal district and basically had no opposition to his seat.  When it came time to take stands on things that might nail him down too much politically, he voted present-against the wishes of IL PP.

    And it's nice that he has talked about all these new laws he wanted to get through the senate, but the fact remains that he COULD NOT get them through.  

    Also, considering he voted for Cheney's energy policy, the "love letter to the nuclear industry," what you are saying about all of his failed legislation above doesn't matter, because those bills he introduced were all talk--when it came time to walk, he walked for nuclear.


    IL PP (none / 0) (#109)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    made it clear that Obama was under no risk of jeopardizing his seat and wanted him to vote for them on the bill.

    He represented one of the most liberal districts in IL.  He challenged all contenders in the first election and got them kicked off the ballot so he could run uncontested (see: Alice Palmer) then in his next election, he ran against  (and I use the term loosely) Alan Keyes.  His seat was completely and absolutely secure, so there was no reason for him NOT to take a stand...except that it would have meant going on record, which of course Obama never really does.

    "I voted against the war" when he actually did not vote.
    "I passed nuclear legislation" which he did not actually get passed.
    "I voted present because they asked me to" which they did not ask.


    IL PP (none / 0) (#117)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:01:57 PM EST
    IL PP and IL NOW had different strategies on the present vote. Planned Parenthood asked Obama to vote "present", NOW asked Obama to vote no (present = no in the IL Senate).

    Obama went with PP, not NOW.


    off topic (none / 0) (#119)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:05:16 PM EST
    take it to an open thread

    Do you still have the links for the info you (none / 0) (#47)
    by jawbone on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:35:31 AM EST
    found this morning? I know I'm being lazy, but since your history probably still has the sites and links, it would save time for us if you could add them to your post.

    Thnx much!


    add'l info (none / 0) (#57)
    by txyellowdawg on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:46:42 AM EST
    Senator Clinton co-sponsors Webb Legislation Prohibiting the Use of Funds for Military Operations In Iran (S. 759).

    Congress Passes Dodd-Clinton Amendment to Expand Family and Medical Leave Benefits to Wounded Soldiers and Their Families, sept 2007


    I intentionally didn't include (none / 0) (#100)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:17:36 PM EST
    all of her legislation regarding benefits for troops and their families and veterans, considering that social legislation rather than legislation that pertains to  being commander in chief.

    Why is the Pentagon (none / 0) (#22)
    by bob h on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 08:59:34 AM EST
    getting involved in a political campaign at all?
    One of the first orders of business for Hillary or Obama should be to start firing at the top there and keep it up until a Democrat is found.

    You're advocating a political purge???? (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by ineedalife on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:14:59 AM EST
    Don't you see how ridiculous your statement is? Maybe George Bush should be purging the military until only Republicans are left.

    By accusing the military of serious staffing and supply issues threatening the safety and effectiveness of the troops Obama has put the Pentagon into a position that they must investigate. This is a serious issue. The congressional oversight committees must investigate.

    Of course Obama could save them a lot of time and money by owning up to just trying to score a cheap political point. But I don't see that happening.


    so are you advocating (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:25:38 AM EST
    that the next President should leave a bunch of Bush loyalists in positions of responsibility at the Pentagon? That is a pretty crazy idea, don't you think?

    Bush and Cheney have managed to very effectively erode the civil service, the next President can't just go in and pretend that didn't happen. They have to go in and fix it by clearing out all the political hacks and starting again.


    I would advocate that, sure. (none / 0) (#77)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:21:16 AM EST
    I don't think the solution to Bush loyalists is to replace them with loyalists of your own. This is the see-saw of dominance that does nobody any good. Nobody outside the corridors of power, anyway.

    surely (none / 0) (#82)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:39:04 AM EST
    the solution isn't just leave them there, either. Notice I said that the next President needs to clean out the political hacks. I did NOT say that the next President needs to replace one set of political hacks with another.

    Bryan Whitman is a Loyal Bushie. (none / 0) (#35)
    by tbetz on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:45:09 AM EST
    This is the same guy who was pushing the fabricated attack by the small boats in the Straits of Hormuz.

    He speaks for the Office of Special Plans cabal in the Pentagon.

    Josh Marshall has the facts:

    It would appear that we have another case where the Bush Pentagon, particularly the Office of Public Affairs is forcefully inserting itself into the civilian election process.  Earlier today I referenced Barack Obama's anecdote from Thursday night's Democratic debate about an Army Captain in Afghanistan who said his unit had had to get from captured Taliban ammunition they weren't able to get quickly enough through standard Army supply channels.  ABCNews' Jake Tapper talked to the soldier in question, who confirmed the story he'd told Obama.   Now NBC News also appears to have confirmed the story by talking to the Army Captain in question.

    But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman is telling reporters he doesn't think it's true and that of course they can't confirm it unless the soldier -- still on active duty -- comes forward to discuss the issue with the Pentagon brass, a step that would surely do wonders for his future in the Army.

    I don't know how far this is going to go.  Phillip Carter, the military affairs writer who's in the reserves and did a tour in Iraq, says that from his own experience in Iraq and discussions with Afghanistan vets who report doing the same thing as the anonymous captain, he finds the story "eminently believable."  But this is becoming a pattern in which political appointees at the Bush Pentagon volubly insert themselves into domestic political debate or even election campaigns.

    Expect this to be a major factor in this year's election campaign.

    Do you think untruths help our troops (none / 0) (#25)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:12:43 AM EST
    including those in the Pentagon?  Do you think that misunderstandings about their preparedness help the Pentagon get the equipment that they really do need?

    Do you think that Senator Warner should just stfu, too?


    I think (none / 0) (#64)
    by andrewwm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:55:29 AM EST
    this is a predictable pattern of right-wing smear machines to ground into dust any soldier or politician that questions Bush's use of the military (or any other issue). It happened to TNR and Scott Beauchamp, it happened to that poor family in the SCHIP debate, and it will happen again, often with the winking support of congresspeople, until someone drives a stake through the heart of this machine.

    So you're fine (none / 0) (#91)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:48:57 AM EST
    with using the military as a political bludgeon as long as it is directed at Obama?  

    Is there a point in which you feel that using Right Wing tactics is not acceptable when attacking Obama?


    I'm fine with supplying our troops (none / 0) (#97)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:06:27 PM EST
    -- my former students, those who have survived so far -- with what they need.  We have lost many from my state exactly because they didn't have armored humvees, weapons, etc., that they needed.  It has become quite a campaign here for a father, whom I know, of a son slaughtered there because of lack of necessities to protect himself and his troops.

    So I am concerned that we not make mistakes based on what may be flawed or incomplete information.  You?


    As a former soldier (none / 0) (#106)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:44:00 PM EST
    that was with 10th Mnt for 2 years, I am very much concerned with the welfare of the soldiers.

    Having said that I fail to see how allowing the military to interview the soldier in question will achieve anything other than to get the soldier to "recant" his story.

    I'm fine with John Warner doing an investigation, I even applaud it.  I am NOT fine with the military politicizing the matter as a means to deflect criticism.


    You want the officers at the pentagon (none / 0) (#130)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 03:52:02 PM EST
    to announce their political party?  What if one is a registered Independent?  Purge them also?

    Gee, OK (none / 0) (#31)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:33:37 AM EST
    Never mind the fact that we now have more mercenaries than soldiers in Iraq. Never mind that we pay the mercenaries 10 - 20 times as much as our soldiers. Never mind that you have to drag the sons of b*tches in Defense by the balls to get them to give the troops the protection they need because any dollar that doesn't go to Halliburton is a dollar that won't be flowing back into some Republican's slush fund.

    These are things we are not allowed to say. And that's why, unless Obama hands over the name of this soldier (who will, needless to say, promptly be discharged for heretofore unnoticed "performance reasons") he's a bad, bad man.

    Yeah, I'll buy that.

    iraq bill (none / 0) (#33)
    by gcp on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:39:25 AM EST
    hey jeralyn.. i'm sure in your research before you started writing this you took note that obama introduced his iraq bill a month before hillary did.


    re: iraq bill (none / 0) (#34)
    by gcp on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:43:58 AM EST
    actually, let me ammend that - he introduced his bill the month before hillary did, technically 8 days before she did.  

    Missing questions (none / 0) (#36)
    by ineedalife on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:04:26 AM EST
    I re-read Tapper's piece and it struck me that he did not ask this officer if his unit was ever in combat. He just said they were in a "hot zone" of Afghanistan. If in combat, what was their staffing and equipment status then? Did avoidable casualties or defeats occur?  This is where the rubber meets the road and I can't imagine Tapper not asking those questions.

    Limited investigation (none / 0) (#43)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:28:51 AM EST

    Tapper really only investigated thr fact that this guy told the story.  The veracity of the storty itself is what is suspect and not substantiated at this time.

    Correction (none / 0) (#37)
    by Baal on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:06:23 AM EST
    Bush flack at Pentagon questions Obama, in spite of the fact that two new networks have reports that support his story.  I think out of fairness you might add this to your post.  Warner has no credibility at all.

    As for Hillary's ability to be Commander in Chief, all I can say is that she has been listening to advice from Marc Penn and James Carville (!) on political matters.  This does not inspire any confidence that she has good judgment as to her choice of advisers -- something essential for success as President.

    As for Obama's legislative records, you are obviously being coy.  You went into great length on everything Hillary has done.  The same resources that allowed you to dig that up allow you to do the same thing for Obama.

    Internal tracking (none / 0) (#38)
    by 1jane on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:08:11 AM EST
    On many progressive blogs the internal tracking reveals Clinton and her supporters have every reason to be pessimistic. Even with the Bush Pentagon inserting itself into the race for president there is nothing better than hindsight to see why Clinton will gracefully surrender after Texas and Ohio. What will Jeralyn latch onto then...the recognition that Senator Clinton needed to campaign differently, have a different team, Bill should have been under control sooner?

    Clinton's options aren't closed but she will need several victories in a row against a candidate who is better financed and riding the waves of momentum.

    The post mortum has already begun. Passing on several moments to severely criticize Obama in Thursdays debate Clinton revealed the race is over.

    Analysis? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Marvin42 on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:32:58 AM EST
    Or talking point post?

    more like (none / 0) (#58)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 10:47:05 AM EST
    wishful thinking.

    Jeralyn, your bad (none / 0) (#68)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:00:44 AM EST
    Jeralyn says this: "While Obama didn't say the lack of equipment occurred during combat vs. training, I think he implied it by prefacing the story with a statement about 3,000 Americans being killed by al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

    Obama didn't say that al Qaeda killed 3,000 Americans in Afghanistan. He was obviously referring to 9/11, where 3,000 Americans were killed by al Qaeda.

    There have been a lot of people in the military who have said that our troops weren't prepared, training-wise or equipment-wise, to fight this war. You may have even mentioned it here. Are you arguing this point? I don't think so.

    The captain exists. He says he talked about lack of preparation and equipment. So have thousands of others. You are grasping at straws here. Or straw men. You are creating an outrageous interpretation of what Obama said and then charging him with your outrageousness. Did something in the Texas debate kill the plagiarism thing?

    Commander-in-chief is actually pretty far down the list of duties for a President. One would hope that a President wouldn't get the country into unnecessary wars (and hope that the Senate wouldn't vote war powers to people like Dubya). The first duty of a President is to defend the Constitution. Showing up to vote down Super FISA might have been nice.

    That you could draw that, or infer that Obama was somehow trying to fool people into believing 3000 Americans were killed in Afghanistan from this debate shows how badly slanted you either see or describe things in this campaign.

    It may help you to fire up Clinton supporters but it doesn't bring light to the debate and further destroys your credibility.

    I corrected that but (none / 0) (#102)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:34:43 PM EST
    It was inartfully phrased on his part, I thought he was referring to Americans killed in Afghanistan. Nowhere does he say 9/11. But, upon re-reading, it does appear he's saying al Qaeda killed 3,000 Americans and al Qaeda is now stronger in Afghanistan, so I changed my post to reflect that.

    I doubt I'm the only one who assumed that's what he was saying. I shouldn't have to go look up troop deaths in Afghanistan (483 since 2001) to figure out what he meant.

    The point is he used the deaths by al Qaeda and Afghanistan as a lead-in to the Captain's story to show he would be a better commander in chief.

    I'm amazed that you say Commander in Chief is pretty far down the line of duties as President.  That's pretty offensive to anyone who has a  son or daughter of military age and a host of other people. All you ever do here is shill for Obama. By the way, in case you didn't see it on another thread, you've been limited to four comments a day.


    Sorry Bob in Pacifica (none / 0) (#103)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:37:19 PM EST
    I meant ObamaMania or ObamaMama or whichever one also made this point in the comments. That commenter has been limited to four comments a day, not you (so far.)

    I have to say (none / 0) (#110)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:25:32 PM EST
    this is the same problem we see over and over again with what Obama says.  He does not speak clearly.  He does not get his true meaning across.  How can he claim to be taking "stands" on issues when just about every phrase that comes out of his mouth has to be evaluated, parsed and regurgitated by his followers so that it finally makes sense?

    I know politicians are known for talking out of both sides of their mouths, but this is ridiculous, and considering how close he is in the race for the nomination, incredibly troubling.  If he wins and goes into the ge, there won't be time for parsing and nuance.


    No, it's not a new thing. (none / 0) (#78)
    by manys on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:31:41 AM EST
    It's called "backbiting," look it up.

    This is new for this site (none / 0) (#84)
    by barryluda on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:40:12 AM EST
    Unfortunately, it seems that the closer Clinton comes to not being a viable candidate versus Obama (note, I'm NOT saying she's not viable, just talking about where her candidacy sits on the spectrum) the more everyone on here seems to want to put down Obama.  I just hope this thing ends soon so that the backbiting stops and we can rally around our Democratic Presidential candidate.

    yes, just like a bunch of women (none / 0) (#111)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 01:26:41 PM EST
    backbiting?  I guess "cat fight" was a tad too overt.

    You Are Wrong (none / 0) (#121)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:08:27 PM EST
    Backbiting has zero gender connotations. It is a tiresome tactic that many seem drawn to. I don't understand why you, and others have to put someone down in order to prop up your candidate.

    Obama is just as qualified as Clinton to be POTUS. To imagine that our country would be at risk with either one of them in office is nonsense.


    backbiting is gender neutral??? (none / 0) (#127)
    by Kathy on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:21:35 PM EST
    you have got to be kidding me.

    Got A Link (none / 0) (#129)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:38:24 PM EST
    To substantiate your claim? I would love to learn something new.  It mostly comes up as a prohibition in Muslim religion. It is synonymous with gossip.

    I believe that you are off the rails to compare it with catfighting, which is clearly a sexist term.


    Has anyone wondered (none / 0) (#83)
    by pavaoh on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:39:32 AM EST
    What did Obama base his anti-Iraq war stance on?  I  do not know the answer.  He was not privy to intelligence other than what we knew at that time.
    Hillary may not have read all the reports herself but she has people to give her bullet points on them.  She then talked face to face with all the people involved in the reporting.  She made the best educated decision she could at the time. Obama made his decision by a guess.  Would he be running for office if his guess was wrong?  What if Hillary guessed the info she had was wrong and voted differently?  Would he then be running against her for lack of judgement of that instead?  I am for Hillary.  I do not want someone who thinks a guess is as good as a decision based on facts, however flawed, after the fact.

    oh, please (none / 0) (#93)
    by tsackton on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 11:52:14 AM EST
    Lots and lots of sensible people were opposed to the war before it started, based on clear-eyed judgments about what would happen. Opposition to the war wasn't some sort of wild-eyed guess that, oh wait, maybe the Bush administration is wrong. There was plenty of evidence at the time that the Bush administration was crazy. Just because the entire media establishment ignored it doesn't mean that the only reason anybody could oppose the war was because they took a guess.

    And 20 some Senators (and a MAJORITY of Democrats in the House) voted against the AUMF. There was no reason that, just because Clinton was privy to inside information, she HAD to vote for the war, based on some nebulous set of "facts".


    I'd like to hear of (none / 0) (#128)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 02:37:07 PM EST
    an instance when she,(or her husband) ever took an action or made a public statement that was in defiance of the consensus position of the hawks on the Board of AIPAC: everyone knows that they wanted this war badly, just as they wanted Bill to keep his fat mouth shut (and he did), all the time Sharon was expanding the settlements and stirring up the Intifada.

    No special access to intelligence was necessary (none / 0) (#99)
    by RiderOnTheStorm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:14:36 PM EST

    While Senator Clinton quite likely had access to data and personnel not enjoyed by Senator Obama (or by the rest of us), that wasn't necessary to figure out that the entire Iraq debacle was/is a scam, utterly unsupported by the facts.

    What was necessary was to consider the distinct possibility that our own government's leaders were lying to us. And to pay attention to other sources of information -- other governments, journalists, the UN, and yes, even our adversaries.  It really wasn't that tough to narrow the possibilities down to either:

    • 1. The US government had facts-in-hand that had eluded the grasp of just about every other government's intelligence services as well as the UN as well as numerous independent observers.
    • 2. They made it up.

    Lots of us figured out that (2) was the correct choice without needing security clearances and private briefings.  I commented at the time that anyone who'd lived through the Nixon era should be able to recognize this familiar stench at first whiff.  (For those who didn't, I recommend a healthy reading diet of Hunter S. Thompson, beginning with The Great Shark Hunt.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.)  Of course as the drumbeats for war increased, they drowned out dissent and marginalized dissenters.

    And so the available facts became hearsay, then  rumors, then lies.  They were, to borrow Mr. Gore's label, inconvenient, and so they had to go.  But that was a local phenomena -- the rest of the world, by and large, didn't go along with it, and so the facts remained accessible to anyone who bothered to read beyond their borders: no guesswork required.


    fixed (none / 0) (#104)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 12:37:58 PM EST
    see here

    Recopied from Rideronthestorm (none / 0) (#136)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 10:58:04 AM EST
    by RiderOnTheStorm on Sat Feb 23, 2008 at 09:18:58 AM PDT

    Anyone who has been paying to US military affairs over the past decade is already well aware that this particular anecdote reads just like many others -- and that it is exemplary of problems borne out by more than mere anecdotes.  The promotion of political loyalists within the military command structure (and the complementary demotion of non-loyalists), the extraordinary use of non-military resources (contractors and mercenaries), and the labeling of any criticism as "disloyal", "a threat to national security", "disclosure of secrets" and "treasonous" by the right-wing noise machine have all exacerbated the problems.

    Given that this story has now been vetted by at least two independent news organizations, I'm satisfied that it's at least plausible, if not completely true.  We may eventually find out, if the Captain in question comes forward -- although as every minimally-informed person knows, (a) that will be the end of their career (b) they may find themselves facing court-martial as the Pentagon tries to CYA and (c) despite their honorable service and personal sacrifice, they will promptly be demonized by the usual demagogues.

    But step back from this tiny isolated incident and look at the larger picture: we clearly have a military that's been used very poorly -- and the fault of that lies with leadership, both military and civilian.  The reasons are abundant, but divide mostly into two categories: greed and stupidity.  The greed is obvious, as the enrichment of Bushie corporate cronies such as Halliburton and Blackwater continues unabated.  The stupidity should be equally obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to history -- especially recent history that's been recorded in our own lifetimes.

    With that in mind, frankly, I have no doubt that nearly anyone could do a better job -- Obama, Clinton, Edwards, etc.  All of them have demonstrated far more honesty (although not perfect) and far more intelligence (again, although not perfect) than anyone in the current administration.

    I suppose in some ways this is "damning with faint praise", but I don't mean it that way.  Whoever ends up running the show is going to inherit a colossal mess, a complete military failure of epic proportions -- and they're going to have a heck of a time trying to fix it.  There is no valid experience for that problem because nobody's ever had to solve it before.  So all the prattling about experience or lack thereof is just that: it's irrelevant babbling.  We should be examining instead other qualities of the candidates: do they recognize the problem?  Do they grasp its seriousness?  Do they demonstrate the requisite intelligence necessary to tackle its complexity?  Do they show a willingness to consult subject-matter experts and value their opinions?  Do they know how to recognize and avoid cherry-picked data?  Do they have the political courage to point at failure and call it "failure"?

    My personal assessment is that both remaining Democratic party candidates possess these qualities, and that fine distinctions between them on these points amount to nitpicking.  I am well aware of their records on the relevant issues, but am more concerned with their plans for the future than with their successes/mistakes in the past.  (Which means I'm willing to look past both Senator Clinton's oft-cited vote, even though I do wish she'd simply admit it was a screwup.)  I think the country would be best served by putting both on the ticket -- something I hope their respective egos will allow them to consider.  We could really use their combined talents -- and even that may not be enough to extricate ourselves, but I think it offers the best chance.