July 24, 2008

G.I. In Afghanistan: Obama "Blew Them Off"

Blackfive posted this email yesterday and has another supporting account (added below in an update) from another member of the military who was also present during Obama's carefully scripted P.R. World Tour.

I think you should read it.

Hello everyone,

As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to "The War Zone". I wanted to share with you what happened. He got off the plan[sic] and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram. As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service. So really he was just here to make a showing for the American's back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an effort to come all the way over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you. I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States. I just don't understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country.

If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.

I guess it should come as little surprise, then, that Obama has dropped meetings with U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany—including wounded soldiers from the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan— in favor of meeting with French and German civilians.

Priorities, you know.


The second email from a member of the military in Iraq , forwarded to me from Blackfive:

I had a first hand view of Barrack Obama's "fact finding" mission, when he passed through this base.

While I can't name it, it's one of the largest air bases in the region, with up to 8000 troops (depending on influxes and transients in mobilization/demobilization status), mostly Airmen and Soldiers, but some Marines, Sailors, Koreans, Japanese, Aussies, Brits, US Civil Service, contractors including KBR, Blackwater and Halliburton, among others in the news. The overwhelming majority of all of these are professional, courteous and disciplined.

Problems are rare.

Casualties are also rare. This base has a large hospital for evacuation—twenty plus beds. I have yet to see a casualty in one, though I am told there are about three evacuations a week through this region, of which two on average are things like sports injuries, vehicle accidents or duty related falls and such. You can tell from the news that the war is going well. The ghouls are now focusing on Afghanistan, since there is no blood to type with here.

This oped is of course subjective and limited, but I will try to present the facts as I saw them. I wasn't able to see much, which makes a point all by itself.

When his plane arrived (also containing Senators Reed and Hagel, but the news has hardly mentioned them), there was a "ramp freeze." This means if you are on the flight line, and not directly involved with the event in question, you stay where you are and don't move. For a combat flight arriving or departing, this takes about ten minutes, and involves the active runway and crossing taxiways only. For Obama's flight, this took 90 minutes, during which time a variety of military missions came grinding to a halt. Obviously, this visit was important, right?

95% of base wanted nothing to do with him. I have met three troops who support him, and literally hundreds who regard him as a buffoon, a charlatan, a hindrance to their mission or a flat out enemy of progress. Even when the rumors were publicly admitted, almost no one left their duty sections to try to see him, unless they were officers whose presence was officially required.

Mister Obama's motorcade drove up from the flight line and entered the dining hall toward the end of lunch time. Diners were chased out and told to make other arrangements for food, in the middle of the duty day.

Now, there are close to 8000 troops on the base and its nearby satellites. No one came up from the Army side (except perhaps a few ranking officers). The airbase resumed operation, once he cleared the flightline, as if nothing had happened. The dining hall holds about 300 people and was not full. The troops did not want to meet him and the feeling was apparently mutual. In attendance, besides the Official Entourage, were the base's senior officers, some support personnel, and a very few carefully vetted supporters who'd made special arrangements. No photos were allowed. No question and answer with the troops. No real acknowledgment that the troops existed.

Obama left around 1530, during the Muslim Call to Prayer, so he's not a practicing Muslim. He was in a convoy guarded by (so I'm told) both State Department and Secret Service Personnel.

Less than three hours…

Within 48 hours he was in Afghanistan. It takes most troops longer than that to in-process and get cleared on safety, threats, policies and such. Yet he somehow made a strategic summary by not talking to anyone and not seeing anything.

Twenty-four hours after that, he was in Kuwait, back here, and then home, so fast we didn't even know he arrived the second time at this base.

I can't imagine any officer of the few he met told him anything other than what they tell the troops, and what their own leadership at the Pentagon tell them—we're winning. Our troops are stomping the guts out of the insurgency. The surge worked and is working. If the insurgents have to divert to Afghanistan, it means they can't fight in Iraq anymore. We should not change the rules and retreat with the enemy on the ropes as we did in Vietnam. We should finish kicking their teeth in. The Iraqi government now controls 10 of 18 provinces, with US assistance in the rest. Let us win the war. 90% of the troops I know, even those opposed to the war, say that is the way to win. Victory comes from winning, not from "change." In fact, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is on record as opposing Obama's strategic theory.

Since he obviously knew in advance that's what they'd tell him, and since he didn't care to talk to the troops (we're told by the Left that the troops are horrified, shocked, forced to commit atrocities with tears in their eyes, distraught, burned out, fed up with losing, etc) and find out how they feel, and was barely in country long enough to need a shower and a change of clothes, we can only call this for what it is.

A disgraceful PR stunt, using the troops as a platform for his ego and campaign.

In comparison, I've seen four star generals and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on this base. They each held an all ranks call, met with and briefed the personnel, and took questions on every subject from tour length to uniform design to rules of engagement to weapon choice to long term policy, from the newest airmen to the senior NCO with TEN 120-180 day tours since Sep 11. It's very clear they want to know what the troops think, and to keep them informed of events. It's equally clear mister Obama does not.

From here we must move to my op part of the oped.

Obama clearly doesn't care about the troops, doesn't care about America, doesn't care about anything except hearing his own voice and the chance to sit at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue…From where he'll bring us the proven Democratic wartime leadership of Bosnia and the Balkans (US forces still there), Somalia (US forces prevailed despite being ill equipped by executive order, and taking heavy casualties), Haiti (what were we doing there again?), Desert One (oops?), Vietnam (where we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory), Korea (still there), WWI, and the fluke success of WWII won by such wonderful liberal notions as concentration camps for Japanese Americans, nukes, FBI investigations of waitresses who dated soldiers in case they were "morally corrupt" and the (valid) occupation of and continued presence in Italy, Japan and Germany for 60 years, which they are conveniently pretending won't happen with Iraq.

That's not "change." That's "failure we can do without."

Update: Second-day coverage continues here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 24, 2008 11:04 AM

There is your campaign commercial, "Obama would rather meet with Germans than wounded American soldiers".

Obama had good reason to skip meeting with our troops: they won't fall into slack-jawed swoons the moment he enters the room like his brainless minions do.

Obama also remarked that he had some spare time in Germany today and "didn't know what to do". What a slug.

Posted by: Pardo at July 24, 2008 11:22 AM

Sure hope all these guys vote.

Posted by: glenn at July 24, 2008 12:05 PM

The question isn't "Will they vote", they will. The real question should be "Will their votes get counted correctly" or will they be lost, as happened in 2004.

Posted by: chuck at July 24, 2008 12:16 PM

"The question isn't "Will they vote", they will. The real question should be "Will their votes get counted correctly" or will they be lost, as happened in 2004."

That would be my guess.

Posted by: Dan Irving at July 24, 2008 12:53 PM

It's the politics of ME.

You think he cares about anyone else more? Don't believe it. Barack Obama doesn't think about anyone but himself. Even political stances, social philosophy, or heck, any cause, is subservient to the nodding achievements of ME and it matters not the approach, method or action nor the results or consequences.

Barack Obama is the Good Cause.

Posted by: Dusty at July 24, 2008 01:13 PM

The way people here and overseas swoon over him and all the "mircles" he going to perform once he is president...he sounds like the description of the anti-Christ to me....

Posted by: mag at July 24, 2008 01:19 PM

The shocking aspect of this issue to me is Obama's level of "tone-deafness" to his overall image. It would have taken less than an hour for him to conduct a whirlwind tour of the medical facilities, posing for a few quick photos with wounded service personnel, and garnering extra points for demonstrating his "compassion" for our troops. Instead, he chose to skip a great photo-op in preference for his own personal desires.

A CIC (even a prospective CIC) must at least offer the appearance of concern for his wounded subordinates. Bill Clinton (ever the opportunist) understood this. It appears Barack Obama does not. His actions are indicative of a degree of moral bankruptcy that should concern every citizen.

Posted by: Just Askin' at July 24, 2008 01:44 PM

I saw one piece of video on the news with Obama and what looked like a bunch of troops cheering for him. Was that in Iraq? Hell...maybe it was a national guard camp in Chicago for all I know. But they looked happy to see him and it puzzled the hell out of me WHY they would be....he's been telling us for months and months that our soldiers were failing in Iraq and would never succeed. So who were these troops. There seemed to be mostly black faces in the troop crowd, so maybe that explains it.

Posted by: joyce at July 24, 2008 03:27 PM

What they won't show you is the thousands of troops who didn't give a rip about Obama showing up, the media will only concentrate on the dozen guys who trudged out to the chow hall to get a glimpse.

Posted by: Saint Patton at July 24, 2008 03:43 PM

So his current explanation is that "it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign." (From ).

This doesn't hold water. If it would be inappropriate, why did he allow his campaign staff to schedule the meeting in the first place?

The more I see of Obama, the more I'm seeing him as someone who's gotten used to getting away with extemporaneous lying, but hasn't quite come to grips with the changes that being on a national stage will give you. Especially in the age of "This is the Internet. We can fact-check your ass." So when he gets in hot water, he says something that sounds good on the surface. He doesn't realize that there are thousands of people out there willing to dig under the surface, where his off-the-cuff lie falls apart.

Only question is, how much influence do those people (mostly conservative bloggers) have over the American electorate? We'll find out this November; for myself, I have a feeling it won't be enough to keep Obama from being elected.

Look forward to Carter's second term, everyone.

Posted by: Robin Munn at July 24, 2008 04:08 PM

Whoops, messed up my link somehow. That was supposed to say "(From the Weekly Standard blog)". But at least the parenthesis links to the right place if you click on it. :-)

Posted by: Robin Munn at July 24, 2008 04:09 PM

Not that any of you would care, but is investigating this e-mail. If it's true, it's a very sad reflection on Obama. But remember how many other phony e-mails about Obama have made the rounds already.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 04:18 PM

FWIW, the email that are investigating is the first, shorter one posted above. Their investigation is at -- once they finish doing whatever research they do, I'm sure they'll post their conclusions at the same URL. They currently have nothing on the second email.

In the past, I've noticed a slight leftward-leaning slant in the editors' judgments, but in general they're pretty sound as far as research. And if by now you haven't learned to separate fact from opinion in a piece that mixes both, you need to read a lot more blogs. :-)

Posted by: Robin Munn at July 24, 2008 05:27 PM

It's a sad reflection on this website that my post from an hour ago was removed. What gives? The letter being discussed refers to fighting for our freedom... and this generally includes freedom of speech. I guess here we're only free to disrespect U.S. Senators who want to learn what is best for America's future.

Posted by: dweign at July 24, 2008 05:29 PM
It's a sad reflection on this website that my post from an hour ago was removed. What gives?

Oh, I don't know... your choice of language?

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 24, 2008 05:33 PM

I'm sorry you didn't understand my multi-syllable words. I'll make it simpler next time...

Posted by: dweign at July 24, 2008 05:51 PM

dweign sd:
"we're only free to disrespect U.S. Senators who want to learn what is best for America's future.

Learning by ignoring the military that made his photo-op tour possible? Do you people not realize how stupid you sound?

All you need to know about Obama is that if President Bush had ever followed this fool's advise, Saddam, Iran or Al Queda would, right now, be terrorizing the Iraqi people. A less obnoxious person would never have shown his face in a country for which he has campaign endlessly to leave to the barbarians.

Posted by: LogicalUS at July 24, 2008 06:08 PM

Be careful of people who think they can tell you "everything you need to know" in one sentence. Odds are it's superificial and very very oversimplified.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 06:21 PM

A quick hint, Dweign.

We don't mind polysyllabic verbiage here. What CY objects to are words that are not commonly used in polite company.

If that's too "nuanced" for you to comprehend, I'll make it simpler: Don't swear, and CY probably won't remove your comments.

FWIW, my very-conservative USMC Staff Sergeant buddy who comments here as "Matt" had one of his comments removed by CY because he used a four-letter word that started with "s" and ended with "t". I saw the post myself, then when I returned to that thread later, it was gone, so I saw it "disappear" with my own eyes. In other words, CY is non-partisan when it comes to removing comments that include unacceptable language.

You may now apologize to all us regulars here for your baseless insinuation that we do not comprehend polysyllabic words.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 06:28 PM

Thanks CCG, and I do have to apologize to CY for the comment he removed. Sometimes debate gets a bit heated and I type faster than I think.

In all honesty, he probably dumped the visit because he knew a majority of the troops would not go google eyed over him.

I am not saying that all of the troops are Conservatives, and I am not saying that none of the troops will not vote for him. I am sure there will be some that do (probably the ones with low GTs).

I would turn in my rocker before being used as a photo op for this (sorry I can't think of a clean way to articulate how I feel about him).

Posted by: Matt at July 24, 2008 07:01 PM

This is pure internet bs!

Posted by: Don Kosin at July 24, 2008 07:42 PM

Diogenes, don't give advice. You've used up all your credibility.

Dweign, I comprehend polysyllabic words. I may not quite be a regular here, but you can apologize to me too. And make it good, or else I may not accept it.

As for the actual topic of this post, maybe Obama was worried that he'd let the mask drop and make a comment to a wounded vet about their battle brothers getting "wasted".

Posted by: brando at July 24, 2008 07:44 PM

"This is pure internet bs!"

Please explain.

Posted by: Matt at July 24, 2008 07:48 PM

Diogenes, don't give advice. You've used up all your credibility.

He had some?

I may not quite be a regular here,

I'd consider you a regular. :)

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 07:49 PM

This crowd has already branded me a Commie liberal radical. That means I have no credibility on any subject and, if they had a vote, I'd be denied oxygen. Luckily, I still find a way to get through life nonetheless.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 07:52 PM

Lying again, Diogenes? I'd not vote to deny anyone oxygen without a murder conviction (which, to the best of my knowledge, you don't have)... not even an unborn baby.

Posted by: C-C-G at July 24, 2008 07:57 PM


No, Conservatives generally respect life, liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness. We even don't have a problem with 'hearing' you talk as long as it contains defensible logic/evidence.

However, from what I've read of your comments, logic/evidence is extremely lacking in most.

Posted by: Mark at July 24, 2008 08:38 PM

Ignoring diogenes and his pettiness, and getting back to the original post, I'm actually a bit suspicious about the authenticity of the first e-mail; lines like "What you see in the news is all fake" always raise my antennae.

On the other hand, I'll lay dollars to donuts that the second one is absolutely genuine. I have a cousin who just got back from Iraq, and his e-mails read just like the second one does. And nothing he says should be in the least surprising, not just as regards Obama, but anyone flying through on a celebrity photo-op. If I remember correctly, Obama himself criticized this type of overseas visit, saying (correctly, for a change) that he learned a lot more traveling to Kenya as a private citizen, and living in Indonesia, than congress folks learned on a fact-finding trip. And on most fact-finding trips, the congress critters actually try to find out some facts, which was clearly low on Obama's priority list.

So, anyway, he now has this incredible new understanding of Iraq and Afghanistan, guess we'll see what he does with it. Of course, he could have gained the same level (or more) of understanding if he'd just stuck around for the entire Petraeus testimony at the Senate, instead of just popping in to voice his "question" (which was nothing more than a slander of the General's credibility and a chance to snark for his base.)

Posted by: notropis at July 24, 2008 08:43 PM

The only thing Hussein knows about the military is that anyone without a star on his shoulder is below his (Hussein's) class of snobs.

"If the winds of politics change to the bad, I will stand with Islam". B Hussein O (In his book in his words) How can any honest person say he's not Islamic?

Posted by: Scrapiron at July 24, 2008 09:10 PM

May I suggest that all of our beloved troops who feel that Obama is thoughtless and uncaring write a letter to each of 10 family members or friends explaining what happened. The liberal news media are unfair. It's up to us to reach out to provide our relatives and friends with the truth.

I know writing letters or emails takes time. But if Obama's lies and half-truths go unchallenged, we may very well regret passing up this opportunity to expose him for what he is.

God bless our troops and our President, George W. Bush. Vote for John McCain.

Posted by: Adrian Soto at July 24, 2008 09:31 PM

Scrapiron, although that's a common smear being spread, Obama never said that.

'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.'


FULL QUOTE From Audacity of Hope:

"Whenever I appear before immigrant audiences, I can count on some good-natured ribbing from my staff after my speech; according to them, my remarks always follow a three-part structure: "I am your friend," "[Fill in the home country] has been a cradle of civilization," and "You embody the American dream." They're right, my message is simple, for what I've come to understand is that my mere presence before these newly minted Americans serves notice that they matter, that they are voters critical to my success and full-fledged citizens deserving of respect.

"Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." [Page 260-261]

Hope that's not too long, C-Y, but sometimes it takes more than a sentence or two to tell the truth.

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 09:47 PM

"he's been telling us for months and months that our soldiers were failing in Iraq and would never succeed. "

Some pretty thick cognitive blinders you got on there. He's never said anything that maligned the soldiers in Iraq, or anywhere else. He's extolled their service. He's made clear that it's the strategic decisions from the civilian leadership that have failed, the ones that led us into this war and the many other boneheaded decisions subsequent to that.

Posted by: Arbotreeist at July 24, 2008 10:50 PM

So in other words he WILL stand with the Muslims if the winds shift in an "ugly" direction. Nothing but PC rambling that actually CAN be condensed into the shorter "smear" quote. It's emblematic of how this fool fetishizes the approval of a religion that is often indifferent (if not hostile) to American values.

And "ugly" of course means any common-sense anti-terror initiatives that homegrown jihadists and their ACLU-type enablers disapprove of.

All I know is that Obambi's precious Arabs and Pakistanis better learn to police their own. If there IS a successful attack sometime in the next few years not even President HopeyChangey himself is going to save them from being ostracised by the rest of society (at best). If they don't keep their house in order, someone WILL do it for them, sooner or later.

Posted by: Nine-of-Diamonds at July 24, 2008 10:55 PM

So Pakistanis are now Muslims? Better re-check your "KKK for Dummies" instruction manual.

It's so sad to see that even some in America think that this kind of attitude is OK, that we can make blanket threats against a whole nationality, a whole race, a whole religion.

What surprises me is that, with all these vets in here that fought for America, somebody else doesn't stand up and say "Hey, wait a second...."

Posted by: diogenes at July 24, 2008 11:34 PM

Better re-check your "KKK for Dummies" instruction manual.

I've got a call in to Senator Byrd's(D-WV) office to see if I can borrow his copy.

Posted by: Gil at July 24, 2008 11:58 PM

Guys, the emails mentioned above have been exposed as false. I've pasted in below an article in the New York Daily News that concerns this, but you can check it out yourself at the NY ">Daily News

[edited by siteowner to insert html link, remove full-text copy that violates fair use]

Posted by:
Islandgirl45 at July 25, 2008 12:44 AM


Actually, I think that everything you quoted refers only to the first e-mail C-Y posted (the one dealing with Afghanistan.) Nothing I can see in your references seems to address the second e-mail (from Iraq) at all.

I figured the first one was suspicious; the second one seems much more believable.

Posted by: notropis at July 25, 2008 01:42 AM

"So, anyway, he now has this incredible new understanding of Iraq and Afghanistan, guess we'll see what he does with it."

Brother. I have been there four (or is it five, I lost count) times now, and I still do not have an incredible understanding of Iraq. One visit in the span of several years does nothing to educate you. As he has chosen to take a political route in this topic, instead of listening to those SMEs on the deck, he shows just how little understanding he has. Yes we will see what he does with it. My guess is he will continue to pander to the center until the election, then do as the rest of the far left wants.

Posted by: Matt at July 25, 2008 04:32 AM
Some pretty thick cognitive blinders you got on there. He's never said anything that maligned the soldiers in Iraq, or anywhere else. He's extolled their service.

He's said that they were the problem, that their presence in Iraq was causing more harm than good and that we need to get them out. If that's extolling their service, I'd like to visit your planet.

Posted by: Pablo at July 25, 2008 07:17 AM

Um, Diogenes, yes. Pakistanis are indeed Muslims. That's why the place was created in the first place...

Posted by: Jack Lacton at July 25, 2008 08:34 AM
Um, Diogenes, yes. Pakistanis are indeed Muslims. That's why the place was created in the first place...

Ayep. The translation of "Pakistan" is "land of the pure"; it was intended as an Islamic state from the very beginning, and has worked steadily to chase out/convert/kill all practitioners of other religions.

Posted by: Rob Crawford at July 25, 2008 08:43 AM


The second email says much of the same thing to me: "Can't name the air base...Obama clearly doesn't care about the troops, doesn't care about America..."
I see red flags all through it. It just lacks the most blatant tip-off of "What you see in the news is all fake."

I read half a dozen or more different political blogs/Web sites/news pages to get a variety of viewpoints on McCain, Obama and political issues of the day. I can't imagine taking something that slimes one candidate as the Gospel without checking it out online myself. There are nuts out there spreading sleaze about McCain as well, and I discount their stuff as fake, too.

All I'm saying is, all these angry postings about Obama are based on two anonymous email messages. People really should take them with a shaker of salt. At least do some checking first.

Posted by: Islandgirl45 at July 25, 2008 09:28 AM

I've continued the discussion in a new post and ask that you transition further comments there, as this thread has been targeted by comment spammers.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 25, 2008 10:07 AM