In the last Democratic debate, Barack Obama let fly with another of his homely little anecdotes that once again proves that when it comes to the military, he is not only clueless but not even a decent fabricator:
"You know, I've heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon--supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon. Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. And as a consequence, they didn't have enough ammunition, they didn't have enough Humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief."
The milbloggers had a great time debunking this horse manure.
Stuart Koehl at The Weekly Standard:
Well, captains command companies, not rifle platoons. A rifle platoon is normally commanded by a 2nd lieutenant, sometimes (if short handed) by a senior sergeant. So for starters, Obama betrays a woeful ignorance of military organization and the chain of command. Then he remarks that the platoon was under-strength because 15 of its men had been "sent to Iraq." Sorry, the Army doesn't work that way. Platoons are organic units, consisting of three rifle squads, a heavy weapons squad, and a headquarters section. You can't break it up. It is the smallest building block in the infantry that can conduct fire-and-movement tactics.
So, no matter what, if the Army needed to shift men from Afghanistan to Iraq, it would have done so either by detaching the whole platoon, or, more likely, an entire company from its parent battalion, because a company is an administrative as well as a tactical unit, and believe me, the Army would sooner fight with one hand tied behind its back than create administrative hassles for itself.
Maybe the captain was commanding something other than a rifle platoon--perhaps a company headquarters unit, or an intelligence or communications unit, or some other small specialist unit, but in that case, the loss of troops is not nearly as critical as Obama's story implies. "High-Demand/Low-Density" specialists are always being moved around because there just aren't enough of them to go around. Period. It's a chronic problem not just in the military, but in civilian life as well.
The idea that our guys were scrounging weapons and ammo because they were short is ludicrous. How much ammo you carry is done on a "per man" basis in the infantry--each solder carries a "basic load," which is backed up by reserve supplies at company, battalion, and above. It is possible to run out of ammunition, temporarily, in the midst of an intense firefight... Weapons like the M4 Carbine, the M16A3 rifle, and especially the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) can burn through ammo like fire through dry tinder. Since each man carries perhaps 200 rounds into a firefight (about six or seven magazines), he can easily expend it all in a matter of minutes (which is the reason the Army teaches fire discipline).
To the best of my knowledge, no U.S. forces in either Afghanistan or Iraq ever ran out of ammunition for more than a few hours at most. When you consider that we were operating in Afghanistan at the tenuous end of a 8,000 mile supply line, that's pretty impressive.
Another leetle problem with Obama's story was pointed out by Ace of Spades - that the ammo is different in the AK47 and the M-16, and that in order for all those Taliban weapons to work,our warriors would have to be capturing loads of 7.62 ammo to go with it:
Just So I Understand This... But Afghanistan is apparently awash in NATO 5.56mm ammunition, which can be used to load NATO guns, if only it can be taken (via fisticuffs, I imagine) from the local Afghan warlords and Taliban fighters?
Really? NATO 5.56mm, huh? In a third world country? A third world country with tons of AK-47s and AK-74s because it is 1) a third world country and 2) a former conquest off the Soviet Union?
But they're, like, completely stocked with NATO 5.56mm rounds over there, huh?
As with all of the other nonsense he's been caught in, Senator Obama has his usual 'explanation'. According to Obama spokesmouth David Axelrod,Obama didn't actually speak to the anonymous captain,but "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."
Obama should stick to vague promises of `hope and change'..every time he actually tries to put some substance behind the mindless platitudes,the mask slips.
People get the kind of government they deserve. If we elect this charlatan, we'll deserve what we get.