Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama smeared over phony troop snub

I got this email the other day forwarded to me by my brother-in-law who is in the Army National Guard. It describes a visit by Barack Obama to a military base in Afghanistan where he supposedly does not take the time to shake hands and visit with the soldiers.
I can understand why something like this would upset him. The only thing is I don’t believe it is true. Here is the bulk of the email:

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 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.

In service,
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
American Soldier

I took the name off so as not to disparage anyone. The person who wrote this didn’t necessarily make it all up. From their perspective, it may have been accurate as far as what they saw. But they clearly didn’t see the whole picture.
Since this email has come out it has gone viral on the Internet and now it turns out not to have been true afterall as I suspected.

Army officials refute claim of Barack Obama snub in Afghanistan
By James Gordon Meek
Updated Friday, July 25th 2008, 10:05 AM
WASHINGTON - The latest chain e-mail smear against Barack Obama: He "blew off" troops at an Afghan base to shoot hoops for a publicity photo.
The letter was apparently written by a Utah Army National Guard intelligence officer in a linguist unit at Bagram Airfield who claimed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was rude to G.I.s.
"As the soldiers where [sic] lined up to shake his hand he blew them off," wrote the Task Force Wasatch "battle captain."
But angry Army brass debunked the Obama-bashing soldier's allegations, which went viral Thursday over the Web and on military blogs such as Blackfive.
The e-mail claims Obama repeatedly shunned soldiers on his way to the Clamshell - a recreation tent - to "take his publicity pictures playing basketball."
"These comments are inappropriate and factually incorrect," said Bagram spokeswoman Army Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, who added that such political commentary is barred for uniformed personnel.
Obama didn't play basketball at Bagram or visit the Clamshell, she said. Home-state troops were invited to meet him, but his arrival was kept secret for security reasons.
"We were a bit delayed ... as he took time to shake hands, speak to troops and pose for photographs," Nielson-Green said.
E-mails to the officer who made the charges and a call to his wife were not returned.

It didn’t make sense that any politician worth their weight in salt would be so politically obtuse as to “blow off the troops” during a campaign stop at a military base. And certainly not a politician of the caliber of Barack Obama. It’s nonsense. Would John McCain blow off a bunch of union workers during a visit to a factory so he can hobnob with the fat cat CEO? Of course not. And Obama isn’t snubbing our troops during his tour of the Middle East.
There are going to be a good number of people who are going to vote against Obama regardless, but if they want to have a reason for voting against him they should look for something legitimate, like a disagreement over a policy issue, and not something bogus and exaggerated like this.

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