Last February, Barack Obama told an anecdote of a soldier who was shipped to Afghanistan:
You know, I’ve heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon — supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon. Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq.
And as a consequence, they didn’t have enough ammunition, they didn’t have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief. Now, that’s a consequence of bad judgment.
The story was true, but many in the traditional media immediately jumped all over that story because John McCain — and a GOP press hack at the Pentagon said it wasn’t true:
NBC, also spoke to the soldier, but gave the McCain campaign the headline it wanted “Pentagon questions Obama’s soldier story.” NBC quoted Bush appointee/Pentagon flack Bryan Whitman:
“I find that account pretty hard to imagine,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
“Despite the stress that we readily acknowledge on the force, one of the things that we do is make sure that all of our units and service members that are going into harm’s way are properly trained, equipped and with the leadership to be successful,” he said.
Okay, that is so not true. But what else would you expect. Whitman’s been flacking at the Pentagon since the Rumsfeld days. Think of all the misinformation and lies he spewed at us.
Whitman not only engaged in partisan politics, he basically lied about the situation in Afghanistan to NBC. Obama’s version was accurate. Whitman’s wasn’t.
Fast forward to July of 2008: Which Pentagon political hack is right smack in the middle of the latest manufactured controversy about Obama’s visit to the troops in Germany — a political controversy being pushed by “The Pentagon”? That’s right. Bryan Whitman. Yes, apparently when the press talks about “The Pentagon” they mean Bryan Whitman — and Whitman was quite happy to stir the pot on this one:
The Pentagon said on Friday that it did not prevent an Obama visit.
“Nobody denied Senator Obama the opportunity to visit our wounded being cared for at Landstuhl. Obviously, as a sitting senator, he has an interest in that and can certainly visit in an official capacity,” said Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the Pentagon, who added that there are “restrictions on what you can do as a candidate for political office, that stems from trying to maintain political neutrality and not have the military involved in politics.”
“The senator’s staff was informed of the limits on what the military can do with respect to a political campaign and how we could support a senator’s visit to Landstuhl and, quite frankly, I expected them to have the visit,” Whitman said.
Quite frankly, no one should believe anything Bryan Whitman says on behalf of “The Pentagon.” He’s a GOP political operative who has done a lot of Bush, Cheney and Rummy’s dirty work from his press perch at the Pentagon for years. The guy has no compunction about engaging in politics. And, he’s the one pushing this latest fake controversy. In February, Obama was right. Whitman was wrong. Same now.
It must be so easy to work in the Bush administration. Facts don’t matter and anything can be said to further the GOP agenda. But, after eight years of this, you’d think a reporter like Dan Balz at the Washington Post would see the political motives behind Bryan Whitman’s spin. But, that is clearly asking too much.
NOTE FROM JOHN: And it’s get better. Check out McCain’s latest attempt to get noticed:
The campaign of Obama’s GOP rival, Sen. John McCain, was quick to criticize the decision. “Barack Obama is wrong,” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. “It is never ‘inappropriate’ to visit our men and women in the military.”
First off, no – it’s NEVER appropriate to visit our men and women in the military if they’re injured and you’re just doing it as a political stunt in order to use them as props. McCain is flat out wrong about this. Obama didn’t go in order not to appear to be using our men and women as props. He should be lauded for this – obviously McCain thinks it’s okay to use them as props. Second, it was the Pentagon guy himself who said that there are limits on such visits – so is McCain saying the Pentagon is wrong, that there should never be such limits? Sure is. Maybe McCain is simply confused.