My, my, my it seems we are barely into good Senator Barack Obama's "fact-finding" tour of the world outside the DC beltway and already a scandal is brewing.
My military friends wasted no time today informing me that the word out of Afghanistan is that troops were ordered to attend the Obama "breakfast" that has been all over the media and blogosphere. More to the point, some troops also were ordered to alter their identities, at least as far as their home states are concerned, for the benefit of the Senator's campaign.
Apparently, the Senator's campaign people wanted to make sure that the photo ops showed the Senator talking with service personnel from the appropriate parts of the country. Appropriate in this case apparently meaning places where he needs a big boost in the polls.
So if military people pictured with Barack were from, say, Michigan, they were told to say they were from someplace like Arizona instead.
This is problematic on several fronts. Remember this portion of the trip wasn't supposed to be campaign related, just a good ol' American Senator on a junket, er, Congressional Inquiry.
If it happened - and even though I wasn't there personally, this came in the way of far more than just rumors - there are a number of violations involved, civilian and military.
I saw Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday today insisting that Barack's trip was NOT taxpayer funded, even though the part where he was in Afghanistan IS taxpayer funded, because the Afghan part of the trip is supposed to be only about real, serious, Senate type stuff. That would be the kind of stuff one can only find during photo ops in the president's palace and the troops' dining facility, I guess.
Stuff you would find out by going out into the combat environments apparently was not on the list.
Well, we shouldn't worry about that. Wallace also interviewed Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the show Sunday. The admiral just came back from some far-forward front-line touring, along with Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin and her film crew.
I'm not trying to give anyone an ulcer here, but if Barack is short on war stories and is in danger of trying to make more of his experiences than they warrant, he could always ask Jennifer for some pointers on what happens when one is right up against a firefight instead of sipping java in the dining facility. She and the crew with her were within range of Taliban weapons in at least one of the segments Fox showed, so the lady is a veteran and has some war stories to tell.
Aside from the Obama campaign's attempt to circumvent government regulations (if it happened as I was told it did) and turn his Afghanistan visit into a campaign sideshow - at taxpayer expense - I also am concerned that any military commanders would go along with this chicanery.
Are we in the middle of a two-front war and forcing our military commanders to watch their political rear ends at the same time they are ducking bombs and bullets?
This warrants an investigation. A serious investigation, not a political investigation. Did Obama misuse his position and taxpayer dollars to turn what is supposed to be a non-political trip into a campaign appearance?
Did commanders order troops to attend the Obama breakfast and lie about their true identities so his campaign could benefit?
And while we are at it, why was there far more air security for Obama's visit than our top generals receive when they are working in the area?
Obviously there were plenty of media people around in Afghanistan, otherwise I wouldn't know about this would I? So why didn't a single one of these so-called objective, non-political journalists find out about this?
After all, I am thousands of miles away and word got to me pretty quickly. What kind of journalists are we dealing with that can't come up with this story on their own when they are right on the scene?
Sunday, July 20, 2008