February 23, 2008

This smells bogus . . .

Obama's claim of underequipped troops in Afghanistan. Via Fox. It is a lot like SWMNBN's story about being turned away by a Marine recruiter when she was a law professor in Arkansas. The tale sounds impressive to the Lefty true-believers whose experience with the military is limited to watching "Stripes", but lacks the details which would allow serious investigation. In other words, it is completely unverifiable.

Yips! from Robbo: Sen. Warner has issued a letter to Obamessiah requesting those poison-pills to overheated rhetoric....specific facts. Stand by for lots of huffing and puffing and well-I-heard-it-from-my-friend-whose-roomate's-boyfriend-heard-it-from-his-sister-who's-dating-a-guy-who-heard-it-somewhere.

Posted by LMC at February 23, 2008 09:34 AM | TrackBack

I am sure that in the time we've been in Afghanistan, there have been firefights where troops have run low on ammo; where they've exhausted their basic load of ammo. There may even have been firefights where troops, out of ammo, have grabbed a dead enemy's AK.

So, on the micro scale, has this happened? Undoubtedly. On the macro scale, do we have shortages of ammunition? No.

You carry a basic load of ammunition. When I was in Germany, it was 210 rounds, or 7 30 round magazines. You go through that ammo, you have to get resupplied either through cross-leveling (i.e., borrowing a magazine from someone else) or by the higher headquarters dropping off ammo. Typically, if a platoon is operating alone for a period of time for extended patrolling, or in a firebase, you're going to have a stockpile of ammunition more than the basic load.

Now if you're in a firebase besieged by 100 Taliban, you're going to radio higher headquarters for help, both tactical and logistical. Might take them awhile to respond depending on METT-T (mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time) and weather. So you pick your shots, and you try to strip nearby enemy dead of weapons. Eventually a helicopter shows up and drops you more ammo, or a fresh unit comes in and relieves you.

This is all "pretty standard stuff" as Dr. Evil would say. It is stuff the army trains for and practices. Not every private in the army has an infinite supply of instantaneously available ammuntion; this isn't HALO and there are no cheat codes.

The Vietnam experience also indicated to the Army that if troops have too much ammunition, they will burn it off indiscriminately, which is why the M16 was changed from having a fully-automatic mode to having a 3 round burst.

For Obama to try to demagogue the realities of logistics to try to assert we are logistically screwed up or that the military is logistically incompetent is just beyond stupidity. He simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

Posted by: The Abbot at February 23, 2008 10:32 AM