Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trying To Defend The Indefensible

The left, led by the Washington Post, is complaining that the attack on Obama for his decision not to visit wounded soldiers at the Landstuhl RMC is unjustified. They clearly do not understand that there is a bright line here, and however you try and spin it or justify it, Obama displayed extremely poor judgment and lack of concern by crossing it.

Landstuhl RMC is where the U.S. military transfers its seriously wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama was scheduled to visit the wounded soldiers there. The military contacted Obama's staff, letting them know that he was welcome, but that his "army" of reporters and staff were not, including one of his campaign advisors who was also a retired AF General. Obama then chose not to attend, putting the best possible spin on it - that he did so out of concern for the troops.

Lynne Sweet at the Chicago Sun Times asked Obama for a clarification which she believes makes Obama's decision justifiable.

Q. Can you clear up the controversy about visiting the troops in Germany, the Pentagon said you were more welcome to come but you cant bring the media and were not allowed to bring campaign staff other than that you are more than welcome anytime, inaudible, we have gotten a few conflicting claims...

OBAMA: The staff was working this so I don't know each and every detail but here is what I understand happened. We had scheduled to go, we had no problem at all in leaving, we always leave press and staff off that is why we left it off the schedule. We were treating it in the same way we treat a visit to Walter Reed which I was able to do a few weeks ago without any fanfare whatsoever. I was going to be accompanied by one of my advisors, former military officer. And we got notice that he would be treated as a campaign person and it would therefore be perceived as political because he had endorsed my candidacy but he wasn't on the senate staff.

That triggered then a concern that maybe our visit was going to be perceived as political and the last thing that I want to do is have injured soldiers and the staff at these wonderful institutions having to sort through whether this is political or not or get caught in the crossfire between campaigns. So rather than go forward and potentially get caught up in what might have been considered a political controversy of some sort what we decided was that we not make a visit and instead I would call some of the troops that were that. So that essentially would be the extent of the story.

Ms. Sweet, like the Washington Post and like Obama, simply does not get it.

Some things are apolitical. Visiting soldiers who are severely wounded is one of them. It is never inappropriate. It should never be weighed on the scales of political expediency.

Mr. Obama's ostensible concern for the staff having to sort through "whether this is political or not" is pure bull. His campaign was already told that he personally would be welcome, minus his entourage. His further reasoning that the troops "might get caught up in the crossfire between the campaigns" is equally baseless and even more inexplicable. Those troops at Landstuhl now know two things. Obama visited Germany to speak before 200,000 screaming Euro-lefties, but then did not make the visit over to the quieter section of Germany where they lie in beds convalescing from attacks by enemies of our country. As an aside, regardless of what anyone thinks of McCain, is it possible to envisage him criticizing Obama for visiting our wounded soldiers personally?

Obama made a decision. It was a wrong one. Apologists can spin this one any way they want to, but Obama's decision not to visit our troops crossed a bright line.

I wrote yesterday, in response to a different matter, "I could think of no man less qualified to be commander in chief than Obama. That belief is far from predicated on his lack of any military experience. It seems clear that his decision making will be guided by political expediency rather than principle. It seems clear that his decision making will always prioritize the political over military necessity or force protection. . . ." Obama's decision not to visit our wounded soldiers without press and staff falls completely in line with my assessment. No matter how anyone spins it, it showed his very poor judgement.

Let's give the former CSM of Landstuhl RMC, Craig Layton, the last word on this matter:

"Having spent two years as the Command Sergeant Major at Landstuhl Hospital, I am always grateful for the attention that facility receives from members of Congress. There is no more important work done by the United States Army than to care for those who have been wounded in the service our country. While Americans troops remain engaged in two hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a steady stream of casualties to the hospital, and a steady stream of visitors who wish to meet with those troops and thank them for their service.

"Senator Obama has explained his decision to cancel a scheduled visit there by blaming the military, which would not allow one of his political advisers to join him in a tour of the facility. Why Senator Obama felt he needed an adviser with him to visit U.S. troops is unclear, but if Senator Obama isn't comfortable meeting wounded American troops without his entourage, perhaps he does not have the experience necessary to serve as commander in chief."

(H/T Gateway Pundit)


Soccer Dad said...

Jennifer Rubin
But that in itself is a bit misleading — what the McCain camp has done is put out some eleven excuses offered by the Obama team and argue nothing justifies reneging on a promised visit. ( Yeah, the Post does mention that, two-thirds of the way through the piece.) The Post settles on the explanation that Obama campaign advisor General Gration wasn’t allowed in so Obama backed out. Not exactly taking charge is it? That and the “Who’s On First?” excuse routine is going to do him in as a great manager of men if he’s not careful.

vinny said...

GW, I hate to disagree with you but I can think of several individuals who would make a worse commander in chief than Obama. Luis Farakhan and Adam Gadahn come to mind, and I am surprised that these individuals are not officially part of team Obama. However, I do believe that Obama represents the bottom of the barrel choice.

Jimmy J. said...

Obama simply does not recognize that he is running for the job of C-in-C. Nothing could be more important than getting to know and expressing appreciation for those he hopes to lead. The fact that he does not "get it" is even more damning than his thin resume.