Obama Landstuhl Controversy
Friday, July 25, 2008
Hey, I am about as sick as all of you about all of the Obama-mania coverage here at Blackfive. I'm posting his visit and some photos and some emails about his visit. After all, he is the presumed Dem nominee and presumed front runner in this election and he's touring military bases and combat zones.
There is a controversy about his planned, and then canceled, visit to Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany. On this point, Jimbo and I disagree.
The visit to Landstuhl to meet our wounded should not have been canceled. Even the most savvy political whore would know that would not play well in the media...unless those whores thought that they pwned the media...
For example, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting the spin from the Obama Campaign whereas MSNBC actually talked to the folks at Landstuhl about the visit. Via Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee:
Chicago Sun Times:
...Though the Rammstein visit had been planned for days, Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said that that Pentagon notified Obama military advisor Scott Gration only yesterday or the day before that he should not come.
The Pentagon "viewed this as a campaign event and therefore they said he should not come," Axelrod said. Obama has been at the base in previous overseas trips. He visited with troops--even played basketball--when he touched down in Kuwait during the Iraq and Afghanistan leg of his swing...
...A U.S. military official tells NBC News they were making preparations for Sen. Barack Obama to visit wounded troops at the Landstuhl Medical Center at Ramstein, Germany on Friday, but "for some reason the visit was called off."
One military official who was working on the Obama visit said because political candidates are prohibited from using military installations as campaign backdrops, Obama's representatives were told, "he could only bring two or three of his Senate staff member, no campaign officials or workers." In addition, "Obama could not bring any media. Only military photographers would be permitted to record Obama's visit."
The official said "We didn't know why" the request to visit the wounded troops was withdrawn. "He (Obama) was more than welcome. We were all ready for him."
Anyway, I am disappointed that the Senators (and my Senator, Barack Obama) did not visit the wounded at Landstuhl. Surely, there was a Soldier or Marine there from Illinois, let alone the rest of the states.
Someone needs to ask Senator Obama, point blank, "why, as the wounded troops' potential Commander-In-Chief, he didn't take that opportunity?"
Perhaps the troops didn't need audacity of hope or change that they can believe in....
I'd be interested in whether he blames the Pentagon or not. Was the whole trip a Congressional Delegation or was it a PR stunt for the campaign (in which case he owes the Pentagon some money - JP8 ain't cheap these days)?
I've visited wounded troops many times and, each and every time, I've come out of the experience a better man for it. Going in, it always seems tough - hospitals are not everyone's favorite place to be or to stay - but there's an amazing humility and strength in talking with a man who just got shot up, is worried about his buddies still in the fight, and wants to do everything he can to get back into the fight.
And Senator Obama should have taken that opportunity.
He needs it.
[Update: Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee talked with an official in Iraq about the visit there and claims it was not like other congressional visits - it was purely a rubber stamp for a campaign trip.]