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Thread: Pentagon blocks Barack Obama from visiting wounded troops. Highly illegal.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Angry Pentagon blocks Barack Obama from visiting wounded troops. Highly illegal.

    This is rich -- and disturbing.

    The very Pentagon leaders that do not take care of the wounded troops, see this post, prevented Barack Obama from visiting wounded troops in Germany. The Pentagon claimed Obama's visit would be political. He's a United States Senator for Christ sakes. Blocking Obama's visit is politics. Who at the Pentagon made this call? I want names.

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyXt2RsNShI[/YOUTUBE]

    A person or people, not "the Pentagon," made the decision to prevent a U.S. Senator from visiting soldiers. John wrote earlier this week about the Chairman of the Joints Chief inappropriately injecting his views into the campaign. Be interesting to know which Pentagon officials gave this order -- and who was consulted from the Bush/Cheney administration.

    For the GOP, "support the troops" is just a political slogan -- and that Bush/Cheney/Rove/McCain crowd uses every opportunity to play politics with these issues. If you have any doubts about how ugly this campaign is going to get, watch how McCain tries to exploit the fact that Obama didn't visit troops in Germany -- after "the Pentagon" blocked the trip.

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    Uh yeah.. highly illegal, all of it.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Bullshit. The Pentagon did not 'bar' him from visiting the troops. This story is all over the place, and first the Obama camp said one thing, then another.......and they've admitted that Obama himself made the decision to cancel the visit

    Obama Camp Pins Scrubbed Troop Visit on Pentagon

    Obama Camp says Pentagon Tried to Limit Their Planned Troop Visit in Germany

    By SUNLEN MILLER

    July 25, 2008 —

    The Obama campaign and the Pentagon are putting forth different versions of what happened before Sen. Barack Obama cancelled a planned Friday morning visit to the Ramstein air force base in Germany.

    The Obama campaign has suggested the Pentagon interferred with their decision to visit U.S. troops at the Ramstein and Landstuhl U.S. military bases in Germany.

    In the air flying from Berlin to Paris, Obama senior advisor Robert Gibbs spent 45 minutes speaking to the press over the course of three media availabilities in an attempt to clarify what appeared to be dueling reasons for cancelling the trip: statements both sent out last night by the campaign.

    It all began when the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article Thursday saying Obama's planned trip to visit US troops stations in Germany, including injured troops from Iraq, had been cancelled.

    Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs had told ABC News Thursday in a statement, "The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign."

    The McCain campaign quickly slammed Obama over his decision to cancel the visit.

    "Barack Obama is wrong," said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers Thursday. "It is never 'inappropriate' to visit our men and women in the military."

    Obama adviser Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration (Ret.), who liased with the Pentagon on the logistics of Obama's trip to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Europe, later elaborated on why Obama decided to scrub the planned visit.

    "We learned from the Pentagon last night that the visit would be viewed instead as a campaign event," Gration said Thursday. "Sen. Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perceived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go."

    But clearly smarting from criticism over the cancelled visit, the Obama campaign again attempted to clarify their reasons for cancelling the trip.

    In the air flying from Berlin to Paris Friday, Gibbs spent 45 minutes spinning the press over the course of three media availabilities in an attempt to clarify what appeared to be dueling reasons for cancelling the trip: statements both sent out last night by the campaign.

    Gen. Gration cited that per the Pentagon the trip would be viewed as a campaign stop. But in a second statement, Gibbs cited the reason as Obama's feeling that it would be "inappropriate" because the campaign was funding that leg of the trip.

    Gibbs attempted to clarify the contradiction on the plane Friday morning: "The statement that I sent out and the statement that Gen. Gration sent out are consistent in that what Gen. Gration learned from the Pentagon that the trip to Ramstein and Landstuhl will be viewed as a campaign stop. The decision that Sen. Obama made with that information was that we would not put our warriors in the position of being involved in a campaign stop. Therefore he made the decision not to make the stop."

    Pentagon Disputes Obama Camp's Version

    Gibbs explained the details of the planning of the visit, known as the tick tock, and suggested the Pentagon came to the Obama campaign late in the game citing a regulation issue in making the case for the Obama campaign to cancel the visit.

    The campaign would not answer if Obama was denied outright from visiting the base.

    Per Gibbs, Gen. Gration had been in contact with the Pentagon for three weeks during the planning of the visit. On July 15 or 16, he said the campaign received a PPR, a "prior permission required" - which was required to land a nonmilitary aircraft (Obama's campaign plane) at an airbase in Germany.

    Everything was fine until Wednesday when Gen. Gration received new information from the Pentagon, saying that this visit would be viewed as a campaign stop.

    The Pentagon said Obama could visit as a senator with Illinois wounded troops but that was it. Gration dealt with the legislative affairs office within the office of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

    The campaign said they too cited "a regulation" - but again would not answer if they were forbidden from visiting.

    " He could go as a United States senator, but it was pretty clear from the guidance that we received from the Pentagon that the trip would be viewed as a campaign stop. Given the information that we had received Sen. Obama made the decision that we were not gonna have wounded men and women become involved in a campaign event or what would be perceived as a campaign event," Gibbs told reporters Friday.

    Gibbs said Obama made the final decision to cancel the visit after consulting with advisors on the flight Thursday from Tel Aviv to Berlin.
    Gibbs then said either way - if they kept the visit on their schedule or not - it would have been criticized, "We might have gotten criticism for going, [but] we have been criticized for not going."

    However the Pentagon pushed backed against the Obama campaign's version of events.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman took a host of questions on the topic at this morning's on-the-record gaggle.

    He said the Pentagon didn't discourage Obama's visit and denied the Pentagon rebuked the campaign about the appropriateness of the planned visit.

    "We learned a few days ago of the interest in Sen. Obama going to Landsthul and all we did was simply remind people just to remember our longstanding guidance with respect to policital campaigns in an election year," Whitman said, "And remind them that Sen. Obama is a sitting senator or has an interest and is welcome to visit an installation, to include something like Landstuhl, but his visit would need to be done consistent with a visit as a sitting senator."

    However Whitman noted that officials at Landstuhl were aware of DOD's long-standing guidelines to distinguish between the visit of a sitting senator and a visit under the auspices of a political campaign.

    "I think the issue here is you are both a sitting senator and a political candidate. When you are doing things like a visit to Landstuhl you need to do it in your sitting capacity or you have to do it within the restrictions that apply to any other candidate that might be running for office that is not a sitting senator," he said, "So you have to be able to draw those distinctions. Generally speaking the miltary tries very hard not to get involved in political campaigns ...there are certain activities that are not appropriate," he said, noting that a campaign speech on a military installation would not be allowed.
    Whitman also said tv cameras and reporters would not have been permitted at the hospital.

    ABC News: Obama Campaign Pins Scrubbed Visit to Troops on Pentagon

    Obama scraps visit to wounded US troops in Germany

    18 hours ago
    BERLIN (AP) — Sen. Barack Obama scrapped plans to visit wounded members of the armed forces in Germany as part of his overseas trip, a decision his campaign said was made because the Democratic presidential candidate thought it would be inappropriate on a campaign-funded journey.

    A campaign adviser said the U.S. military saw the visit as a campaign stop.

    "We learned from the Pentagon last night that the visit would be viewed instead as a campaign event," the adviser, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, said in a statement.

    "Senator Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perveived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go."

    The Associated Press: Obama scraps visit to wounded US troops in Germany



    Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the campaign was initially given clearance to land at Ramstein Air Base, but were told by the Pentagon Wednesday that the trip “would be viewed as a campaign stop.”

    Obama also had plans to visit the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Gibbs said on the flight from Tel Aviv to Germany, Obama made the call not to go.

    “Senator Obama made the decision that we were not going to have wounded men and women become involved in a campaign event or what would be perceived as a campaign event,” Gibbs said.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told FOX News the Pentagon did not tell Obama he couldn’t visit, but explained that he would be under specific restrictions.

    “We do have certain policy guidelines for political campaigns and elections and what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in those situations,” he said. “The issue here is that if you are both a sitting senator and a political candidate … you need to do it in your capacity as a sitting senator or you have to do it with the restrictions that apply to any other candidate out there that might be running for office that is not a sitting senator.”

    A memo sent out Wednesday from Undersecretary of Defense David Chu explained that Obama’s visit to such a military facility would be limited under these circumstances. Obama would not have been able to bring any of his campaign staff — only one Senate staffer and security. He also would not have been able to address the media or make any campaign-related statements.

    The Obama campaign said Thursday it would be “inappropriate” to make such a stop on the campaign-funded leg of his trip, after the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on the cancellations.
    Obama Camp: Visit to Troops Would Have Seemed Too Political - America’s Election HQ


    Obama Cancels Trip to Visit Wounded U.S. Soldiers (Update4)
    By Patrick Donahue and Julianna Goldman

    July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama canceled a visit to wounded American soldiers at a U.S. military base in southwest Germany after the Pentagon raised issues about whether the trip was campaign-related.

    Scott Gration, a foreign-policy adviser to Obama, said that the U.S. Defense Department told the campaign late yesterday that the visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center would be viewed as ``a campaign event.'' The military said that, while it endorsed a visit, it determined that Obama wasn't allowed to be accompanied to the medical center by campaign staff.

    Bloomberg.com: Germany



    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; July 25th, 2008 at 12:07 PM.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    innnnnnnnnnteresting.. if the pentagon did do it, it's still illegal. If Obama did it, it's not.

    Let's see how this washes in the next week or so
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Here's a story about this type deal going back to April:

    Thu April 3, 2008

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Stops by Sen. John McCain at U.S. Navy bases this week prompted internal Navy and Pentagon discussions, according to a military official with direct knowledge of the discussions.

    The official said the discussions regarding the McCain appearances, including Wednesday's speech and private meetings at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where his son is midshipman, "were not contentious" and there is no allegation of any wrongdoing.

    The staff discussions came as the Pentagon recently updated a military directive spelling out restrictions on the U.S. military during political campaigning.

    Candidates for office have long been prohibited from engaging in political activities at U.S. military installations or using U.S. military personnel in their political appearances. Presidential campaign staffs generally are very familiar with these military rules.

    The stops were part of McCain's "Service to America" tour, which kicked off on Monday and were approved by the Pentagon office of general counsel.

    With Department of Defense rules prohibiting political campaigning on military bases, it was determined that in some cases McCain could visit the installations as a senator but could not engage in any political activity or have news media present.

    McCain campaign officials said Thursday they intentionally did not campaign on military property.

    "We follow the rules," said senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt.
    Because all three presidential candidates are sitting senators, DoD officials have privately noted for some weeks that the whole matter of drawing the line between Senate business and campaigning is sensitive.

    A U.S. Army official told CNN there are no pending requests from any of the campaigns to visit Army bases at this time. He noted that Sen. Barack Obama recently visited Fayetteville, North Carolina, but did not go to Fort Bragg; and Sen. Hillary Clinton visited Killeen, Texas, but did not go to Fort Hood.

    For his Wednesday visit to the U.S. Naval Academy -- of which he is a graduate -- McCain was allowed to make a political appearance at the academy's football stadium because it is privately owned property and is not owned or run by the U.S. military.

    Earlier in the day, when McCain had breakfast with midshipmen on academy grounds, it was closed to the press and considered a private event.

    The military spokesman points out that any U.S. senator could also request to visit the academy or any military installation.

    But the Navy declined a McCain campaign request to speak at the Naval Aviation Museum at the naval base in Pensacola, Florida, because it is a military owned installation and is located on the base, the official said.

    McCain did attend an airshow over the weekend at the Navy base in Meridian, Mississippi, because it was open to the general public. But he declined to answer political questions from reporters traveling with him.

    In his remarks in Meridian, McCain focused on how his upbringing and his family's military history shaped his views for the future.

    "By all accounts, the McCains of Carroll County were devoted to one another and their traditions; a lively, proud and happy family on the Mississippi Delta," McCain said, describing the area considered his "ancestral home."

    McCain, became the presumptive GOP presidential nominee following the March 4 primaries
    Pentagon walks fine line in 2008 campaign - CNN.com



    Obama could have went without the press, and his campaign staff...if visiting the wounded was a priority.......but like Gus Van Sant wrote 'what's the point of doing something worthwhile if no one is watching".
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    See, i find that amusing since the entagon, Petraeus and everybody else who's not supposed to be sticking their face in political issues have been shilling for McCain quite steadily over the last month.. Not to mention all the officers standing around like props at Bush events over the last 8 years

    suddenly now Obama's visit is "too political"? interesting
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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    To be honest, I am not surprised. Most of the time, it is hard for family members even to visit. Something about the mental state of the patient and that they could possibly reveal information that is critical.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    The Pentagon should be more concerned about taking care of the wounded troops than worrying about who is visiting them. But I find it funny how the Pentagon doesn't want candidates using troops in political campaign stops, but have no problem when draft-dodger Bush uses the troops as a prop when he wants to sell this bullshit war.

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Bullshit. Obama chose NOT to go there because he couldn't use the visit as a photo op. This has been confirmed by NBCs Jim Mikleshewski (sp).

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Bullshit. Obama chose NOT to go there because he couldn't use the visit as a photo op. This has been confirmed by NBCs Jim Mikleshewski (sp). But as long as Grimm's liberal blogger cites 'sources' it must be true. YAWN.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    So one talking head says one thing, another says something different, but yours must be true i suppose?
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    By the way, Bryan Whitman (the supposed Pentagon spokesperson) is a Bush and Rumsfeld bitch who's been spitting lies against Obama for years now.

    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.


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    Silver Member FriendOrFoe's Avatar
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    Obama was told that he could visit, but could not take the media with him. When he heard that, he decided it wasn't worth his time to visit the soldiers and decided to go work out instead.

    If there is no photo op - what's the point?

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    That's not the way he tells it.. he's visited wounded troops at Walter Reed numerous times, however the ever political Pentagon told him he wasn't allowed to visit the troops because he was campaigning and it would be inappropriate as they aren't supposed to be used as a political prop (despite many Petagon military officials showing up at Bush events, funny that).. he agreed and decided not do it.. then McSame, who was told the every same thing and did the very same thing, starts castigating Obama for it?

    The McSame bus.. in full Karl Rove mode. That little greasy sweatball is working overtime lately for McSame.
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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FriendOrFoe View Post
    Obama was told that he could visit, but could not take the media with him. When he heard that, he decided it wasn't worth his time to visit the soldiers and decided to go work out instead.

    If there is no photo op - what's the point?
    Proves someone isn't doing their research as once exclaimed. Actually, if his Senate staff was still traveling with him, he would've been allowed to visit the troops. However, his campaign staff was with him, and allegedly the Pentagon said it would look like he was campaigning and politicizing the troops!
    As far as him exercising[if you are talking about the basketball game that McCain, and the GOP are running in ads 'saying he would rather play, and not visit with the troops'..that was actually done Monday while he was in Kuwait with the TROOPS stationed there!
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    Silver Member FriendOrFoe's Avatar
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    I have read a few more things on this, and while he could have visited with one of his Senate aids, he chose not to out of respect for the soldiers. He did visit wounded soldiers in other places as part of a congressional group.

    I stand corrected on this.

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