August 2, 2008

Loose lips sink ships — or reputations

In this case, the ship -- or rather, reputation -- sunk by a loose-lipped soldier was his own.

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

“As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to 'The War Zone'. I wanted to share with you what happened. ...
“As the Soldiers were lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. ...”

---------- End Forwarded Message ----------

Well, dontcha know, the American soldier who fired off this miffed missive signed it with his full name, rank and unit – which, since he is in a war zone, is just a teensy bit off-protocol.

He later recanted this testimony, but not before his family, friends, friends of friends and probably a few thousand people he never heard of were forwarding it to everyone in their e-mail address books.

Then, one of those thousands forwarded it to me.

Now, you must understand, anything with “Fw:” at the beginning of it that lands in my inbox -- unless it’s a joke -- gets run through the Snopes-o-meter.

Sure enough, the folks at Snopes were getting this thing almost before Obama returned to the States. They also got a bunch of mail from troops whose experience with Obama was completely opposite that of the disgruntled correspondent quoted above. One of those soldiers wrote, “I don't know who this captain saw, but it wasn't the Barack Obama *I* just saw in Afghanistan. Unlike most of the pols who breeze on through for nothing more than brief photo ops before leaving he was warm, friendly & engaging (as much as security would allow) with the troops he met and he was genuinely interested in us and our mission and how we could best serve our country.”

As for myself, I disagree with Barak Obama’s political positions on ... just about everything. But let’s fight fair, shall we? I mean, if you are going to slam a candidate, do it on the basis of his benighted ideas about how to fight a war or his lack of support for manned space flight.

But don’t lie about him.

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