Mea Culpa

The s*** is hitting the fan about an email posted all over the blogosphere about the veracity of a GI who gave a ‘first person’ account of part of Barak Obama’s “fact finding” tour last week. I chose to post the GI’s words here after I came across it on another milblog. My first inkling that all was not as it appeared – gasp! – came in the form of a comment to me from a Vietnam veteran friend.

I went back to my original source, and find that, in fact, the GI is recanting some of his words. Curiouser and curiouser, even though some of the information in the original email was retracted, there appears to some interesting choice of photo images. From Blackfive:

The Army Times and AP Use False Photo to Denounce “Obama Blew off the troops” email

Posted By Blackfive

RE: Obama’s visit to Bagram

First, I must say thank you to commenter FreedomWarrior. Without his cynical posts, I would not be able to point this out.

The Army Times decided to weigh in on the email from Afghanistan about the Obama visit. Please go read their account.

Yes, for the thousandth time, we have established that Senator Obama did not play basketball at Bagram airfield or visit a specific tent.

I apologize, sincerely and contritely, for posting an email from a soldier in Afghanistan suggesting that Senator Obama played basketball.

However, that is not very important in establishing whether he did indeed blow off the troops (like Landstuhl). I posted photos of the Senator meeting with troops at Camp Eggers and other places. He did meet with troops and did not blow them off at other bases. This is a fact (one that we here at Blackfive helped establish). I commend Senator Obama for visiting the troops and making his first trip to Iraq.

I have been asking for photos and searched for hours for photos of the Senator talking to troops at Bagram. That would debunk this whole notion that he didn’t talk to the troops at Bagram, wouldn’t it?

At that Army Times post, part of their evidence is a photo of Senator Obama talking to troops at Bagram – the caption states “Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama speaks to troops at Bagram Air Field on July 19.“.

Here’s the AP photo on the Army Times site:

Army_obama500_072708 AP Photo

Just one minor problem here – that’s not Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

THAT’S CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT.

There is more – of course – and you really should read that here.

And yes, the Army Times DID weigh in, and go directly to the source in the sandbox.


Officer: Part of anti-Obama e-mail was wrong

By Matthew Cox and Rick Maze – Staff writers
Posted : Sunday Jul 27, 2008 10:04:27 EDT

An Army officer’s negative e-mail account of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit with the troops in Afghanistan that set the blogosphere ablaze prompted Army officials to correct aspects of the e-mail and resulted in a statement from the message’s author that “some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong.” (source)

In that interview, the original writer of the email says:

“I am writing this to ask that you delete my e-mail and not forward it, after checking my sources some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong. This e-mail was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the e-mail and if there are any blogs you have my e-mail portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too.”

I have removed this original post as per this soldier’s request. Yes, of course, this whole incident does raise questions about the integrity of us bloggers who rushed to print. In this instance, I am as guilty as much of the msm who I have always been quick to accuse of apparent bias. BUT – as anyone who knows me will tell – if the main player in this whole trip had been McCain, or anyone else, with the same email sent out, I would have printed it. I like to think that my political opinions do not get in the way of even-handed presentation of the facts. In this case, I did print something that the source later retracted. And yes, unlike the msm, I am printing MY apology on the “front page,” not page G36.

I am guessing that this GI has now learned what many of us have been aware of for a loooooong time. Once anything goes out on the internet, the original author loses control of it.

It is often said that in times of war, truth is the first victim. This episode has reminded me of the need for vigilance in the pursuit of that truth.

No excuses from me though – mea maximus culpa.

Brat

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