Saturday, June 05, 2010

Do reservist/congressmen in the field put soldiers at risk?

As I've been chipping away at Kirk's falsehoods about his military service (which seem, by no means, to be the full extent of his lies), it struck me this morning that the worst part of Kirk's stories might be the parts that are true.

When I was in Afghanistan, one of my jobs was to help get journalists embedded in units in the field. When we sent a reporter out, we had to decide whether to send a public affairs soldier along as well. This decision was made depending on the unit's mission and the journalist's background. We couldn't take the risk of screwing up a mission or getting someone hurt because a grunt had to save some reporter's ass.

Kirk claimed to have "deployed" to Afghanistan, but he merely traveled there for two-week-long orders. He has said that during his tour he saw "some of the roughest districts" in the country. Despite the danger, he pulled strings and made these trips without going through the pre-deployment training that all other military folks have to complete before they arrive in country.

That training is important. It's where service members have the current rules of engagement explained to them. It's where tactics on how to deal with current threats--especially IEDs and other booby traps--are laid out.

So, when Kirk arrived in Afghanistan, he did so without the baseline training that all other service members receive. He was, in a word, unprepared . And, while journalists in civilian clothes and weird-looking protection gear are easy identify as possible weak links in a mission, Kirk was wearing a uniform and traveling around just like any other service member.

And he's not the only one. Lindsey Graham has also been able to swing these "mini-tours" for himself.

If anything good can come out of the scrutiny Kirk's lies have received, I hope it will lead the DoD to reconsider these political tours for politicians. It would be unforgivable for an unprepared pol in uniform to choke at the wrong moment and cause the death of a fellow service member.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYT releases 2nd Kirk article. It's yet another, windy billowy article that drags in Blumenthal three times and half a dozen other politicians, and pursues the specious claim, "It's not the little lie, it's the cover up."
Kirk's hedging hasn't done any good, but imagine if he'd manned up on the first day and confessed to EVERYTHING HE HAS EVER LIED ABOUT. Would his political position be any better? There's just too much, and he's told so many lies he can't even remember what they are,

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Berkeley Bear said...

Under the Consitution, it should not be possible for Congress critters to hold commissions in the armed forces (seriously, it is right there in black and white). However, when a group called Reservists Against the War challenged congressmen serving in the reserves during Vietnam, the Supreme Court ducked it on standing and political question grounds. I would hope the Kirk/Graham deployments would lead to a new challenge, but unless and until the Reserves/Guard stop this crap we will keep having these issues.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very valid point. A good friend of mine, a Navy reservist and a Navy pilot out of the cockpit had to spend a fair amount of time at Fort Lewis learning how to be a ground pounder of sorts. His job was not one that should have had him seeing any sort of combat on the ground but he was expected to travel around both Iraq and Afghanistan by air and ground and it was a required part of his training. As you point out the training was for his safety and for the safety of others... His job could have had him being the senior officer present in a combat situation on the ground. In such a situation a person untrained is a hazard to himself and to others.

Amazing how some people that want to be leaders and want to use their service to further their political goals are willing to risk themselves and others due to their ambitions.

8:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home