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Obama's Army Anecdote Checks Out After All

At last night's debate in Austin, Barack Obama said:

"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."

This set the conservative blogosphere in a tizzy, as it tried to prove Obama's story false. Most of the efforts were to the effect of, "This can't possibly be true, so it just goes to show what a moron Obama is!" Well, ABC's Jake Tapper tracked down the Army captain in question, and Obama's story appears to check out in full (though Kathryn Jean Lopez conveniently neglects to mention that in her link). More broadly, exactly what point are the conservatives trying to make here? That going to war in Iraq had no meaningful impact on our ability to conduct operations in Afghanistan? That doesn't seem like a very plausible hypothesis.

--Josh Patashnik