Pentagon, Army Captain Differ on Obama Tale

Army doubts, captain confirms weapons, troop shortages
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2008 9:03 AM CST

(Newser) – Pentagon officials moved quickly yesterday to rebut Barack Obama's tale of an Army captain whose platoon, deployed in Afghanistan, was stripped of men and so lacking in equipment that they resorted to using captured Taliban weapons. "I find that account pretty hard to imagine," an Army spokesman said of the anecdote Obama told during Thursday's debate, MSNBC reports. But the captain himself confirmed the details to ABC yesterday.

The captain, then a lieutenant, said the squad experienced shortages of humvees and ammunition both during training and in combat in 2003, ABC reports. When they couldn't get parts for a machine gun—Iraq had priority over Afghanistan, he said—the unit used a Taliban weapon in its place. The army captain also confirmed Obama's assertion that over a third of his platoon was re-assigned without being replaced.