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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Obama's Plan To Add Soldiers And Marines: Caught Borrowing A Page From Bush

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Barack Obama's national security plan -- which he outlined earlier this week -- urges a 65,000-troop increase in the U.S. Army, and 27,000 additional Marines. But those numbers are not original. They equal what President Bush called for in his State of the Union address 19 months ago -- and military bloggers report the manpower addition has already been approved by Congress. Now there are stirrings that the Democratic presidential candidate seems somewhat askew or ill-informed about staffing levels in the armed services, and questions about why journalists haven't aggressively pursued the issue.

The Military Times, a newspaper whose readership is drawn from service personnel, is being criticized for allowing Obama to promise an expanded Army and Marine Corps without emphasizing the fact that Bush already was increasing troop levels.

For example, Military Times said:

"One way to relieve the stress is to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Obama's plans for a 65,000-person increase in the Army and a 27,000-person increase in the Marine Corps match plans already underway. He said he is not sure about personnel levels for the Navy and Air Force, but 'I don't anticipate a reduction' for those two services."

But a critic says Obama wasn't quite straightforward, and got a pass:

"The truth here is that the Navy and Air Force are already drawing down somewhat while the Army and Marines are growing. But the Senator, while he's happy to take credit (or at least Military times is happy to give him credit) is equally willing to forego 'credit' for the other."

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