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22 February 2013

Debunking Ignorance, One Facebook Post At A Time

So, I was sitting on my couch the other evening, scanning through the mountainous dreck on the Faceyspace, and I came across this gem:


#headdesk

Now, before I go off on a tear about how this status is wrong on so many levels, I must first say that I attended high school with original poster, and that they have subsequently served in the military. Should this person stumble upon this post, I want to make is perfectly clear that the forthcoming thoughts are not an attack on their character, nor does it diminish the respect that I have for this person's military service.

Additionally, I have redacted all names to "protect the innocent", as it were.

Now, all of that said, where do I begin?

1) "...our troops that are down range are only getting2 meals a day due to BUDGET CUTS! If even 1 troop is not getting3 meals a day, this is unacceptable by an reason!"

As you can see in the Stripes.com link (that Yours Truly put up there), this is simply untrue:

According to the Pentagon, all the troops are getting breakfast, just maybe not the one they’ve been used to.

The Defense Department took to Twitter to clarify that some troops in Afghanistan’s Paktika province are receiving Meals, Ready to Eat instead of hot breakfasts as U.S. forces prepared to pull out next year.

The decision by leaders in Paktika was based off a need to reduce logistics, not because of budget cuts, military officials said in a statement. “We want to assure you that all soldiers are receiving four meals per day (if they want all four),” the statement said. Making similar changes in other areas would be up to local commanders.

Hot breakfasts have been discontinued in some areas of Afghanistan to streamline logistics, according to the Defense Department, but officials were quick to note that MREs and often other cold food items like cereal and fruit are still provided.

“Breakfast is an MRE, lunch and dinner are traditionally served hot meals, and the midnight meal is MRE,” officials said. “This has nothing to do with the national budget, and everything to do with our responsible reduction of forces.”
The original poster then goes on to comment that they do not believe that the report is accurate because "a man that I served with post this, thats gospel not gossip".

Merriam-Webster defines "gossip" thusly:
2 a : rumor or report of an intimate nature
b : a chatty talk
c : the subject matter of gossip
Since the article at Stars and Stripes is sourced, by definition it is not gossip.

Oh, and there's also the statement from CDR Bill Speaks that Snopes has (he's the Secretary of Defense Press Officer for the Afghanistan/Pakistan/Central Asia area):
We want to assure you that all Soldiers are receiving 4 meals per day (if they want all four). Breakfast is an MRE, lunch and dinner are traditionally served hot meals, and the midnight meal is MRE. Most dining facilities ave a variety of takeaway items like cereal, milk, juice, fruit oatmeal, and granola bars to augment the MREs.
So, yeah. While FOB soldiers may not be getting "three hots and a cot", they are certainly being provided enough meals. Three, in fact.

Commander Speaks goes on to explain that this is due to the "responsible drawdown of operational forces serving in Afghanistan", not to "BUDGET CUTS!"

Next up...

2) "Lets not stop there...how about the presidential kitchen staff cook your ( not mine) president the same two meals a day! Wonder how fast there would all of a sudden be money to give our troops the same rights as our prisoners!?"

Geez. Really?

First of all, as someone who has served in the military, I would have thought that there would be a bit more respect for the Office of the President. Just because you don't agree with the current POTUS on [insert issue(s) here], doesn't mean that "he's not MY president". In fact, he is your Commander in Chief if you are actively serving -- whether you agree with him or not.

Additionally, here's a newsflash: If you are an American, Barack Hussein Obama is your President. Period. You had a chance to change that in November, and it didn't take. Time to stop your complaining and look ahead to 2016...

As to the more substantive issue in the second snippet -- blaming the President -- it too is factually inaccurate. The President does not approve of the operating budget for military forces and operations; that falls under the oversight of the United States Congress.

So, this notion that we should penalize the President for "cutting funding" for troops is just plain wrong. If you do want to blame someone, you have to look to your local Congressman or Congresswoman. But, you can't blame anyone for "cutting funding" for troops' meals because that has not happened.

Just sayin'.

In the process of writing this entry it has occurred to me that Facebook needs a new superhero. A man or woman to comb the endless timeline of propaganda and flubbed talking points. Someone to act as the Kryptonite to the unwashed masses' ignorance.

I'm going to go get a f**kin' cape.

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