In his Visit to Afghanistan, Barack Obama Shunned American Soldiers –Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

An email from Jeffry Porter, a soldier serving in Afghanistan.  It says that when presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama was in  Afghanistan in July, 2008, he hurried through the visit and did not spend any time talking to soldiers or thanking them for serving.

The Truth:

This eRumor is factually incorrect and the person who wrote it has retracted it.

Lt. Col. Rumi Nielsen Green accompanied Obama while he was in Afghanistan. 

She said that Obama’s visit was an official one as a senator, along with two other senators, not as a political candidate who would be doing some of the things that a celebrity might have done such as holding a public event.

According to Nielson, Obama’s visit was not announced to the troops for security reasons but that Obama did speak to many of the soldiers who were on hand as he arrived for a briefing and posed for photographs.  In fact, she said, he was delayed in getting inside the building where a briefing was to take place because of his spending time with the soldiers.

Likewise, said Nielsen. Obama did not shun any soldiers at the clamshell because he never went there.  There was no basketball in Afghanistan for Obama and no publicity pictures.  He did play basketball with soldiers during a visit to Kuwait.

She added, “All Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and and Marines should participate in our right to vote and support any candidate we personally choose.  While I cannot say if this blog is authentic, I can say that these comments are inappropriate and factually incorrect.  They may also be inconsistent with the policies and regulations.

The Army Times contacted Jeffry Porter, the author of the email.  He is a Utah National Guard member assigned to the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion.  He was asked to authenticate what he said.  According to the Army Times, Porter refused a request for an interview and said, “I am writing this to ask that you delete my e-mail and not forward it, after checking my sources some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong. This e-mail was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the e-mail and if there are any blogs you have my e-mail portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too.”

CLICK HERE for a list of other related stories about Barack Obama

Updated 7/25/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Hello everyone,

As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to “The War Zone”. I wanted to share with you what happened. He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram. As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn’t say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service. So really he was just here to make a showing for the American’s back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an
effort to come all the w ay over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you.

I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States. I just don’t understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country. If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.

In service,

CPT Jeffrey S. Porter
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
American Soldier