>By James Gordon Meek
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Thursday, July 24th 2008, 6:40 PM
WASHINGTON – The latest chain e-mail smear against Barack Obama: He “blew off” troops at an Afghan base to shoot hoops for a publicity photo.
The letter was apparently written by a Utah Army National Guard intelligence officer in a linguist unit at Bagram Airfield who claimed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was rude to G.I.s.
“As the soldiers where [sic] lined up to shake his hand he blew them off,” wrote the Task Force Wasatch “battle captain.”
But angry Army brass debunked the Obama-bashing soldier’s allegations, which went viral Thursday over the Web and on military blogs such as Blackfive.
The e-mail claims Obama repeatedly shunned soldiers on his way to the Clamshell – a recreation tent – to “take his publicity pictures playing basketball.”
[Editor’s Note: Then it is true, he went to the Clamshell to take publicity shots, that is fact not fiction. I saw him make a 20-foot jumper and this was on national television covering him then and there, not somewhere else, so the following is a distortion of what they claim to be a distortion. The TV announcer said they were in the so-called “Clamshell” in Afghanistan not somewhere in Indiana or elsewhere. Whew! I can’t keep up with the charges and counter charges about a Junior Senator who is running for president. It is a big deal if in fact he blew off the troops, and I think it’s clear why he was there–not to see the troops and congratulate them on the great job they are doing, but to put on a show. His speech in Germany was full of posturing like this.]
“These comments are inappropriate and factually incorrect,” said Bagram spokesman Army Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, who added that such political commentary is barred for uniformed personnel.
Obama didn’t play basketball at Bagram or visit the Clamshell, he said. Home-state troops were invited to meet him, but his arrival was kept secret for security reasons.
“We were a bit delayed … as he took time to shake hands, speak to troops and pose for photographs,” Nielson-Green said.