Tags: | Obama | horses | bayonets | debate

‘Horses and Bayonets’ – A Political Gaffe by Obama?

Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 12:28 AM

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President Barack Obama’s provocative response to GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s alarm over the dwindling size of the U.S. Navy — “We also have fewer horses and bayonets,” Obama told Romney dismissively — may go down as a political blunder.

The president’s supporters were delighted when he made the remark — but now the Obama campaign faces the political aftermath.

Obama stated: “I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — because the nature of our military's changed.”

Alert: Obama Movie Exposes His Vision for America. Click here.

The United States military, in fact, continues to use bayonets, although their use is certainly less common. Marines practice bayonet drills in boot camp, and many of them still receive bayonets as part of their standard gear.

“I thought it was very insulting, because we do still use bayonets,” observed Fred Fleitz, the longtime U.S. intelligence officer and current managing editor of Lignet.com, Newsmax Media’s global forecasting and intelligence website. “And we have to have a robust navy to defend our security.”

But there is another reason Obama may rue the comment that won him widespread praise on debate night: Naval shipbuilding is a critical industry in the Tidewater region of swing state Virginia, where polls show the two candidates locked in a very tight race that could determine the election.

“I think that comment is going to cost him an enormous number of votes in Virginia, where there’s a shipbuilding industry that’s in trouble,” Fleitz tells Newsmax. “I don’t know what motivated him to say that. It was just a silly comment.”

Horses also continue to play a small but important role in the modern military. In addition to the horses used to pull caissons for ceremonial purposes, the military maintains 36 horses at Fort Bragg, N.C.

They are used to train soldiers how to ride, in case they ever need that skill in battle.

Sound far-fetched? It turns out the Special Operations Forces that worked with the Northern Alliance to depose the Taliban rode horses into combat in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. For many Afghan rebels, it was the only reliable mode of transportation available.

Alert: Obama Movie Exposes His Vision for America. Click here.

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