OTR Interviews

Did President Obama use a wounded Army Ranger as a State of the Union prop?

Gen. Bob Scales: President conveniently like to use a wounded sergeant as a prop while his policies gut the military, puts troops in peril


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 29, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up and he does not quit.


OBAMA: Cory.



GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: A wounded Army ranger getting a deserved standing ovation for one minute and 44 seconds. Yes, the longest standing ovation of the night. It was during the State of the Union, and President Obama telling the heroic story of Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, recovering after nearly getting killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

But while the soldier's story is inspirational, retired Army Major General, Bob Scales, has very sharp words for President Obama. He says President Obama used Sergeant Remsburg as a prop, and he calls it hypocritical.

General Bob Scales joins us. Nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: I should say, deep in my heart -- I have know you for years -- that you care more about these soldiers than any six people. But having said that, last night, just at the tail end of the State of the Union, I got this email from you and I have never seen you so angry. He says, "I rarely get emotionally overcome by hypocrisy but I did with FSC Remsburg."

SCALES: Yeah, it broke my heart. This great guy, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, think of this, Greta, 10 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in 10 years. What does that say about the over commitment of our Army? And the -- here is a president who uses him as an icon for the State of the Union. And yet the very service that he comes from, the Army, has 85 percent of its brigades not combat ready. It does not have one single developmental program for a combat system at all. Zero. And, yet, my fear is that if something isn't done to reverse this slide in readiness and our advantage in technology, we're going to be producing more Cory Remsburgs in the years ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that President Obama's fault.

SCALES: Of course, it is. It's his administration. Every service goes down after every war. But I have seen the Army break four times in my lifetime. After Korea, after Vietnam, in the 1990s, and right now. I have seen the Army break institutionally. And when 85 percent of your units can't go to combat, this should concern the American people. A

And, you know, the Army has got a mortar that was built in 1931. Its main machine gun was designed in 1919. The helicopters that you saw in the latest movie "Lone Survivor" were designed and built in 1962. We have weapons in the Army that were used by soldiers' great-grandfather's and, yet, there is in no program in the Army today to develop new material. The Army is 85 percent --

VAN SUSTEREN: Not ready?

SCALES: -- not capable for being deployed. Look, as I said, services shrink, but this is not shrinking. We are walking towards breaking the Army.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think President Obama has let the Army get to this situation?

SCALES: I don't know. I don't know. For some reason, the Army always seems to take it in the shorts. For some reason, Army is always the service that gets hit the most.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this dangerous to the American people.

SCALES: You are darn right it is. This administration has said many times -- in fact, he said it in his speech -- well, we will never do that again, meaning have another Afghanistan or Iraq. But Truman didn't know that Korea was coming. Do you think Johnson would have gone to Vietnam if he knew 60,000 Americans would die? Do you think that the first President Bush planned to go into -- planned to invade Kuwait and Iraq? No. The enemy has the advantage here. And he is the guy that picks the battlefield. We need to be ready for it.

VAN SUSTEREN: General, nice to see you. Thank you, sir.

SCALES: Nice to see you, Greta.