Fact check: Did Obama end hot breakfasts for troops in Afghanistan?

This Internet claim, based on a press release by GOP Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa, has been floating around for the past week or so.

Here’s the Jan. 17 press release from Braley’s office:

17 bases in Afghanistan have suspended serving troops breakfast; more bases will stop on Feb. 1

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today wrote Army Secretary John McHugh to express “growing concern” regarding Army actions that have ended service of breakfast to American troops serving at 17 US military outposts in Afghanistan.

Braley has also been informed by the Army that this policy will be expanded to more locations in Afghanistan beginning on February 1st.

“I am troubled that the Army would deny any deployed troops three meals per day, regardless of force size,” Braley wrote.  “These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect the very freedoms we cherish. The exhaustive mental and physical labor that is required by soldiers to fight in harsh and unforgiving conditions is tremendous. We shouldn’t deny our troops something as fundamental as a proper meal.

“I am positive that with the logistical mastery the Army has exhibited in combat operations around the world, you can logistically administer the procedure of serving breakfast every day.”

The issue was brought to Braley’s attention by concerned family members of Iowa soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Here’s how the DOD responded earlier this month:

There is no truth to the Internet myth that Washington budget cuts have taken away breakfast for service members in Afghanistan, Defense Department officials said.

Americans serving in Afghanistan can have up to four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight meal, if one is needed.

The Internet myth’s genesis came from a few forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province that are closing or being turned over to Afghan security forces. Instead of a hot, prepared breakfast, service members at those bases receive packaged meals known as “meals, ready-to-eat,” or MREs. This streamlines the logistics for these closing bases, officials explained.

Snopes.com — a website that looks into Internet myths — rates this tale as “partly true.” The original email that sparked the controversy vastly overstated the extent of the “MRE for breakfast” policy. The original email also said the reason for the policy was because of DOD budget cuts. This is not true, defense officials said.

The vast majority of service members in Afghanistan are receiving a hot breakfast, officials emphasized.

For what it’s worth, Snopes.com labeled the so-called myth “partly true.”

Bottom line: Thanks to the Obama drawdown, not budget cuts, U.S. troops will indeed be unable to get a hot breakfast while serving in Afghanistan and will instead be served packaged MREs.

The National Military Examiner urges something we can all get behind.

U.S. troops are slated to be in Afghanistan another two years. As contracted vendors pull out and small combat outposts close, our troops will need support from home now more than ever. If you would like to support a deployed warrior please log onto AnySoldier.com and find a troop or unit to assist.

Correction: Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa is a Democrat. The initial version of this post misidentified him as a Republican. We regret the error.

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