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Veterans for Freedom: “Troops in Support of the War”

Thursday, April 13, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

This pointed op-ed in today’s Washington Post rebukes John Murtha as only a wounded, combat veteran of Iraq could do. Be sure to send it to all your friends and especially to your Congressional representatives and senators. Key graphs:

In view of his distinguished military career, John Murtha has been the subject of much attention from the media and is a sought-after spokesman for opponents of the Iraq war. He has earned the right to speak. But his comments supposedly expressing the negative views of those who have and are now serving in the Middle East run counter to what I and others know and hear from our own colleagues — from junior officers to the enlisted backbone of our fighting force.

Murtha undoubtedly knows full well that the greatest single thing that drags on morale in war is the loss of a buddy. But second to that is politicians questioning, in amplified tones, the validity of that loss to our families, colleagues, the nation and the world.

While we don’t question his motives, we do question his assumptions. When he called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, there was a sense of respectful disagreement among most military personnel. But when he subsequently stated that he would not join today’s military, he made clear to the majority of us that he is out of touch with the troops. Quite frankly, it was received as a slap in the face.

The author, Wade Zirkle, served two tours in Iraq before being wounded.

Zirkle is the executive director of Vets for Freedom, an organization I had not heard of until this morning.

Here’s the group’s mission statement:

Vets for Freedom was founded by a group of Iraq and Afganistan War veterans who believe in the mission of freedom, specifically Operation Iraqi Freedom, but who have become frustrated with the way the operation has been politicized and reported to the home front.

In January 2006, this group of veterans, enlisted personnel, and officers decided to take action. The result was the creation of Vets for Freedom, a non-profit advocacy group whose mission is to promote the unbiased, nonpartisan truth of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to educate the public and mobilize public support for the Global War on Terror.

The founders and members of Vets for Freedom have witnessed the firsthand events, both the successes and failures, of the Iraq War. While their voice has largely been ignored by many policymakers and the media, they have earned the right to be heard and will use this organization to lend their insights to this worthy cause.

The seven founders are an impressive array of warriors, and I suspect this group is headed for the significance in the political debates which it deserves. Talk show hosts and producers –radio and television divisions– as well as newspaper editors now have a convenient way to sample veteran opinion on the ongoing war.

I expect the new media to make great use of this source, and MSM to only do so grudgingly.

Certainly every mention of Cindy Sheehan or Paul Hackett should be matched with a comment from this organization.

It is possible to donate online to the support of this organization, and I hope you join me in doing so today.

I would also like to see every Member of Congress who supports the troop direct his or her campaign fund to make a sizeable donation to this group. This isn’t a partisan group, just a group with enormous credibility.

Veterans for Freedom has earned the right to be heard and those with opinions on the war should be working to get this unique voice the support it needs.

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