Who are the Iraq War Veterans for Progress?
In life we are often judged by the company we keep. In no arena is that adage more true than in politics.
There is a misnamed political action committee (PAC) titled Iraq War Veterans for Progress. Turns out this group is not concerned with progress as their name would suggest. Rather their goal, if you read their website, is an immediate exit and failure in Iraq. I don't know about you, but I don't consider leaving Iraq before the new government is prepared to defend itself to be progress. Among their stated objectives is that we should: Renounce the practice of preemptive war. That sort of mentality was fine in our grandparents day. With the destructive nature of the type of weapons available in this age we no longer have the option of declaring we will sit back and wait to be struck before taking action. After 9/11, President Bush correctly surmised that terrorists and the nations who harbor them or support them financially or otherwise can not be dealt with in the same old way.
The home page of this organization has an audio clip of an interview with a former Navy Corpsman named Charlie Anderson who deployed to Iraq with the Marines. As part of the interview the former Sailor described how he came to oppose winning and said he saw starving children which showed him the impact of sanctions. I'm not sure if he understands this but a main argument of his anti-war buddies is we should have given sanctions a chance (as if the previous 12 years of sanctions were working). Additionally, Anderson made a bogus claim that over 35% of Iraq veterans have mental problems. The funniest part of his interview was his complaint that the Veterans Administration is bureaucratic. No kidding, a government agency is bureaucratic. Who would've guessed. And this guy complaining about bureaucracy is supporting the party in favor of nationalized health care. Go figure. Feel free to listen to the entire interview. However, I don't recommend it unless you're having trouble sleeping.
Needless to say, the host of inaccurate statements and misguided policy positions espoused by "Iraq War Veterans for Progress" are reason enough to vote against any candidates they endorse. However, as bad as their positions are on the issue of national defense, the leadership of this group gives even more cause for concern. In the middle of their list of advisers is Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg, for those too young to remember the Vietnam War, committed treason during that war. Further down the list, you find two left wing extremist congresswomen listed as the Honorary Advisory Board, Rep. Lynn Woosley (D-CA) (known for giving a pass to the last SOTU to Cindy Sheehan) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) (the only one in congress goofy enough to not only oppose the Iraq War but actually oppose invading Afghanistan after the 9-11 attacks).
Why am I taking my time to post about a radical left wing organization that most sane people would normally ignore? Because among the five candidates which are endorsed by Iraq War Veterans for Progress are two people running for office in Ohio passing themselves off as moderates. This group chose to endorse senate candidate Sherrod Brown and 2nd congressional district candidate Dr. Victoria Wuslin.
Before next Tuesday voters need to decide for themselves why an extreme left wing organization would endorse supposedly moderate candidates. If voters are honest with themselves they will admit these candidates are not the moderate Democrats they would like you to believe.
Separately, I'd ask that you weigh the relative merit of the opinion of a few veterans who are opposed to the war against the strongly held belief of most veterans who feel that abandoning the mission before completion would mean those who died in this cause will have died in vain.
UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: In my haste to post this item, I failed to clarify the relationship between Iraq Veterans for Progress (IVFP) with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). My initial links were to the website of IVFP which specifically endorsed Brown and Wulsin. IVFP does not openly call for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. However, IVAW which is more transparent about wanting to abandon the mission in Iraq appears to be closely related to IVFP. These organizations seem to have considerable cross membership. Tim Goodrich is the Executive Director of IVFP as well as being a founder of the IVAW. Charles Anderson from the monotone audio tape discussed above is a member of both organizations, works for the Brown for Senate campaign, and is a regular poster at the far left blog Huffington Post.
Neither candidate, Brown or Wulsin needs to disavow the positions of groups that endorse them. However, failure to do so means people are free to draw their own conclusions.