March 17, 2008
Iraq Vets for Congress
By Kieran Michael Lalor
As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am appalled by the way the anti-war Left distorts American military efforts in Iraq. More disturbing is the pernicious influence that the Left wields over the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. The evidence of this influence is striking. For example, the New York Times notes,
"Every morning, representatives from a cluster of antiwar groups gather for a conference call with Democratic leadership staff members in the House and the Senate."
To help counter the alliance of the Democratic leadership with the antiwar Left, abetted by a compliant news media, I recently formed Iraq Vets for Congress, a group of thirteen Republican Iraq veterans who are seeking office in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. I believe that the formation of IVC, and the group's goals, warrant the attention of all Americans who want to restore leadership and honor in Washington.
One can only imagine the media blitz that would take place in the event the Democrats ran a dozen Iraq veterans on anti-war platforms. IVC is much different in that it is an appeal to grassroots pro-victory voters who recognize what is at stake for America's security and for her future. I believe that our generation of veterans is uniquely qualified to recognize what's needed for victory and to remain steadfast in assuring that victory is won. IVC's is a voice that America needs to hear.
Each of the candidates who are part of IVC served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ours is an alliance of mutual support and an effort to relieve the Democrats of their command of Congress in November. In some areas, our platforms diverge. But whether Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, each of us shared a common goal in Iraq: victory. Now, as Republican candidates for Congress, we share a vision for America's future, her security, and that of future generations of Americans.
Without a hint of remorse, many Democrats repeat their "support the troops" mantra even as it contradicts their policies and their rhetoric. They see members of the military as either victims or villains. At best this "support" means we are regarded as pitiable and downtrodden. More often we are regarded, and incessantly portrayed, as uneducated goons, and sometimes even as marauding killers.
One need not look too hard for examples: Even as their benefactors at the most notorious anti-war group MoveOn.org run ads claiming that General David Petraeus "betrayed" our nation, the Democratic establishment clings desperately to the laughable position that they "support the troops." But this is no laughing matter, and our military is not "supported" when their Commanding General is called a traitor, it is slandered.
Sometimes, the Democrats do their anti-war bidding through military men who served honorably but who have allowed themselves to become tools of the anti-war Left.
For Senator John Kerry, we are the poor lost souls who turned to the military because we had no other options in life. According to Kerry, if you don't get an education "you get stuck in Iraq." This insulting of the intelligence of our military and the motivation for our service is impossible to reconcile with purportedly "supporting the troops."
Rep. John Murtha used to be a U.S. Marine. Now he goes on national television and falsely accuses Marines of killing in "cold blood" to score political points. (What sees far less coverage in most media outlets is the fact that murder charges against the Marines whom Congressman Murtha convicted without a trial have been dropped, and Murtha finds himself a defendant in a defamation suit and refusing to speak with the lawyers of the Marines he accused of atrocities.) In any case, Murtha's wild and politically motivated accusations of unspeakable acts of barbarism are again not "support for the troops." It is enemy propaganda.
The Democratic Congressional leadership offers nothing different. Since taking over the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrat brass are demonstrating that they are incapable of responsible leadership, particularly when it comes to matters of national security. They have tried to force an American surrender in Iraq without any concern for what would actually happen if they got their way. In one vote after another, many Democrats have shown that they are prepared to gut important post-9/11 intelligence-gathering measures and reforms that are crucial to homeland security and battlefield success.
To call the Democratic Congress a colossal failure ignores the more troubling problem: their policies seek defeat in a war we cannot afford to lose. Democrat control must end for the sake of the nation's security.
Democrats will certainly call this "fear-mongering", or even "war mongering." However, they are blind to the realty that the United States has been in a war with radical Islam for decades, but only began fighting back after 9/11. With a shocking degree of naïveté, as a matter of policy they simply ignore the consequences of losing this war.
Iraq Vets for Congress recognizes that current Congressional leadership has demonstrated they cannot be trusted to protect our country from the threats we face. Their motivation is often to serve their own political interests, not America's or that of future generations of Americans. That is why IVC stands prepared to support pro-victory policies at home and abroad, respond forcefully to the Left's defeatism, and keep the United States on offense in our struggle for security in the face of Islamic jihad. And we must do more than pay lip service and politicize the needs of veterans. In contrast to the Democrats' big, empty promises, we will take the steps that are necessary to ensure that veterans receive the support and services they earned while in uniform.
In short, I believe that with the support of the American voters, the candidates who are part of IVC are uniquely capable of providing a secure future that Americans and future generations deserve.
Kieran Michael Lalor is founder of Iraq Veterans For Congress and is running for Congress in the 19th Congressional District of New York.