[...] was founded by a group of Iraq and Afganistan [sic] 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.The executive director of Vets for Freedom, who served two tours in Iraq with the Marines before being wounded in action, says in his guest editorial in today's Washington Post that people like West Point Graduates against the War, CodePink, MoveOn.org, John Murtha do not represent most troops' views.
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.
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.
Like so many others past and present, I proudly volunteered to serve in the military. I served one tour in Iraq and then volunteered to go back. Veterans continue to make clear that they are determined to succeed in Iraq. They are making this clear the best way they can: by volunteering to go back for third and sometimes fourth deployments. This fact is backed up by official Pentagon recruitment reports released as recently as Monday.
The morale of the trigger-pulling class of today's fighting force is strong. Unfortunately, we have not had a microphone or media audience willing to report our comments. Despite this frustration, our military continues to proudly dedicate itself to the mission at hand: a free, democratic and stable Iraq and a more secure America. All citizens have a right to express their views on this important national challenge, and all should be heard. Veterans ask no more, and they deserve no less.
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