After watching the debate I have to speak up. I am a currently serving veteran of the Iraq war who is soon to go back. Senator McCain, with all due respect, you do NOT speak for me. And just as you do not speak for me; I do not speak for all Soldiers. We all think for ourselves.
Stop implying that you are the only one who can understand our veterans, because for millions of us clearly you do not. So let me address some of the things you said during the debate.
(cross posted from various places)
McCain: Senator Obama said the surge could not work, said it would increase sectarian violence, said it was doomed to failure. Recently on a television program, he said it exceed our wildest expectations.
While our media lacks the courage to challenge this claim, I do not. The surge has little or nothing to do with the reduction in violence. The reduction in violence has come about from NON-combat related efforts. The Anbar awakening, major Shiia and Sunni militants no-longer fighting us and fighting al-Quaeda. We are even paying those who use to attack our forces. This is a temporary band-aid because, as Iraq has proven, alliances change hands faster than a hot potato. And we’re not going to be paying them forever.
MCCAIN: I’m afraid Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.
Says the guy who claimed the surge caused the Anbar awakening, which occurred months prior to the troop surge.
MCCAIN: But the important — I’d like to tell you, two Fourths of July ago I was in Baghdad. General Petraeus invited Senator Lindsey Graham and me to attend a ceremony where 688 brave young Americans, whose enlistment had expired, were reenlisting to stay and fight for Iraqi freedom and American freedom.
I reenlisted when I was in Iraq. And I think the Iraq war was a huge mistake and I am voting for Barack Obama. Let me lay down some FACTS here. We (our troops) as individuals may or may not support the Iraq war. But that does not necessarily decide whether or not we decide to stay in. IF you are going to reenlist (anyway), it is much preferable to do so while you’re in Iraq.
Fact: Reenlisting in Iraq makes your re-up bonus tax free.
Fact: Reenlisting in Iraq makes your payout lump sum, vs payments over time.
Fact: You can reenlist early in Iraq. At home you have to wait until you’re in your window. But if you’re deployed you can take advantage of a bonus by reenlisting EARLY.
So of course there’s a high reenlistment rate when Soldiers are deployed. It doesn’t mean they agree with your war (they may or may not). It just means that they’re smart and they’re going to make a sound financial decision about when and (more important) where they reenlist.
MCCAIN: I was honored to be there. I was honored to speak to those troops. And you know, afterwards, we spent a lot of time with them. And you know what they said to us? They said, let us win. They said, let us win. We don’t want our kids coming back here.
Yes, and I’m sure Soldiers would walk right up to a US Senator during a deployment and express a dissenting opinion.
MCCAIN: And also General Petraeus said the same thing. Osama bin Laden and General Petraeus have one thing in common that I know of, they both said that Iraq is the central battleground.
Patraeus actually (quoted) Bin Laden as saying that. And since when do we allow our enemies to dictate when and where we fight them? Of course Bin Laden wants to tie us up there. It distracts us from HIS HOME, it’s cost us more American lives than 9-11™ and sans the Iraq war we can more than pay for the 700 Billion dollar financial bailout.
MCCAIN: A war that I was in, where we had an Army, that it wasn’t through any fault of their own, but they were defeated. And I know how hard it is for that — for an Army and a military to recover from that. And it did and we will win this one and we won’t come home in defeat and dishonor and probably have to go back if we fail.
Are you saying you came home with dishonor? You’d rather us come home with a word General Patraeus himself said he wouldn’t use [victory]? All we are doing there is the best we can to clean up a mess that you and Bush created.
MCCAIN: And I’ll tell you, I had a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and a woman stood up and she said, “Senator McCain, I want you to do me the honor of wearing a bracelet with my son’s name on it.”
Be glad it wasn’t my mother. She wants to give you two bracelets with a chain connecting them. I’m not saying I would go that far, just if you see her you might want to do an about-face and forward march.
MCCAIN: Jim, when I came home from prison, I saw our veterans being very badly treated, and it made me sad. And I embarked on an effort to resolve the POW-MIA issue, which we did in a bipartisan fashion, and then I worked on normalization of relations between our two countries so that our veterans could come all the way home.
I guarantee you, as president of the United States, I know how to heal the wounds of war, I know how to deal with our adversaries, and I know how to deal with our friends.
All of this is evident by your treatment of Dolores Alfond, who’s brother was shot down in Vietnam.
Next up is you opposing Senator Webb’s GI Bill because you felt it was too generous for those who “ONLY” served one term, who likely served two tours in combat and many of whom have come home wounded and/or with PTSD. How many tours had you served by the time the tax payers fully funded your education?
Next up is you taking credit for the GI Bill you opposed and refused to vote on.
Next up is another veteran, like myself, calling you out on it.