In this guest post, Vets for Freedom Chairman Pete Hegseth comments on the VFW-PAC endorsement of Rep. John Murtha in his campaign for reelection against Bill Russell and Rep. Patrick Murphy in his campaign for reelection against Tom Manion. Pete served in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division for their deployment to Iraq from 2005-2006. Pete served as an infantry platoon leader in Baghdad during the nationwide elections in October and December 2005, as a Civil-Military Operations officer in Samarra, and currently serves in the Minnesota National Guard as a Captain. Pete holds the Bronze Star for his time in Iraq. Pete writes:
Why is the political action committee for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) supporting candidates who undermine VFW’s pro-troop, pro-mission agenda?
VFW’s own Resolution 406 for 2008-09 recognizes the centrality of Iraq in the War on Terror and expresses the VFW’s unequivocal support for the execution of the mission in Iraq, a mission they believe will bring stability and security to the region. They resolved that Congress should provide all the funding necessary to support our troops and ensure victory.
We at Vets for Freedom couldn’t agree more — which is why it’s so unsettling to hear that VFW-PAC has decided to endorse Reps. John Murtha (PA-12) and Patrick Murphy (PA-8). VFW-PAC could hardly have chosen two men who disagreed more sharply with the sense and principles of the VFW on this crucial matter.
In addition to prematurely (and by all appearances, baselessly) accusing Marines of killing “innocent civilians in cold blood” in Haditha, John Murtha has infamously called for American forces to be pulled back from Iraq to as far away as Okinawa and otherwise has repeatedly tried to undermine the war effort.
Like Rep. Murtha, Patrick Murphy opposed the Surge and cosponsored a bill that would have removed American forces from Iraq before they could achieve the successes of the Surge. Like Murtha, he refuses to acknowledge the success of our troops.
VFW-PAC’s decision is particularly startling because both Murtha and Murphy are running against long-time veterans who actually share the principles of the VFW.
Against John Murtha, Vets for Freedom has endorsed Bill Russell, a third generation soldier who survived the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and fought in various conflicts during his 28-year Army career, most recently in Iraq.
Against Patrick Murphy, Vets for Freedom is supporting Tom Manion, a Gold Star father and himself a Marine for 30 years, retiring at the rank of Colonel.
These men have supported our troops — and their mission in Iraq — sharing the stance of the VFW that Iraq is the central battleground in the War on Terror and that we must pursue victory in that country.
Vets for Freedom has written to the board of directors of VFW-PAC, asking them to rescind their endorsements and instead support candidates who believe as VFW believes, and who would better serve the veterans that VFW represents.
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