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Veterans Group Hits Obama on Afghanistan and Iraq

By Ed O'Keefe
Having targeted Sen. Barack Obama's stance on the Iraq war before, the pro-McCain group Vets for Freedom this week begins airing a hard-hitting message accusing the Democratic presidential candidate of focusing more on his campaign than on his Senatorial oversight duties of military operations in Afghanistan. The group will spend $2.2 million to air the ad on cable stations nationwide, and in some California markets.

"Skipped" starts by noting Obama's poor Senate attendance record. It goes on to say he voted against funding military operations in Iraq and that his Senate subcommittee on European Affairs has yet to hold a hearing on military operations in Afghanistan -- familiar lines of attack already used by Republicans during the course of the campaign.

The ad concludes by urging passage of Senate Resolution 636, a resolution "recognizing the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq and expressing gratitude to the members of the United States Armed Forces who made that success possible." The bill was introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, two prominent supporters of GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.

"Senator Barack Obama consistently argues the mission in Afghanistan has suffered as a result of the surge in Iraq. This argument is especially disingenuous considering he is the chairman of the committee designated to oversee the mission in Afghanistan, but he has yet to hold a single hearing," said Pete Hegseth, chairman of Vets for Freedom.

Obama has acknowledged his subcommittee has not held hearings on Afghanistan, and while his Senate attendance record is poor, McCain has not voted on any Senate measure in almost six months.

The Obama campaign did not respond to requests for comment about this ad.

Vets for Freedom aired a similar ad in mid-September that compared Obama's comments on Iraq to those of Gen. David Petraeus.

The group's decision to air the message on broadcast stations in solidly Democratic California is unusual, but Hegseth called the state an "untapped media market" with the nation's largest veteran's population. "While others have been running issues ads across the country, no one's really done so in California," he said. "It's an important place if you want to be a part of the debate. You have to be involved in California."

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 30, 2008; 9:28 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Channel 08  
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What an ignorant article! Apparently you haven't read the hundreds of letters from CURRENT veterans of the VietNam, Iraq, and Afghanistan era, OR watched any of the videos against Mccain that were listed in one of the articles Monday or Tuesday. They were all extremely infuriated at the blatant LIES McCain told during the debate on Friday! He professed to ALWAYS take care of the veterans' needs, when exactly the opposite is true. Do you and McCain think people are too ignorant to look up his Senate voting record? McCain votes AGAINST any funding for veterans every time the chance arises!! His record can't be changed by trying to drag Obama into McCain's meanness! The ONLY veterans who count to McCain are McCain and McCain!!

Posted by: Maerzie | October 2, 2008 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I am a 74-year old Army Veteran. I and other Veterans have had to fight hard and long to continue to receive health care and other meager benefits from the VA because ever since Bush came to power, the Republicans have been doing their very best to reduce or eliminate benefits, to impose yearly fees, to raise the amount of copayments and, in general, the Republicans in charge of the VA have made life very dificult for us Veterans. For the life of me, I cannot understand how any rational Veteran can still support the Republicans, McCain included.

Posted by: carlfer | October 1, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Boy I can see this blog is full of rumors. I think many of you need to learn your history and get an education. If any of you ever knew the truth you still wouldn't belive it, your drinking too much Kool-Aid. By the looks of this site why in the heck would anyone want to be the President of uneducated , welfare handout citizens. Oh yea that's right most of you are drinking the Obama Kool Aid drink again. If Obama gets into office I hope everyone that voted for this stupid image of a man is willing to fight his war, I'm not. Obama can't even decide on how to vote beside voting that he was present . Man does this guy still think he's in grade school. LoL boy what a joke

Posted by: suzy722 | October 1, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Vets for Freeom urge passage of Senate Resolution 636, a resolution "recognizing the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq and expressing gratitude to the members of the United States Armed Forces who made that success possible."

The surge is a tactic not a strategy? Vets for Freedon and McCain are muddled in their military thinking. What is their goal in Iraq and their strategy to achieve that goal? The surge was put in place as a tactic to buy time for measurable political progress to be made. The surge has been a tactical success in reducing terrorist incidents but, according to General Petraeus, until political progress is made any military progress will be reversible.

As the great Chinese general and military theorist, Sun Tzu opined: "Strategy without tactics - the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy - the noise before defeat”. McCain doesn't appear to understand the difference and yet the community organizer Obama does.

Senate Resolution 636 needs to be re-written with "tactical success" replacing "strategic success"!

Posted by: Ex-Mil | October 1, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

All John McShane has is lies. His support for the military is horrible. You would think him being an ex-military man he would have a better record. And by the way he didn't support the GI bill because he thought that they were getting to much, like money for college, and he thought this would allowed soliders to do their 3years, or 4 years, and they wouldn't sign up for more duty. So don't try to make him look like the hero in this. And if he didn't vote fo the GI Bill like you say, because he thought it was flawed, why did he and Bush try to take credit for it. So stop with your lies about OBAMA,and admit that McShame is a fraud.

Posted by: pokeymompokey | October 1, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The comment by miller51550 is unbelievably stupid. I gather he is for McCain and hates Obama, but the rest is so murky I couldn't tell what he is getting at. Well, he is a typical McCain supporter: dumb, ethically challenged, short-sighted.

Posted by: ejmurphy414 | October 1, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

My fellow Americans!

We are now gathered on a great battlefield.

We have two parties at WAR.. we have a government that somehow has managed to spend us into near bankruptcy.

Of fellow citizens have spent themselves into the poor house, or should I say spent themselves out of a house.

On one had we have an individual that has been SHOVED down our throats by the MSM, the DCN and the rich and wealthy that has no since of honor,no integrity, no honor, NO real leadership ability, very limited experience in doing anything beneficial to any group of people EXCEPT for minorities. He has not crossed party lines, his roles on making change is to sit on the fence until a decision has been made and then jumping off the fence and taking credit for the winning solution. He is cocky to a fault, unable to really relate to white folks. He has disassociated himself from every bad decision he has made.

His political record is limited... but he has demonstrated an ability to be a POWER BROKER... meaning he welds power... and you do him a favor and he does you a favor. He is study in corruptness, and violence in America. He supports friends until they can not do him any good and then throws them under the bus. His supporters... BLINDLY believe every word that he says. Even the college educated ones... are so overcome with goo-goo eyes that their brains become mush... and they can not think for themselves. He will continue to spend the United States above and beyond a national debt of 11.3 Trillion dollars. He only believes in wealth and power... HIS... NOT OURS.

On the other hand you have McCain and I have not researched this guy... because HE IS A REPUBLICAN. I only hope that he believes in Country and is honest about cutting government expenses to attempt to get us out of this financial mess.


Posted by: miller51550 | October 1, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

On Senator Webb's new G.I. Bill: Obama = YES; McCain = NO.

On non-privatization of Social Security: Obama = YES; McCain = NO.

On Affordable Health Care: Obama = YES; McCain = No.

On Veteran Mental Care & Support: Obama = YES; McCain = No.

Last Resort Use of Military & Increased Diplomacy: Obama = YES; Obama = NO.

Waging War In Iraq (2002): Obama = NO; McCain = Yes.

Stoking aggression in Russia/Georgia Conflict: Obama = No; McCain = Yes.

Give me more space and time, I can go on and on. Come on veterans, vote your interests, your future, the country's future. Vote Obama-Biden on November 4th.

Posted by: qxav | October 1, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I am a vet too and to me McCain is no hero My heroes were the guys that evaded the enemy not the one that got captured because they were flying too low. McCain is where he is today because he is an elitist and his dad and his dad friends were Admirals. Any other pilot would have been court martial for flying a plane under an overpass but not McCain, like a child, people thought it was cute. If he had been flying at the height that he should have been flying over North Vietnam he wouldn't have been shot down. And I hope he will for the sake of all of us who served in Vietnam stop telling that POW story. Most of us Vets don't tell war stories because most of them are to painful to tell but not for John McCain. Most people who tells war stories don't tell the whole truth any way.

Posted by: sroyster1 | October 1, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Lies and misrepresentations of the facts are not going to get it this year, this election. ENOUGH AMERICAN'S are onto the deceitful, devisive, hate politics of the past which have so damaged our Country. I honored to live amongst a family of Veteran's ranging in ages from 19 to 84 and we all support Senator Obama for President. We all support TRUTH, HONESTY, INTEGRITY and we all support OBAMA knowing he we bring us a stronger, more secure, more respected America.

Posted by: ccclam | October 1, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse


You probably were upset with Reagan's divorce too?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Upon his release from North Vietnam and return to the United States in 1973, McCain reunited with his wife, Carol, who had been permanently crippled in a car accident while he was a POW.

Still yearning to become an admiral, McCain enrolled in the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. and underwent physical therapy in order to fly again. The Navy excused his permanent disabilities and reinstated him to flight status, effectively positioning him for promotion.

Timberg described McCain's advancement: "in the fall of 1974, McCain was transferred to Jacksonville as the executive officer of Replacement Air Group 174, the long-sought flying billet at last a reality. A few months later, he assumed command of the RAG, which trained pilots and crews for carrier deployments. The assignment was controversial, some calling it favoritism, a sop to the famous son of a famous father and grandfather, since he had not first commanded a squadron, the usual career path."

While Executive Officer and later as Squadron Commander McCain used his authority to arrange frequent flights that allowed him to carouse with subordinates and "engage in extra-marital affairs."

This was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice rules against adultery and fraternization with subordinates. But, as with all his other past behaviors, McCain was never penalized; instead he always got away with his transgressions.

Timberg wrote, "Off duty, usually on routine cross-country flights to Yuma and El Centro, John started carousing and running around with women. To make matters worse, some of the women with whom he was linked by rumor were subordinates . . . At the time the rumors were so widespread that, true or not, they became part of McCain's persona, impossible not to take note of."

In early 1977, Admiral Jim Holloway, Chief of Naval Operations promoted McCain to captain and transferred him from his command position "to Washington as the number-two man in the Navy's Senate liaison office. McCain was promptly given total control of the office. It wasn't long before the "fun loving and irreverent" McCain had turned the liaison office into a "late-afternoon gathering spot where senators and staffers, usually from the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, would drop in for a drink and the chance to unwind."

In 1979, while attending a military reception in Hawaii, McCain met and fell in love with Cindy Lou Hensley, 17 years his junior, who was the daughter of James W. Hensley, a wealthy Anheuser-Busch distributor from Phoenix, Arizona. McCain filed for and obtained an uncontested divorce from his wife in Florida on April 2, 1980 and promptly married Cindy on May 17, 1980.

He resigned from the Navy in 1981 and went to work for his father-in-law in Phoenix; where he used the opportunity to make powerful and wealthy friends in Arizona including banker Charles Keating and Duke Tully, the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Republic. Keating was later convicted of fraud, racketeering, and conspiracy and Tully was disgraced for concocting a phony military record of combat in Korea and Vietnam including medals for heroism

McCain a hero....blah only reason he got any type of "medal" was his "admiral" dad was alive at the time.....

Posted by: AlexP1 | October 1, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I think the point everyone seems to be missing about Obama being on this committee is not that he never held a single meeting, but that in his own words during a debate with Hillary he was appointed to the committee right before the start of the campaign. Appears the Dems were trying to help him "pad" his shallow resume.

Posted by: cjones210 | October 1, 2008 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Senate subcommitte on European Affairs responsible for Afghanistan matters? Is this even true? Seems a little odd because, for those of you who are geographically challenged, Afghanistan is nowhere near Europe.

Posted by: sicksidvt | October 1, 2008 6:02 AM | Report abuse


YOU DID THE RIGHT THING people by stopping this 700 billion dollar bailout of Wall Street with your money. It's a trap set by the Bush McCain administration years ago to spring on you, and the World just before the November elections. It will cripple our economy for years to come by taking away money from important social programs like health care reform, education, and social security.

What ever congress does to try and fix our stunning economic catastrophe needs to be done very carefully. Congress needs to take their time, and be sure of what they are doing. Whatever is done needs to be sharply focused at helping, and protecting the best interest of the ordinary Americans. In particular the vast American middle class. 700 billion dollars is a lot of the peoples money to spend to bail out a bunch of corrupt Bush loan sharks.

When have you ever known any government plan, or project to only cost what the government said it would. Remember the war in Iraq. Bush and his so-called advisers said it would only cost you about 80 billion dollars. But we now know that the war in Iraq will cost you, and your children, and your grand children over a trillion dollars, and still counting.

So if 80 billion can end up costing you over a trillion dollars. How much could 700 billion end up costing you. Any math wizards out there. I come up with 9 trillion...:-(

My fellow human beings, just as I warned you ahead of this catastrophic economic meltdown, I must now warn you that what is ahead has the potential to be even more catastrophic than what we are going through now. The worlds geopolitical landscape has been booby trapped by the Bush McCain administration and their republican allies in congress. These booby traps are poised to spring at any time.

Fortunately the Worlds Nations have been blessed with many excellent leaders (except the US) who have been careful, wise, strong, and self-restrained in dealing with the provocations, and antagonism's of the Bush, McCain administration.

Barack Obama and the democrats are your best hope now. Tell your family, friends, and everyone you know to support them as best you can, and vote for them like your life, and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. Because it does. You will not survive 4 more years of Bush McCain.


Posted by: JackSmith1 | October 1, 2008 6:01 AM | Report abuse



(From, 9/22:)

Beginning in October, the Army plans to station an active unit inside the United States for the first time to serve as an on-call federal response in times of emergency.

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent thirty-five of the last sixty months in Iraq, but now the unit is training for domestic operations.

The unit will soon be under the day-to-day control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command.

The Army Times reports this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.

The paper says the Army unit may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control. The soldiers are learning to use so-called nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.


Do the candidates believe the President has the authority to use the armed forces for active duty in domestic deployment, what appears to be a violation of the 130-year-old "Posse Comitatus Act"?

Is it true that Biden, appearing on Fox News, endorsed that concept?

Is Sarah Palin familiar with the term "posse comitatus" and the principle for which it stands? Could she explain the concept and why it's important to the preservation of American democracy and civil liberties?

What the Army speaks of "non-lethal weapons," are they referring to "directed energy weapons" that emit silent bursts of various forms of radiation, such as microwaves -- energy that can induce illness, causes injury, and even death?

And what do Barack Obama and John McCain have to say about this?

Are they concerned that silent, dangerous "directed energy weapons", which have been imprecisely described as "non-lethal," could be used as a weapon against perceived POLITICAL "enemies?"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 1, 2008 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Saturday, September 06, 2008
Rating the Candidates on Veteran's Issues
Which candidate really supports veterans?

Project Vote Smart has listed ratings for John McCain. In 2006 McCain was given a grade of "D" by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America regarding his support of Veterans Issues. He only supported Disabled American Veterans issues 20% of the time.

On the other hand Barack Obama supported supported the interests of Disabled American Veterans 80% of the time. He was given a grade of "B+" by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

IAVA ratings for 2008 will be posted as soon as they are available. It will be interesting to see if the candidates have changed over the last four years, particularly leading up to the election year.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Posted by: dshelms | October 1, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Saturday, September 06, 2008
Rating the Candidates on Veteran's Issues
Which candidate really supports veterans?

Project Vote Smart has listed ratings for John McCain. In 2006 McCain was given a grade of "D" by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America regarding his support of Veterans Issues. He only supported Disabled American Veterans issues 20% of the time.

On the other hand Barack Obama supported supported the interests of Disabled American Veterans 80% of the time. He was given a grade of "B+" by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

IAVA ratings for 2008 will be posted as soon as they are available. It will be interesting to see if the candidates have changed over the last four years, particularly leading up to the election year.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Posted by: dshelms | October 1, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I though Obama sumed that up during the debate last week when he told Mccain that the hearings don't go through his sub commitee but the Chairman's commitee which happens to be his VP and Mccain is well informed of that. Mccain didn't respond as if it was true. Now the Mccain veterans are attacking Obama regarding the same thing that Obama cleared up with Mccain during the debate. The Mccain campaign are nuts or they just think the American people are nuts. If Mccain really wanted to put country first he'll do more than suspend his campaign but end it. That would be putting country first. Nobody interested in Mccain gimmicks, lies, and distortions and his dangerous vice president pick.

Posted by: amosdefnails | October 1, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

These attacks were rebutted in the debates. The more important issue is that if we listen to McCain on Iraq the financial crisis in the country will be worse and these men who are probably fronts for radical right billionaires are only interested in their own political agenda and care little about the welfare of this country.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Sen. McCain did NOT vote "no" on Webb's GI bill. He had offered a better bill, however, to deal with retention rates. McCain's version actually provided higher benefits to those who stayed in the service longer than Webb's version.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

This group would go a better service if they would publicize McCain's lies about how he loves and will take care of veterans. His voting record shows that he does not.

Posted by: FauxReal | October 1, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

John McCain voted against leahy amendment 3292 that would have allowed congress to hold hearings on war profiteering, and fraud.

Posted by: r4147824 | September 30, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

The web g.i. bill john voted no.

Posted by: r4147824 | September 30, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Veterans? I don't think so. Obama's support among the overseas military is overwhelming.

Why do Republicans always attack their opponents patriotism when they're the worst of the War profiteers? Didn't CIA chief Kyle Dustin Foggo and Republican Congressman Randy 'Duke' Cunningham get convicted for selling out America? How many deals between the Bush/Cheney Crime family and Haliburton and Blackwater do you think are waiting to be uncovered?

I'm awfully sick of this divisive crap the Rove-types pull out every election. The Republicans should clean up their own.

Posted by: thebobbob | September 30, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Veterans' group? Vets for Freedom? Hardly! In the veterans' community a veterans' group has three basics: 1. Made up entirely of veterans. 2. Funded by those veterans. 3. Provides services to veterans.

Vets for Freedom doesn't meet any of those qualifications. They are, plainly and simply, a political group that plugged in the word "Vets" to make it appear that they, somehow, are representative of the veterans' community.

Just so you know the difference!

Posted by: theotiswilliams | September 30, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Unlike Clinton, Biden Gets Pass for Saying He Was 'Shot At' in Iraq

When Hillary Clinton told a tall tale about "landing under sniper fire" in Bosnia, she was accused of "inflating her war experience" by Barack Obama's campaign -- but the campaign has been silent about Joe Biden telling his own questionable story about being "shot at" in Iraq.

Posted by: dcpsychic | September 30, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Are we sure the McCain campaign didn't assist with this ad? Seems to sum up McCain's arguments against Obama awfully well...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | September 30, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

This country has been raped by the party in charge of the white house. As a retired military, that fought for the rights and freedoms of all americans, it pains me to see that the most intelligent candidate is made to appear as the less desirable. I for one cannot wait for the change of party in the white house. A true Maverick would be an independant! Stay out of California with your right wing propoganda!

Posted by: junkr55 | September 30, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Hello Joe. Will Barack even have a commitee meeting?

Swing left! Swing right!

Obama '08

Posted by: acarponzo | September 30, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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