Monday, November 10, 2008

Gee... you mean there are Democrats in the military?

And that's not an oxymoron?
President Bush has almost single-handedly ended the GOP’s lock on veteran and military voters through his tragic mismanagement of the war in Iraq. I have seen the change among active duty members of the military firsthand. Our families have been torn apart by the intolerable rate and length of deployments – and even many solidly conservative members of the military will privately question the competence of Republican leaders.

Now, it will be up to a Democratic president to rebuild a military that has been pushed to the breaking point by a Republican. President-elect Obama will rebuild the military for the 21st Century by increasing the size of the Marine Corps and Army; restoring the readiness of the National Guard and Reserves; and fully equipping service members for the missions they face.

Domestically, the party that rushed us into war in Iraq has abandoned the needs of veterans here at home. It was a Democratic senator, Jim Webb of Virginia, who led the successful fight against the Bush Administration for a new GI Bill. It has been Democrats who have fought to expand health benefits for veterans, improve access to health care for reservists, and cut through the red tape at the VA.

The success of Democratic veteran candidates has reinforced this trend. This new generation of leaders is making its mark on the Democratic Party and changing the conventional wisdom on political support among veterans and military voters.

This is not to say that Democrats are inherently more patriotic than Republicans. There are honorable people from all walks of life and political affiliations serving in the military today. But no longer will the party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy sit idly by while Republicans attack our commitment and dedication to our country.
Maybe we'll learn from this that supporting our troops does not mean forcing them back into the war for six or seven tours of duty, that threatening other countries is not as good as diplomacy, that war is not the first option on the table but the last.


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