If you have not read Part I of my VoteVets series which covers Jon Soltz, you should do so before reading this.
As my esteemed coblogger is oft to say, VoteVets is not a veterans organization. For every 20 members they have, even VoteVets admits that only 1 is a veteran of OEF/OIF. While they masquarade as veterans advocates, the issues they champion rarely even deal with veteran or military issues, unless it happens to coincide with their actual mission of shilling for Democratic candidates.
And a compliant media has allowed them to be fairly successful at it. My first run in with this band of degenerates was from the 2006 Virginia Senatorial campaign when they ran this disengenuous commercial against George Allen:
A new ad claims Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia “voted against giving our troops” modern body armor. He did no such thing. The ad cites a vote on an appropriations amendment that had nothing whatever to do with body armor.
The ad also claims troops were sent to Iraq with flak vests “left over from the Vietnam war,” another falsehood. The ad actually shows an improved vest that wasn’t available until the 1980′s.
lying sack of shit dishonest guy he is VoteVets Executive Director and Motor Pool King Jon Soltz decided to argue with FactCheck, using his absolute moral authority card I discuss in the next piece I have. Soltz, like his intellectual equal Cindy Sheehan decided to use our honored dead as a prop in this fiasco, writing that:
The sacrifice the fallen made during that time calls for much more respect from groups such as FactCheck.org, which only serves to muddy the waters of what should be, and is, a very clear vote in Congress.
To their ever-lasting credit, FactCheck didn’t back down, and called VoteVets on this shameful tactic:
We also note that VoteVets accuses FactCheck.org of showing too little respect for “the sacrifice the fallen made” while body armor was in short supply. We find that offensive. We wish that partisans on both sides would show more respect for facts, and we believe that false political ads are a poor way to honor the dead.
The Ad was shameful enough to be named to their “Whoppers of 2006″ list. Naturally, they just trotted out the same shameful ad in 2008 to run against other Republican candidates, an interesting thing considering they’d already been chastized for truth deficiency and they are allegedly non-partisan. Could have been an dangerous tactic if our media were the objective watchdogs they claim to be, but as we know, they aren’t.
Let’s meet some of the VoteVets all-stars. No, not the employees, advisors and such, we’ll get to them next, I mean the ones they throw up in front of cameras to make their points: guys like Josh Lansdale and Rick Duncan/Stradlof.
Here’s Josh Lansdale in a commercial for Senator Claire McCaskill.
Go watch this commercial, this is the one filmed a few weeks later, with Josh being featured with Wes Clark.
Josh is certainly a compelling guy, listen to his experiences in Iraq:
“It was a pretty hot zone. We took a lot of mortar fire, IEDs, car bombs, saw a lot of helicopter crashes and worked the UN embassy bombing. I dragged a lot of people out of burning buildings, cars, motorcycle wrecks and explosions.”
Only one problem.
Jim [Hoft, of Gateway Pundit],
I was the 1SG and Fire Chief for the unit. I also was AGR for the unit for 17 years. We were deployed in May of 03. We were stationed at Camp Anaconda Iraq. We arrived there on or about the 23rd of May and departed on or about the 21st of April 04.
There was one Helicopter tire that blew up on a couple soldiers and messed one up pretty bad and killed the other. There was also one motorcycle accident when a soldier hit a honey wagon (Porta Potty Cleaner) and his head was pretty swollen when we got there. Other than that, There was not one plane or helicopter that crashed on us during this period. None of us even got close to Baghdad or any Embassy buildings other than when we drove on the outskirts on our way to Balad (camp Anaconda).
Yes we had many nights of mortars come in but only a couple even got close to us at the fire station and that was right at the end. 95% that they fired at us either missed everything or were duds. None of my fire fighters that fought any fires dragged anyone out of a building. We had 2 of our own fire fighters go down because of heat problems while fighting fires, but that was it.
I am sure that Josh Lansdale saw a lot of things that you would not see in the states, however he is blowing this way WAY out of proportion. I had 3 other soldiers that came a lot closer than he ever could imagine to being killed. I would have to see his medical records, but I can not even remember him hurting his ankle. He may have sprained it at worse if even that.
The 487th has always had great pride and I miss being with them as I am retired now. Please don’t hold anything he has said against this great fire fighting unit.
Did Sen McCaskill and VoteVets apologize? Of course not, VoteVets just took him out of the ads as if he never existed and went on with their “non-partisan” advocacy.
[To this day I refuse to have any dealings with Senator McCaskill in any way. If I see her during my visists to the Senate, I will leave generally. Thankfully her presence on the Senate Armed Forces Committee has not been an impediment, it is quite rare that she actually shows up for ANY hearings.]
We’ll get to see Josh again in a little bit. But did VoteVets learn from this debacle? Of course not.
A former Marine Corps captain who suffered brain trauma from a roadside bomb in Iraq and was at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11 attacks. An advocate for veterans rights who opposed the war. An Annapolis graduate who was proudly gay. With his gold-plated credentials, he commanded the respect and attention of not just politicians, but also police chiefs, reporters and veterans advocates for the better part of two years.
That from the New York Times. As memory serves though, there were some veterans advocates who actually didn’t buy into his shit at all. I assumed he was a veteran (shame on me for thinking IVAW and VoteVets vetted anyone) but I thought on everything else he was just another dishonest VV hack. In fact, I even noted his insane ramblings at IVAW, and how they didn’t match his more reserved demeanor. For instance:
And the soldier who was once branded in madness as a baby killer is now glorified as a saint, an angel in camouflage and their service is being used by the Chicken Hawks In Chief as a guilt inducing distraction. The monuments both of stone and of flesh are sullied by those who have propagated this current war of convenience and who see only profit in its perpetuation. Because it is a turf war, a braggart’s war, a who-has-the-biggest-dick war, the Mother of All Oil Wars war. A sick, unjust perversion being waged as I write this, as you read this.
And this is the guy that VoteVets felt was a good one to represent them. Represent them in TV commercials. Represent them on their blog. And represent them as a spokesman.
Politicians who now shun him were eager to have him by their side a year ago, no questions asked. Antiwar groups like VoteVets.org embraced him as a valued spokesman.
He spoke at a Barack Obama veterans rally in front of the Capitol in July, co-hosted several events with then- congressional candidate Jared Polis and attacked Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer in a TV ad paid for by the national group Votevets.org.
The keen minds of VoteVets couldn’t tell that Lansdale was lying, that “Rick Duncan” was in full ownership of all his digits. Yet they presume to tell us all about veterans issues and where our Members of Congress stand on those issues.
In the next part of this series on VoteVets, I will take a closer look at some of the other people in this organization.