About 480 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan assembled beginning at 8:30 this morning just across the street from the Senate wing of the Capitol. The temperature was about 45 degrees – global warming had struck. In their sand colored polo shirts, emblazoned across their broad chests with “Vets for Freedom”, they renewed old friendships and established new ones.
There was a blogger or two there, too – most visible was the guy who’s hard to recognize without his cap;
They were joined by some luminaries of the Senate;
(Senator Lieberman slapped me on the back after I took this picture)
And honest-to-goodness war heroes (SSG David Bellavia pictured);
Pete Hegseth started the speechifying;
SSG Bellavia followed Hegseth;
Senator McCain addressed the veterans;
Then it was Senator Lieberman’s turn;
Each Senator took their turn (Uncle Jimbo from Blackfive asked me “Is there anyone left in the Senate or are they all out here?”) Including the only member of the Senate who actually served as a soldier in Iraq, Lindsey Graham (it’s a good thing Crotchety Old Bastard wasn’t there);
Sam Johnson (R-TX), former POW (thanks to Punditarian for IDing him for me), took his hat off to the vets assembled this morning;
Congressman Zach Wamp quoted John Stuart Mill;
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
Jeff Sessions spoke about victory being imperative in Iraq;
LTC Steve Russell addressed what Americans can do to support the efforts in the war.
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The media actually showed up for this rally, to their credit;
They actually seemed interested in what the veterans had to say (notice Uncle Jimbo doing another interview in the upper right corner of this picture – or maybe he’s doing another Free Fly);
Speeches over, interviews concluded, these veterans set out on one more mission – to tell the Senate how much this war means to America.
These veterans are the polar-opposite of the folks I met at IVAW last month. There was not a selfish bone in the crowd. They fought for their country and their families and now they’re fighting for their friends who can’t speak for themselves. They battled the odds, they battled the uncivilized enemy and now they battle doubt and emotional knee-jerk politicians.
While I was working on this blog post, the stark comparison between the ideological sides was illustrated for me when (on my TV) some Leftist goober jumped up during General Petreaus’ testimony and shouted “Bring them home!” as he was dragged from the room and pink anti-war signs blocked the cameras. Where would those imbeciles be without a war to protest?
And I found a new drinking buddy;
Welcome readers and thank you, bloggers from Blackfive, Gateway Pundit, Little Green Footballs, The Jawa Report, Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group, 9-11 Families, Infidels Are Cool, Dusseldorf Blog, Buttle’s World and (last, but certainly not least) Baldilocks.
UPDATED for Identifying speakers – I need a secretary, Thus Spake Ortner won’t last forever.