A Message to Paul Rieckhoff: the troops aren’t props

| January 10, 2012

Paul Rieckhoff, the executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, has a piece in the Huffington Post today entitled “A Message to All Candidates: Our Troops Aren’t Props“, of course, his message is just for the Republican candidates, because he’s referring to the incident last week when Corporal Jesse Thorsen spoke at a Ron Paul rally.

Our troops are many things to many people. Heroes, parents, diplomats, victims, villains, victors. But as the GOP Primary races roll through New Hampshire this week, there is one thing that all of America must understand they’re not: political props.

And that’s not just my opinion, it’s the law.

Yeah, it’s definitely not his opinion. Because, when Rieckhoff came back from Iraq in 2004, it only took him a few weeks to criticize the president on the airwaves in the form of a rebuttal following Bush’s weekly presidential radio address for the Kerry campaign. He then formed the radically anti-Bush organization, OpTruth. The board of OpTruth included our old friends Ann Wright, Paul Bucha and Jesse Ventura.

As the 2008 elections drew closer, Rieckhoff realized that OpTruth was too radical to help the Democrats, so he morphed OpTruth into IAVA and took a more sober approach to politics. that’s when they hit on the idea to establish a scorecard system for rating Senators – not surprisingly, Democrats scored better on the IAVA scorecard in regards to veterans’ issues than did Republicans. Barbara Boxer scored better than John McCain, as did Barack Obama – you get the point.

Rieckhoff closes out his HuffPo piece;

So consider this is a warning and a plea to every single candidate this election year: let’s respect our troops and our democracy, and keep them out of this one–especially, if you want to be our Commander-in-Chief. If you want that job for the next four years (or eight), you should know whether it’s on the battlefields of Fallujah or Helmand, or the primaries of New Hampshire and South Carolina, our troops aren’t a prop.

And they’re nobody’s toys.

I guess the hypocrisy of his performance art in the Huffington Post is lost on him, so, since every time I mention his name, someone sends him a link, well, I just thought that I’d help him out this election cycle. Using the troops for props for Democrats is just as bad as using them for the Republicans’ props, Paul. I have crayon drawings that I can use to illustrate this for you if you don’t quite understand it yet.

I guess this post is indicative of the reason he doesn’t invite me to ball games anymore.

Category: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Comments (21)

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  1. TSO says:

    Not political at all….


    MAY 1, 2004


    [*] RIECKHOFF: Good morning. My name is Paul Rieckhoff. I’m addressing you this morning as a U.S. citizen and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I served with the U.S. Army in Iraq for ten months, concluding in February 2004.

    I’m giving this address because I have an agenda, and my agenda is this: I want my fellow soldiers to come home safely, and I want a better future for the people of Iraq. I also want people to know the truth.

    War is never easy. But I went to Iraq because I had made a commitment to my country. When I volunteered for duty, I knew I would end up in Baghdad. I knew that’s where the action would be, and I was ready for it. But when we got to Baghdad, we soon found out that the people who planned this war were not ready for us.

    There were not enough vehicles, not enough

  2. TSO says:

    I would really love to hear his explanation of why his DEMOCRATIC ADDRESS was not using a troop as a prop.

  3. OWB says:

    Oh, that’s an easy one! (From the warped perspective.)

    See, only they can set the rules. The rules apply to whomever, as they so designate, IF it’s convenient for them and inconvenient for those with philosophies of life which interfere with their doing whatever, whenever they feel like doing it. Or they just want to. Because it seems like the thing to do at the time.

    Sort of a nuanced variation on the “it’s only fair if and when I say it is fair” rule of engagement and the “if we talk about it long enough there is no problem” tactic.

  4. Cedo Alteram says:

    Come on Jonn, being a little unfair there. It’s only coincidental that he cares about reminding us of the military’s nonpartisan status during Republican debates and primaries. He is the founder of American’s largest Iraq and Afghanistan veteran’s nonpartisan organisation afterall.

    The man lives by example, he wouldn’t accept a penny over 200,000 grand. You and TSO are just jealous. Admit it, and since you hate IAVA, why don’t you just admit to hating vets too!

    Rieckhoff strikes again. The whole reason I started coming here a few years ago.

  5. So, that the “props” warning somehow doesn’t include the empty suit currently occupying the White House means what, now?

    Obama has used our troops as more than props… he’s used us for cannon fodder.

    IAVA: just another democrat front group.

    STFU, LT. You do yourself and your organization no credit with this kind of babble.

  6. Hey, I posted my number. You all have some problem with what I said. The owners of this site deleted it. If you have a problem with anything that I said, please call me at 253-228-8912. Don’t be a coward, call me and lets work this out.

  7. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Seth Manzel 253-228-8912. Nobody is going to call you, you’re not worth it. You’ve proven the type of person you are.

    You have disrespected every single member of this site who is a veteran. “FU Cowards”? There is not a coward amongst the millions of people who have served in any branch of the United States military or the Marine Corps. Maybe somewhere along the line some people’s heads and asses got unwired but you can’t be a coward and sign on the line and raise your right. Did you?

    Did you think you were going to impress anyone with your 88 posts calling people names and making inane challenges? Taking the opposite side to every issue and never, ever conceding the possibility that maybe someone could make a valid point in opposition to your point of view shows you have no desire to “work this out”.

    I’m an FNG to this sight but my last on line “home” had a guy just like you. Eventually he began to understand that if he was willing to listen and consider other points of view, people would listen to him. Even though “GI Jargon” is dead and gone, Clay and I are still in touch. Maybe something to consider.

  8. Doc Bailey says:

    Well Mr Mazel, I think you have probably have gone off the deep end. consider this:

    1). Generally we have no wish to have a discussion with someone who will just scream us down

    2). You throwing your number out there shows that you are spoiling for a fight

    3). Most of the Mil Types I know could probably out cuss you any day, and because of that we tend to be on blood pressure medication

    4). you’re probably blocked because you write like a Troll, and though we don’t mind a verbal smack down with our favorite mental weapons: Facts Logic and Experience, it does get tiresome to have people spouting complete and utter BS all the time regardless of the danger their words (if heeded) might pose.

    I would differ slightly with Yat Yas. Like it or not there are cowards that raised their right hands. They might have thought they would get the fame and glory (or just the good feelings) of wearing a uniform. Maybe they signed on for the GI Bill, and thought “I’ll be a Laundry specialist, none of those ever die. . . ” regardless, I’ve seen people who sham the fuck out every chance they get, and practically live in a Bunker. Its ok to be scared, but cowardice is unacceptable.

    There is such a thing as Intellectual Cowardice. This is something practiced by Academia, and Politicos, as well as a lot of those who do everyday work. It is simply put, willfully ignoring Facts Logic and Experience (they never seem to go away those pesky things) in favor of what you know is “the Truth” (capitalized letters not a typo). If you say “I know what it True, and Right and Just (or Fair just to be Inclusive) and these other people are just dumb red-necks/Miltadrs (thanks for that one EK)/Warmongers etc. . . then you are an Intellectual Coward. From OWS, to the Debbie Wasserman Shultz, to Ron Paul, to Academics, this country is replete with intellectual cowards. Ask yourself seriously and Honestly, when you come here to challenge the Vets on here, are you doing it because you want to provide an intellectual foil, a counter-point, or do you do it because you’re a coward afraid to face the error of his philosophy?

  9. Doc Bailey says:

    Another note, on IAVA. I joined them (online only) because I thought it would be rather like VVA. I like the magazine that VVA puts out (rather like the one the Legion and VFW puts out) I thought it would be a place to go where I could get help if I needed, but more a place to meet people who had had similar experiences. What I got was Politics Politics Politics.

    The Commercials are good, and they really strike a nerve.

    but sadly, the reality doesn’t meet the promise.

  10. NSOM says:

    I suspect Manzel was drinking and posting, it would explain this and his other total meltdown in the “Calling for Revolution” comment thread.

  11. Jonn Lilyea says:

    We’ve deleted nothing, Seth. And I hope the spammers get a hold of your phone number and call you at all hours. We have nothing to “work out” – you’re on the IVAW board and we’re not.

  12. To be fair, Seth is also not on the IVAW board anymore, and this seems very unlike him. I suspect this is written by someone crazy he’s fighting with.

    I’ll take a hit if wrong, but I’d take it as a personal favor if folks would /not/ use this number to harass him.

  13. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Well, if that’s true, AS, if Seth contacts me, I’ll remove all of the comments.

  14. Thanks, Jonn. I’ll do some legwork.

    I mean, I disagree totally with Seth’s politics, but this seems way too incoherent and not nearly snarky enough to actually be him.