August 5, 2004
THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
The Democratic National Convention in Boston was a mixed bag.
The Convention began last Monday, on July 26th. The Kerry Campaign invited Operation Truth to attend, and we took advantage of the chance to discuss the war in Iraq and inform people about our mission. There was a lot of talk about Vietnam and Senator Kerry's experience there-and talking about that war is important-but we must never forget about the war going on right now.
The Kerry Campaign gave us the invitation; however, they did not utilize our voice in an effective way. In fact, they seemed wary of our message. The Kerry campaign only invited three veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom to the convention (Paul was one of them).
The war in Iraq continues to be the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about. Well, Operation Truth will talk about it-and then some.
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan can provide a powerful and honest perspective on the war in Iraq, and, with the Presidential elections ahead, we can participate in an informed discussion about the problems of the war, how to fix them and how military experience is an important quality for a Commander-in-Chief. The emphasis on Veterans throughout the week, culminating in Kerry's speech was a positive start. However, it is not nearly enough.
Iraq Veterans need more opportunities to talk to the press. We are more than just window dressing.
One suggestion for the DNC? Perhaps a roundtable discussion with some Iraq Vets and some of Kerry's Band of Brothers. Involve them in the dialogue--not just the photo ops. We can talk extensively about the similarities and differences between Vietnam and Iraq.
The Democrats, and for that matter the Republicans, can do better and the American public should demand that they do. We need people to be willing to hand us the microphone. The Kerry campaign did not simply have a mic, it had a massive stadium-wide sound-system and millions of TV viewers. Later this month so will the GOP. They need to use it so the American people can hear from us about the war in Iraq. We were there.
The Operation Truth team (10 of us) busted our asses at the Democratic Convention. We holed up in the Fleet Center for the week, and all crashed on the floor of one packed hotel room. We gave out thousands of sets of Operation Truth dogtags---these dogtags provided a very visible image to remind people that there is a war going on in Iraq RIGHT NOW. We passed out flyers and chatted with whoever was willing to listen about our organization, and pushed our message during TV and Radio interviews.
Paul and Dave Chasteen (another OpTruth Iraq Vet) were featured on CNN International, Air America, The Laura Ingraham Show, The Bev Smith Show, NPR and others. Fox News and Sean Hannity declined repeated requests. Big surprise.
We are a non-partisan organization, and we hope to receive an invitation to the Republican National Convention. Help us make this happen. Call your Congressmen and/or Senators and demand that they invite OpTruth to the Convention in NYC later this month. www.house.gov, www.senate.gov.
We have also been hustling to try to raise some money. Every dollar counts. The power of our voice will only be limited by our budget. The more money we raise-the more awareness we raise. We are not going away. Spread the word.