<\body> Stories in America: Iraq Vets Running for Office

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iraq Vets Running for Office

Nine Iraq veterans (eight are Demorats) from Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, Maryland, and Minnesota are running for seats in the House of Representatives. In 1974, nearly 80 percent of all Congress members served in uniform; today, less than 30 percent have military experience.

Andrew Horne, who returned home from Iraq last spring after a seven-month stint, said he was entering the 3rd District race [in Kentucky] partly because of his dissatisfaction with Iraq policy.

"It became a realization that we are less safe than we were, not more safe," said Horne, a longtime political independent who recently joined the Democratic Party.

Horne, 44, a Louisville attorney, will be making his first bid for elective office. If he gains his party's nomination, Horne will face a well-financed, campaign-tested Republican incumbent in Northup, who defeated her last challenger by 22 percentage points in 2004.

Northup has been a staunch supporter of Bush's Iraq policy. Horne said she has "become nothing but a rubber stamp" for her fellow Republican.

Horne said members of Congress "take an oath to the country, not to the president."
Mother Jones has a great piece about Paul Hackett, a Marine who fought in Iraq and came close to beating Republican Jean Schmidt for a House seat in a conservative Ohio district.
The conservative Cincinnati Enquirer declared Hackett's showing "nothing short of astounding." U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) told the Columbus Dispatch, "The political situation for Republicans both in Washington and especially Ohio is just dreadful. I've never seen it so dire." To be sure, Hackett was helped by the fact that Ohio's Republicans have been in the midst of a full-scale meltdown; earlier this year the governor was forced to apologize for taking illegal gifts, and the state's senior senator, Mike DeWine--whom Hackett plans to challenge next year--has some of the lowest approval ratings of any U.S. senator.
Several candidates are also interviewed in a recent Boston Globe article:
Andrew Duck, 43, is runing in rural Maryland's Sixth District, a seat held by seven-term Republican Roscoe Bartlett. Describing himself as a Democrat who is opposed to abortion, the former Army intelligence officer still works at the Pentagon as a contractor.

"I am very proud I helped get rid of Saddam Hussein, but I am also embarrassed at how badly we have messed it up since then," he said in a recent interview in a pizza shop near the Pentagon.

''People say there wasn't a plan. I know there was a plan," Duck said. ''Our problem was we were told [by Pentagon leaders] we can't use it."

Duck, who served as an intelligence liaison officer between ground forces in Iraq, believes the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee prison camp is illegal and should be closed. But he said what ''broke the camel's back" was seeing firsthand the failure to provide adequate armor to protect US troops from insurgent attacks.
These races will be interesting to watch.


At 1/11/2006 11:56 AM, Blogger Nick said...

1974 was less than 20 years after the largest war in American history.

It has now been more than 30 years since a much smaller war (Vietnam), plus a massive realignment of Congress in 1994.

As a result, veterans probably make up a smaller portion of potential candidates. That leads to any veteran who wants to run for office as a Democrat being drooled over despite policy positions (or a lack thereof) that would otherwise be unwelcome in the Democratic Party.

At 1/11/2006 12:25 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Typo above: "20" should be "30"

At 2/21/2006 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My DFA group endorsed Horne for US Congress.

Mike Bailey


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