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This is great. Iraq vets were on the Hill this week with a strong message for the pro-escalation members of Congress:

In several news conferences, [Iraq war veteran Jon] Soltz accused McConnell of "aiding the enemy" by allowing the Bush administration to build up troops in Iraq at the expense of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. "We are not fighting the war on terrorism, we are in the middle of a civil war," he said, referring to Iraq. "Meanwhile, the guy who attacked this country on 9/11 is living in a cave in Afghanistan."

Soltz called Cheney a "draft dodger," repeating charges he made last month when he disparaged a "president who frankly knows nothing of war and a vice president who knows even less." He said: "Senators on the fence have a choice. They can stand with veterans like us, or they can stand with the draft dodgers down the road."

Democrats said they will not muzzle the veterans. In many ways, the former soldiers and Marines are expressing sentiments the lawmakers want broadcast, and they help inoculate Democrats against Republican claims that opposing the president's plan undermines the troops.
Not everyone was happy to see the vets. Yep, those GOPers who purport to support the troops were disdainful and dismissive:
Soltz, Van Riper and the others got polite if reserved receptions from Republicans, with one exception. The veterans said they stormed out of a Tuesday meeting with Sen. Larry E. Craig's chief of staff. "He was almost dismissive in his tone," said Joe Kramer, 31, who was in the light infantry in Iraq. "We agreed to disagree. Very loudly."

Dan Whiting, a spokesman for Craig, would say only that the Idaho Republican's chief of staff, Mike Ware, sees things differently.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam veteran and likely presidential candidate who supports the addition of troops, dismissed as a "handful of veterans" not representative of the military.
There are 20,000 members of VoteVets including 1000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just a handful? The guys represent soldiers -- and they are giving a voice to the overwhelming majority of Americans who think Bush's war in Iraq is a failure.

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