GOP front-runners turn down opportunity to blog for vets
An organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan launched a new blog Tuesday, which will feature posts from some of the top presidential candidates.
Only one GOP contender -- maverick Ron Paul -- responded to VoteVets.org's invitation to blog while five Democratic candidates answered the organization's call. VoteVets is a technically non-partisan group, but it works closely with mostly Democratic congressional candidates and aims to elect lawmakers who are "critical of the execution of the war in Iraq."
In Tuesday's first candidate post, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards outlined his plans to bring home tens of thousands of troops stationed in Iraq and provide comprehensive healthcare to veterans.
"When our service men and women sacrifice so much to defend our freedom and secure peace around the world, we have a moral obligation to take care of them and their families," Edwards writes.
The organization hopes its blog, VetVoice.com, becomes a clearinghouse for discussion of veterans' issues as the presidential campaign continues. Posts will be added to the site throughout the day Tuesday from Paul and Democratic candidates, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
"It’s heartening to know that the candidates who are posting think military and veterans issues are important enough to warrant a post on this new blog,” Brandon Friedman, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, and vice chairman of VoteVets.org, said in a news release. “VetVoice.com, we hope will become the hub on the web for those concerned about military and veterans’ issues, and where people can take a critical look at these issues, and proposed solutions. There’s no better way to kick it off than to begin with posts from those who are seeking to be our Commander in Chief."
Registered VetVoice users can post comments responding to each blog post that representatives of each campaign are expected to read, although organizers do not expect the candidates themselves to respond directly.
Edwards' post includes links to detailed proposals on his campaign Web site -- such as his plan to combat post traumatic stress disorder -- and his pledge to avoid starting another unnecessary war with the military as stretched as it is now.
"As president, I will give service members more dwell-time at home, avoiding deployment patterns likely to lead to higher levels of PTSD," he writes. "I will also avoid reckless military decisions like a so-called "preventive war" with Iran that could hurt our troops and their families."