In an act of defiance perhaps not seen since President Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur, today the anti-war veterans group VoteVets.org, which has been influential with Capitol Hill Democrats, is launching a half-million-dollar TV ad campaign featuring Maj Gen John Batiste (Ret.), former commanding general of the first infantry division in Iraq.
The ad begins with a clip President George W. Bush saying "I have always said that I will listen to the requests of our commanders on the ground."
Batiste then appears, saying, "Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril. Our only hope is that Congress will act now to protect our fighting men and women."
The ads are targeted at Republican members of Congress seen to be wavering in their support for the war. Those targeted include GOP Senators Susan Collins (Maine), John Sununu (NH), John Warner (Virginia), and Norm Coleman (Minnesota), and GOP Representatives Mary Bono (Calif.), Phil English (Penn.), Randy Kuhl (NY), Jim Walsh (NY), Jo Ann Emerson (Missouri), Tim Johnson (Illinois), Mike Rogers (Michigan), Fred Upton (Michigan), and Mike Castle (Del.)
The ads conclude with Batiste saying, depending on the congressperson targeted, "Senator Collins, protect America, not George Bush."
Major General Paul Eaton (Ret.) and Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.) will also appear in ads.
Meanwhile, at the VFW headquarters in DC later today, according to the ARMY TIMES, an "Appeal for Courage" petition signed by 2,700 current and former service members supporting continued U.S. combat operations in Iraq will be given to House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC.
"The petition was organized by two U.S. service members serving in Iraq, Navy Lt. Jason Nichols, serving in Baghdad, and Minnesota National Guard Staff Sgt. David Thul, who is conducting convoy operations in Iraq with the 34th Infantry Division," the newspaper reports.
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