Carlos Miller

Republican National Convention coverage

As John McCain prepared to remind delegates of the years he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, another veteran from a more recent war reminded television viewers that McCain is not as supportive of the troops as he would like you to believe.

At first, when the television camera panned up to the upper deck of the Xcel Center, it appeared that the veteran was just another McCain supporter. After all, the way police were treating protesters outside the Xcel Center last week, it would seem highly unlikely that a protester would be allowed inside.

But as the cameras continued filming him, it became evident that this veteran was no supporter of John McCain.

USMC veteran Adam Kokesh was holding up a two-sided sign that read: “You Can’t Win An Occupation” and “McCain Votes Against Vets.” He ended up getting tossed out of the convention.

This is not the first time I’ve written about Kokesh. In July, he was handcuffed by FBI agents in Washington DC after photographing police making a traffic stop.

Kokesh returned from Iraq in 2006 and joined Iraq Veterans Against the War, who states the following about McCain on its Website:

Senator McCain has consistently voted against veterans interests. In a recent report, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Senator McCain a “D” rating to Senator Obama’s “B+.” Disabled American Veterans reports that Senator McCain only voted for legislation that benefited veterans 20% of the time while Senator Obama supported veterans’ needs 80% of the time.

Last Monday, a group of 60 veterans from Iraq Veterans Against the War marched towards the Xcel Center to deliver a message to McCain’s team – not that it was ever mentioned in the mainstream media.

IVAW member Wes Davey led the march and attempted to deliver the briefing to Senator McCain’s staff. Despite numerous mailed, faxed, and in-person invitations to meet, McCain’s office refused to send anyone to receive the briefing. When Davey, a retired Army First Sergeant and former St. Paul police officer, attempted to deliver the briefing, he was escorted off the premises.

A week earlier, another group of IVAW members marched towards the Pepsi Center in Denver to deliver a message to Obama’s team. They were not turned away.

Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) marched to the Pepsi Center in Denver on Wednesday, August 27 where they were met by Phil Carter, Senator Obama’s Senior Veterans’ Liaison. Carter is negotiating the terms of a meeting with IVAW representatives. IVAW has requested a meeting with Senator Obama himself and his Senior Foreign Policy Advisor.

Perhaps McCain’s team was unable to meet with the veterans because they were too busy searching the Internets for an image of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which they planned to use as a backdrop during McCain’s big speech to give the impression that he is in tune with the veterans.

But they ended up running a picture of Walter Reed Middle School instead, which is in Hollywood, more than 3,000 miles from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.

Then they tried to play it off like they meant to run the picture of this random middle school, which is in a predominantly democratic neighborhood.

“The changing image-screen was linked to the American thematics of the speech and the public school was simply part of it,” said spokesman Tucker Bounds.

However, officials from the middle school were not happy that the image was used without their permission.

It has been brought to the school’s attention that a picture of the front of our school, Walter Reed Middle School, was used as a backdrop at the Republican National Convention. Permission to use the front of our school for the Republican National Convention was not given by our school nor is the use of our school’s picture an endorsement of any political party or view.

The blunder was the closest McCain ever came to addressing veteran’s issues that night, said Paul Riekhoff, director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

“I think honestly that backdrop, whether it was Walter Reed medical center or Walter Reed middle school — that’s about as close as Sen. McCain got to veterans issues last night. He didn’t mention the word veteran once during his entire speech, didn’t talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, didn’t talk about veterans funding. I think he really forgot where he came from last night.”

Meanwhile, another veteran who attended the Naval Academy with McCain – and was also a POW in Vietnam with McCain – said McCain is too volatile and temperamental to be president.

“He would blow up like a Roman candle at any possible time. He is very sensitive and touchy and very easy to anger,” said Phillip Butler in the video posted below.

He also points out that POWs die at an earlier age and suffer more problems than people the same age who were not POWs.

“It’s imperative that he was some someone who is healthy and can stand the rigors of that job,” Butler said.


Citizen Journalism