Democratic Veterans & The IAVA PAC

Here’s a little warning about a group called the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee (IAVA PAC) that has been sending out promotional emails to Republicans. Their emails talk a lot about soldiers, but don’t mention party affiliation.

The reason these emails, which I’ve been receiving, have caught my attention is because one of the gimmicks the Democrats are going to be using this year is snapping up every vet they can find and running them in Republican districts.

Of course, almost all of the candidates will lose, but from their perspective, it’s still a win/win situation. After all, they were going to lose these districts anyway and by just running all these military candidates, they can hopefully improve their well deserved, “hostile to the military,” image. Plus, as an added bonus, the Dems will have a whole new group of “Max Clelands” who can run around claiming the Republicans challenged their patriotism by pointing out that in practice, their views on national defense weren’t much different than those of Ted Kennedy or Dennis Kucinich.

Anyway, I called up Eric Schmeltzer over at the Veterans of America Political Action Committee (IAVA PAC) to talk about this. Mr. Schmeltzer was polite and professional in the face of my barrage of accusatory questions, but vehemently denied they were a partisan group, which in my opinion is completely dishonest.

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Let me tell you why I say that.

To begin with, it’s worth noting that Wesley Clark seems to be a major player in this group. Also, Mr. Schmeltzer confirmed that there are no prominent Republicans working with the group, although he did say they’re working on getting one.

Although I was, of course, very skeptical at that point, I figured the proof was in the pudding. That’s why, I asked how many Republicans the group was currently backing. Mr. Schmeltzer replied that no candidates had been endorsed yet, although there were currently 9 Democrats and 3 Republicans who could potentially make the cut. Why do I suspect those Republican vets just aren’t going to turn out to be IAVA PAC material?

Then there was the next piece of evidence: when you look at IAVA PAC’s endorsement criteria, some of them seem non-partisan, but others seem to mirror things called for on the left. For example:

“Demand from the administration a victory strategy for Iraq that includes hard success metrics which trigger American troop drawdowns so our forces can safely re-deploy from theater.”

That sounds like a timetable to me. Something the Democrats have demanded and Bush has adamantly refused to give.

“Guaranteeing the exhaustion of diplomacy options by the President prior to approval for military conflict.”

Many of us, myself included, would argue that we’ve done that. Who has been arguing that we haven’t? Liberals, who just don’t want to go to war, but are afraid they’ll sound too dovish if they come right out and say so. Therefore, they take this route so they can claim that they were hawks, too, when the next election rolls around, despite opposing the war.

Then there are all the lefties that are talking about this group. In some places, IAVA PAC is even openly described as an Anti-Bush veterans PAC. Then there are bloggers like Dem Bloggers, Daily Kos, Maxspeak, You Listen! among others talking up IAVA Pac. Trust me, lefty bloggers wouldn’t even consider promoting this PAC if they thought there was the slightest chance this group would ever give money to Republicans.

The long and short of it is this: Republicans shouldn’t be giving money to the IAVA PAC and quite frankly, if the PAC was more honest they wouldn’t even be contacting Republicans. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee can call themselves a non-partisan group all day long, but if they end up doing nothing but funneling money to Democratic candidates, then it’s pretty clear that they’re not a group conservatives would want to support.

*** Update #1 ***: More about IAVA PAC from The Jawa Report.

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