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The kinda sorta closing of the World War II Memorial has provided a lot of fodder for Republican outrage. Outrage that, let's not forget, stems from the government shutting things down after Republicans shut the government down. But as reports have emerged that, for all the posturing in front of barricades supposedly people keeping out, veterans are actually visiting the memorial without problems, it's worth asking: What effect is it actually having on veterans?
“We’ve had no problems at all,” said Jim McLaughlin, a lead organizer for the Honor Flight Network, the nonprofit group drawn into the dispute when several GOP lawmakers accompanied its guests during their first visit to the memorial hours after the shutdown started.
While Republicans have continued to argue that the monument is closed — images and video of the lawmakers with the visiting veterans quickly became the B-roll on the shutdown’s first day — McLaughlin said in an interview that his group has been able to bring several hundred more veterans to see the site since Oct. 1.
This is probably not what Rep. Darrell Issa is looking to be told in his Wednesday hearing on why the shutdown shut down parks, but sometimes when you manufacture outrage over a non-issue, people eventually do realize that's what you did.
Veterans who show up on their own, not as part of an organized group, also aren't having problems:
Dozens of veterans had no problem seeing the memorial up close on Tuesday. Several told POLITICO in interviews that they resented being used as pawns while Congress remains at an impasse over a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. Others complained that the barricades set up around the site have been an unnecessary political ploy.
Oh, look! Veterans are different people with different views of the politics of the shutdown. But one view they all share, if they so choose, is of the World War II Memorial. Because no one is actually stopping them from seeing it.
Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 07:29 AM PDT.