Skip to main content

[Promoted by DHinMI]

MSNBC sums it up better than me:

Antiwar veterans who attempted to march in a Veterans Day Parade Saturday in Long Beach were banned by organizers who said the parade is supposed to thank veterans and not serve as a political demonstration.  Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out were prevented from joining the annual parade down Atlantic Avenue and restricted to a nearby parking lot, officials said. Organizers said the groups were trying to push a political agenda at an event to honor veterans.

I first heard about the parade when the Mario Solis Marich radio show in Los Angeles contacted me this morning about coming on to comment on the situation.  Upon hearing of it, my first reaction was that IVAW was probably "overdoing" it.  Because if you’re familiar with IVAW, you know that they often use tactics designed to make a scene.  I assumed the good people in charge of the parade simply didn’t want sensationalism in their parade.  In fact, that’s what I wanted to believe.  I had no desire to even entertain the thought that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of any political persuasion would be prevented from participating in a Veterans Day parade.  If nothing else, they’d earned the right to be there.

In that frame of mind, I turned to the San Jose Mercury for an explanation of the snub.  This is the one given:

"They do not fit the spirit of the parade, the spirit being one of gratitude for what the veterans have done," said Martha Thuente, coordinator for the nonprofit Veterans Day Parade Committee.

"We do not want groups of a political nature, advocating the troops' withdrawal from Iraq," she added.

Okay.  Fine.  They don’t want "groups of a political nature."  I got that.  They don’t want any groups "advocating for the troops’ withdrawal from Iraq," either.  Okay.  Whatever.  That is a political statement, and I can see why the committee might not want that during a celebratory outing for families.

But then I turned to Long Beach’s District Weekly to hear some more from Ms. Thuente:

"As a (nonprofit) 501c3, there are certain rules we have to follow," Thuente says, "and one of the rules is that we do not engage in political activity, we do not take sides on political issues." Letting the anti-Iraq veterans groups–or any veterans–express their political views apparently would violate that rule.

But Thuente says the parade organization has every confidence in groups like the V.F.W.

"The V.F.W. just squeezes into their old uniforms. They do not express that agenda as a parade entry," she says.

According to the author of that piece in the District Weekly, Theo Douglas, the American Legion was set to march along with the VFW.

Now here’s the problem: Ms. Thuente, the Judge of What’s Political and What Isn’t in Long Beach, is asserting that the VFW and American Legion can participate because they "do not engage in political activity," or, rather, "they do not express that agenda as a parade entry."  Whatever that means.

So now that Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out have all been banned for their political agendas, let’s take a look at the non-political positions taken this year by the American Legion and the VFW:

Here is American Legion Commander Paul Morin commenting on proposed Democratic legislation on March 16, 2007:

Thank God there was no mandated timetable after the Battle of the Bulge or Iwo Jima. Thank God, there was no mandated withdrawal or imposed exit strategy at Valley Forge or our Country would have lost the American Revolution.  Absent the removal of the restrictive language designed to influence military operations, The American Legion calls on all Members to defeat the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act.

Because nothing says "apolitical" like vaguely implying that Democrats would have lost the American Revolution.

Or how about this headline from the VFW on April 3, 2007:

VFW Tells Congress to Set Aside Troop Withdrawal Language: New Reid proposal tantamount to surrender

Because if calling on Members to defeat Democratic legislation isn’t apolitical enough, then accusing Senator Harry Reid of surrender is, hands down, the most apolitical thing I’ve ever heard.

But it actually gets better.  In explaining his rationale for the VFW’s view on the matter, George Lisicki, the senior vice commander-in-chief of the VFW, had this to say at the time:

"The funding package contained artificial troop withdrawal deadlines that would ultimately break the morale of our troops in the field and directly jeopardize their safety.
::
Along with Lisicki, VFW Commander-in-Chief Gary Kurpius was also disappointed to hear today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may introduce legislation that would immediately cut off funding for the war.

"By proposing this type of legislation, Senator Reid would be abdicating his responsibility to help protect and defend our nation, and his responsibility to the men and women serving in our armed forces," said Lisicki. "Simply put, it’s reckless and tantamount to waving a white flag of surrender to the enemy."

Lisicki said that if such legislation is introduced, the senator can be assured that the VFW will strongly urge its membership to work to defeat its passage.

Totally apolitical.  

These people have such a hypocrisy problem.

If you’d like to ask the Long Beach Veterans Day Committee why they ban certain groups of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from participating in their Veterans Day parade, while at the same time allowing groups that accuse the Democratic Senate Majority Leader of wanting to "surrender to the enemy," by all means, please do.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 07:22 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Devin, anna, Ed in Montana, Terri, keirdubois, kid oakland, jillian, pb, Bill in Portland Maine, Rayne, SarahLee, teacherken, yerioy, Raybin, Nina Katarina, Pandora, Robert Ullmann, Powered Grace, Dems2004, RunawayRose, Shockwave, Wintermute, baffled, jakbeau, Stein, oysterface, eeff, RickD, jeremybloom, Duncan Idaho, figdish, x, Sandy on Signal, Bexley Lane, Mumon, velvetdays, ZAPatty, ilona, BenGoshi, Nuisance Industry, musicsleuth, bumblebums, exNYinTX, Jerome a Paris, Birdman, midgettd, Heart of the Rockies, Mr Teem, concernedamerican, hestal, bronte17, Babsnc, DickCheneyBeforeHeDicksYou, JayAckroyd, cskendrick, Silverleaf, grrtigger, CoolOnion, boadicea, repeat, mrblifil, vmibran, Aquarius40, roses, javelina, Miss Blue, PeteZerria, thingamabob, dmsilev, Cedwyn, sele, jdmorg, asterlil, psnyder, Barbara Morrill, nancelot, danthrax, TexDem, Dallasdoc, missliberties, mad ramblings of a sane woman, kevin22262, madame defarge, exiledfromTN, Caldonia, Bulldawg, Black Maned Pensator, Scarce, lizah, hells kitchen, Eddie Haskell, Chun Yang, bwintx, Curt Matlock, DrReason, jcrit, poemworld, rickeagle, kd texan, The Gryffin, avahome, faithfull, Demfem, oortdust, sawgrass727, Anglico, joanneleon, GuyFromOhio, Fabian, chumley, maybeeso in michigan, marina, Tinfoil Hat, supak, Treg, jrooth, Steve M, ichibon, Five of Diamonds, seesdifferent, revbludge, mjd in florida, OpherGopher, PBen, Militarytracy, Alice Venturi, panicbean, citizenx, roninbushido, boofdah, owlbear1, Sharon in MD, jorndorff, jimreyn, quaoar, lotlizard, babatunde, jane123, Yamara, paddykraska, witchamakallit, neroden, wiscmass, serrano, Floja Roja, sodalis, Lisa Lockwood, sbdenmon, Riff, Rogneid, bookwoman, Spathiphyllum, Ekaterin, SSMir, dus7, Showman, gwilson, snazzzybird, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, PatsBard, vigilant meerkat, testvet6778, BlueInARedState, Naranjadia, whitewidow, Yellow Canary, koNko, kestrel9000, Magnifico, Wary, NBBooks, Flippant to the Last, global citizen, StrayCat, HairyTrueMan, nonnie9999, nilocjin, Crashing Vor, condoleaser, Caoimhin Laochdha, MO Blue, CTLiberal, el cid, ER Doc, MBNYC, sharilynn, llbear, Turbonerd, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, kurt, chapel hill guy, chgobob, airmarc, Snarcalita, kidneystones, slksfca, illusionmajik, seabos84, AmericanRiverCanyon, Tamar, One Pissed Off Liberal, Noor B, YoyogiBear, Randall Sherman, anotherdemocrat, khereva, Cronesense, blue armadillo, Cottagerose, Terminus Est, indy2dem, EdSF, CTMET, DoubleBarrellBunnyAnger, HeartlandLiberal, flumptytail, DWG, drchelo, Casey Morris, vbdietz, jolicalcat, Oreo, jnhobbs, Moderation, Rumarhazzit, superjude, leonard145b, fallina7, madgranny, JML9999, sable, roguetrader2000, MKinTN, GANJA, KarenM92, skymutt, mconvente, davidseth, planetclaire4, ShadowSD, Phil N DeBlanc, little comi, mamamedusa, greenies, Aureas2, skohayes, Cat Servant, Kwaidan, left my heart, Missys Brother, MsWings, ClapClapSnap, Matt Browner Hamlin, o the umanity, Victory Coffee, media whores, Tropical Depression, Garden Neighbor, CA Libertarian, jayjaybear, ShainZona, MalachiConstant, little liberal, MantisOahu, A Man Called Gloom, Mike Taylor, 4km, satanicpanic, dreamghost, cameoanne, Chad Michaels, malibu1964, ThisDudesArmy, changeisconstant

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site