Veterans & Military Families Council Stumps For Hillary

Lima Charlie News is LIVE in Philadelphia reporting on the latest coverage of #DNC2016

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – This week Lima Charlie News correspondents are live at the Democratic National Convention in Philly bringing you up-to-the-minute news on unfolding DNC events.

On Wednesday, at the Veterans & Military Families Council, active duty and retired service members and delegates coalesced at the DNC to make the case for Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief, reminding veterans and their families that this election is about more than just veterans issues. “In the military we set aside our differences and did what was right for our country. Our leaders should be able to do that too,” said Congressman Seth Moulton, who led one of the first infantry platoons to enter Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Gathered were a number of retired generals and admirals, from each of the service branches, who assembled to “express their support for Hillary Clinton as the next Commander in Chief and their concern about the ability of Donald Trump to fulfill that role without endangering our Nation and our Allies.” The group issued a press release detailing its veteran supporters, as well as primary issues of concern. Included were that Donald Trump “has stated that he will pull back from NATO, which is crucial to our ability to fight terrorism” and that “[h]e has insulted our Allies while praising dictators and adversaries.” The statement added that Trump has said more countries should have nuclear weapons,  “and in some of the most combustible areas of the world.” Finally, a point stressed at the conference, “Mr. Trump’s demonizing of Muslims is alienating the very countries we need to help us in the fight against terrorism.”

Among the esteemed speakers was Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient who was the first female double amputee from the Iraq War, the first Asian American woman to be elected to Congress in Illinois, and the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps Captain and Bronze Star Medal Recipient who served his last of 4 tours in Iraq in 2008; and Rear Admiral (ret.) Jamie Barnett, who served 30 years in the US Navy and Navy Reserve and has received 4 Legion of Merit medals.

Veterans and Military Families Council Panel
Veterans & Military Families Council Panel (l-r, Will Fischer, Rear Adm. (ret) Jamie Barnett, Christine Pelosi)

Congressman Moulton took to the podium, urging veterans, “Our voice has got to be heard in this election … If there is one group of people that Americans across the country will listen to–whether Democratic or Republican–it’s all of you who have put your lives on the line for our country.” Moulton added, “I would never purport to speak for all the troops, but Donald Trump is a threat to our country. And when you’re hearing that from people who have served their country, I hope it will make you speak up. You cannot check out. This is an election that you have to check in.”

Congresswoman Duckworth, who served as Lieutenant Colonel in the 106th Aviation Regiment (28th Infantry Division), reminded the audience:

“We are 104 days away from one of the most important elections of our lifetime. The outcome of this election is going to determine the future of our healthcare system, the job opportunities for middle income families, and our nation’s security abroad. For all of you who have served and worn the uniform for this great country, you have a unique experience and perspective. But we also have a unique responsibility to stand up. The issues facing our nation now are ones we cannot let just pass on by. We have a man who is running for president on the other side who, this morning, said he wants to renegotiate the Geneva Convention. When you’ve sat in a downed aircraft after you’ve just been shot down and you’re bleeding to death, you’ve got a whole different perspective on the Geneva Convention than Donald Trump does. This is the same man who, this morning, has encouraged a Foreign Nation to conduct espionage on the United States. I do not want that man to be Commander-in-Chief. And I will do everything I can to make sure that he doesn’t get there.”

Duckworth lost both her legs from injuries sustained in 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was fired at by Iraqi insurgents with a rocket-propelled grenade. She retired from the Army two years ago and is running for US Senate in 2016.

Duckworth announced, in March of last year, that she would be challenging incumbent US Senator Mark Kirk for his seat in the 2016 Senate election in Illinois. She spoke of her commitment, as an elected representative, to continue to reform the status quo: “As a veteran, as an American, I will be working on the VA for the rest of my life. It is a lifetime commitment. There will be failures of the system. But we are talking about taking over control. We must flip the Senate, take back the Senate from people who want to gut the post-9/11 GI Bill. Let me tell you, that is not acceptable and it is not going to happen on my watch.”

Duckworth’s family is rooted in a history of military service. Her father, who passed away in 2005, was a US Marine Corps veteran who traces his family’s American roots to soldiers in the Revolutionary War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. Speaking to this, she added, “My family has fought for this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution. We have a responsibility to make sure that when we go to war it is in the best interests of this nation. Frankly, we can do better. And that’s why we must have more veterans in office. We are the ones who can stand up and say this is the cost. Let me tell you, if it is not the right reason, then we shall not put the finest young men and women of our nation in jeopardy in order to defend all that we hold dear. ‘All that we hold dear’ means going beyond veterans issues. The rights of all Americans. Whether that means voting rights. The values we stand for. We can do better and we will do better.”

Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, whose accomplishments in the military line of duty are matched only by those in his return to civilian life, also took to the podium:

“I’m here today because I trust Hillary Clinton to be the best Commander-in-Chief that we have had in decades. I’m telling you that because I want you to go out there and tell people that you trust her. She has been under attack for decades. What people in the military understand is that it is an information campaign. Every time they launch an investigation, it amounts to nothing. We have to play that role. In this age of discord, in this day and age, there are so many American institutions which are not trusted. But there is one that is. And that’s the American Armed Forces. Because you have been all in–at some point in your career, you put it all on the line. Either you personally and certainly the families that supported you were all in too.”

Admiral Barnett continued, “You have a degree of advanced citizenship because you have been part of the defense of this country. You care about it and people respect that. We need you like we never have before to go out and tell people. We are closer on veterans this time than many elections in the past. So you need to reach out to people–letters to the editor, contact the media, having meetings. We need the sergeants, and the corporals and the petty officers to be more active than we ever have.”

Comparing Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, Admiral Barnett added, “On one side we have the person who understands all the elements of national power. On the other side, we have someone who not only wouldn’t defend us, but he is already harming our national security. Donald Trump is a threat. And you and I understand this the way that it is. He’s a threat to our men and women in uniform now. We do not need another war we don’t have to get into.”

Raising the issue of the contentious Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama Administration during Secretary Clinton’s tenure, Barnett added, “And I’d like to talk to you about our current war with Iran. Oh, wait a second, we’re not in another war with Iran. And that’s because Secretary Clinton brought Iran first to its knees and then to the negotiation table. And that’s what she will do for this country.”

Panel speakers included U.S. Marine veteran Will Fischer (Executive Director, Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO), and Christine Pelosi (Vice Chair, Campaigns and Elections, Veterans & Military Families Council). Representing the group Vietnam Veterans of America, was President John Rowan and Executive Director Rick Weidman. Also present was Khizr Khan, the father of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, who died in Iraq, 2004, saving his men from a suicide bomber. Kahn would later that evening deliver a powerful speech at the convention, attacking Donald Trump for questioning the patriotism of American Muslims.

As the DNC comes to a close tomorrow, Lima Charlie will continue to bring the latest coverage live from Philadelphia’s #DemConvention.

Lima Charlie News

Lima Charlie provides global news, featuring insight & analysis by military veterans and intelligence professionals Worldwide.

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