Thursday, August 28, 2008

Iraq veterans endorse Obama

DENVER (AP) -- Iraq war veterans brought their military credibility to the podium on Wednesday and endorsed Sen. Barack Obama as the best candidate to lead the military and help veterans.

Obama is challenged by GOP Sen. John McCain, a former Navy pilot who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Seeking to bolster Obama's credentials on security issues, Obama was formally nominated at the Democratic convention by Michael Wilson, 33, of Melbourne, Fla., an Air Force medic who served in Iraq. Wilson, a Republican, said Obama has wisdom and courage "to talk to our enemies and consult with our allies."

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., 34, the only Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, addressed the crowd with 25 male and female recent veterans wearing dark business suits at his side. He said Obama has fought for better care for veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and to end homelessness among veterans.

"That's why we are here and we are proud to stand with him as he leads the fight for a smarter and tougher foreign policy, so that we can finally end the war in Iraq, go after the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, and defeat them where they are strongest, in Afghanistan," Murphy said.

McCain, a key backer of the troop increase in Iraq, is against a scheduled troop withdrawal. Obama spoke out against the war at the start and opposed the troop increase. He has said his plan would get combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months.

Off the stage at the convention, veterans from recent wars have attended fundraisers for Iraq veterans running for office and lobbied for better benefits.

Earlier Wednesday, thousands of people attended a Rage Against the Machine concert sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War. Afterward, about 50 veterans in military fatigues led a noisy but peaceful protest from the concert into downtown.

No comments: