From Iraq to the Campaign Trail

From Iraq to the Campaign Trail

Iraq War veterans are turning to politics with the same sense of duty that pushed them to enlist. Meet two on the trail.
Unlike veterans from past wars, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan today are surprised to find that their opinions matter. Their wartime experiences earn them credibility and respect and many of them are turning to politics. This New York Times video follows two veterans whose experiences overseas motivated them to get involved with politics for the first times in their lives.

Michael Wilson didn’t vote in 2004, but after serving in the Air Force in Iraq he felt a sense of duty to get involved and help elect his choice for president. Wilson is a Republican but questioned the Iraq War from the onset. He volunteers for Barack Obama and his credibility as a veteran catapulted him to be a speaker at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

Veteran William Bennett didn’t vote in 2004 either. Politics is a way for him to continue fighting for those who have died. Bennett is Florida state captain of Vets for Freedom, a group dedicated to a obtaining a victory in Iraq. He says he supports the candidate who wants to win in Iraq – John McCain. In a tearful interview he recalls flying home from Iraq with the caskets of eight fallen soldiers.

Wilson and Bennett identify themselves as bi-partisan but both parties heavily recruit veterans to give their candidates credibility. As these two men and other veterans continue their involvement in politics, they say they will be resisting being pushed into one camp or another in order to get things done.

Length: 4:58

Video: Diana Oliva Cave and Damien Cave

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