Who and what is behind the organization Vets for Freedom, a lobby group for staying the Administration's course in the war in Iraq? Contributors to our investigative website SourceWatch are wondering exactly that. The current article can be reached by clicking here on the name Vets for Freedom. The group has a feel-good name -- how many vets are against freedom? -- but its supposedly non-partisan patriotic agenda is looking rather suspect. Will it become to the 2006 Congressional elections what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were in 2004? A Republican front for waging ad hominem attacks, this time on politicians like John Murtha who are calling for an end to the US occupation?
Here is what SourceWatch investigators have discovered so far:
Vets for Freedom was founded in January 2006 "by a group of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who believe in the mission of freedom in the Global War on Terror, but who have become frustrated with the way the operation has been politicized and reported to the home front," according to its rather fancy website. The website says "In 2006, this group of veterans, enlisted personnel, and officers decided to take action. The result was the creation of Vets for Freedom, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the unbiased, nonpartisan truth of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to educate the public and mobilize public support for the Global War on Terror."
While the organization claims to be nonpartisan, the privacy notice on its website suggests otherwise, reading: " ... We may from time to time share the information our visitors provide with other Republican candidates and other like-minded organizations."
(Author's note: Whoever the PR professionals are behind Vets for Freedom, they work fast in monitoring and managing scrutiny. Less than an hour after this article hit the internet today they changed their website privacy notice and removed the "OTHER REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES" reference that had been in their privacy notice since May, mentioned in the paragraph above. They are quick! John Stauber)
The organization contests and condemns the views of Democratic Congressman John Murtha, the Democrat calling for the United States to pull troops from Iraq.
Virtually no information is available about the funders and organizations behind Vets for Freedom, so it is difficult to evaluate the degree to which the organization might be part of a war propaganda campaign interacting with the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, the American Legion and/or other ideologically-driven public relations and lobbying efforts that have exploited for political purposes the issues of US war veterans and their families, such as Move America Forward and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
The SourceWatch article on Vets for Freedom goes on to examine the very Republican and partisan politics of its major spokespeople and founders. Is this an organization that is being cranked up for the 2006 elections, in the mode of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to attack critics of the Administration's Iraq policy? Stay tuned to SourceWatch, but more than that, join the collaborative investigation. Anyone, including you, is invited to contribute fair, accurate and documented information to this article on Vets for Freedom, and every other SourceWatch article. Go beyond just reading about the news, help to find it and create it by collaborating with our citizen journalism community at SourceWatch.