400 Veterans March for Ron Paul, Peace, and to Memorialize Lost Comrades

[Update: Edited the quote regarding veterans who have committed suicide.]

On February 20, libertarian activist and Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh, and Nathan Cox, co-founder with Kokesh of Veterans for Ron Paul, hosted a rally and march for veterans and active duty service members who support the Texas Congressman for the 2012 Republican nomination. The "Ron Paul Is the Choice of the Troops" rally began at noon in the Sylvan Theater by the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.. Troops marched on the White House in a 48 x 8 formation, totaling 384, and they were joined by roughly a hundred supporters and observers.

Many people at the event were new to politics, yet they had traveled from out of state to participate in the rally. I spent some time with John, a teacher from Long Island, who told me that he came to support Ron Paul because of the financial meltdown of 2008. "I worked for Morgan Stanley in 2007. That's how I saw it coming. All that reckless betting." He said that in the aftermath of September 11, he supported the Iraq War. "I was eighteen. My dad is a fireman. But I got duped in the Iraq War. Most of us did. The same thing is happening now with Iran." He cited the rational self interest of Iranian authorities as reason to discount them as a threat to the United States, a much more powerful entity capable of causing disproportionate damage in response to any provocation. "That's what I try to teach my students. I say, they're crazy, but they're not stupid. You don't get to be a dictator by being stupid." John said he won't vote for any candidate who supports war at this point. "Look, I don't want to fight, so why am I going to vote for someone who's going to make someone else go and fight?"

I also spoke to Kristin from Toms River, New Jersey, who was at the rally "to support the troops and Ron Paul" with her husband and four of their children. She told me she has two nephews in the military, one in the Marines and one in the Air Force. When asked if she and her husband had been libertarian before hearing about Ron Paul's political platform, she smiled and said, "We are now." Like John, the teacher from Long Island, Kristin and her husband had never donated to a campaign or cared about politics before, "but now, every time there's a money bomb, we're right there."

To Kristin, the presidential candidate's ethos of sound money, free enterprise, and a peaceful foreign policy trumps her prior disinterest in elections. "Ron Paul's message is so clear. It's back to the basics. It's the same as it was twenty or thirty years ago, and it's as true as it was when Thomas Jefferson said it before him. It stands the test of time."

It's clear that Paul's messaging galvanizes the support of the idealistic. I was able to speak to a young man who asked not to have his name published after the controversy over the participation of active duty service members in the march. He first read the United States Constitution in French in his home country of Senegal when he was a teen. This is why, he said, he chose the United States as his new home when President Abdoulaye Wade came to power in 2000. "I love freedom," he said. He came here to learn about a people who support "truth, being free, and not telling lies," but that he has come to see a less virtuous side after twelve years. "I really believed in that. I miss that. I call it a mirage."

Ron Paul has restored the service member's belief in his own ideals. "He was the first person I heard talking about the Constitution, about the real America. I'm taking time to look at it even more now because of Ron Paul...." It was worth it, he said, to fly up for the day from his base in the South, because "if we don't figure this out, someone else will come in and show us. That's how empires are. They go up and then they go down."

The Troops for Ron Paul followed their rally with a march on the White House at around 2:30 PM. When they got there, their chant of "Ron Paul Revolution" overpowered other, smaller protests taking place, including this one by Iranian U.S.-designated terrorist group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK):

The troops did an about-face in front of the White House and held a salute for over half an hour; one second of salute for every soldier who has died in the global war on terror. Different durations of the salute were dedicated to different causes within the issue of needless loss of life, including "every soldier who has committed suicide while Barack Obama was their commander in chief" and a period of prayer for the dead. The crowd of over five hundred people stayed silent; there was only the wind, the click of cameras and the wail of a crying baby somewhere behind the formation.

Read about Ron Paul's ideas, public demonstrations, and how not to support the troops.

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  • Fox News||

    Pfft!..never happened

  • Richard ||

    There were 400. It would be more accurate to say that it barely happened.

  • ||

    there were probably a bit more than 400 military marchers. but there was double the amount of regular supporters who followed behind the marchers. safe to say there were alot of people. just go watch the video on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....AAAAAAAAAA

  • reasonableperson||

    Totally Richard! I've been trying to explain to people for years that soldiers only BARELY die!

    Thank god someone is operating on reason here.

  • ||

    As compared to the people that marched for Romney, Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, or Obama.

    Which didn't happen at all.

    I would say there is an infinite amount more support for Paul in the military than the rest of the possible candidates, because the ratio of a positive number over 0 is infinite.

  • reasonable person||

    If you want to compare troop support for RP against the GOP candidate field and Obama, best to look to the donation stats because, as you say, there have been zero marches for the other candidates.

    Here are the FEC numbers for april-june:
    Paul - $25,000
    Obama - $16, 000
    Romney - $2,750
    Newt - $500
    Santorum $250

    You can check fec for citations.

  • Konfounded Kristen||

    MEK is outside my workplace every day. According to one of my colleagues, who is an erstwhile Iranian, MEK is more of a religious cult than a terror organization (at least since the 1980's). Their leader apparently lives in luxurious exile in Paris while her followers starve and die in refugee camps in Iraq. I fucking hate cults.

    Anyway, good on the Vets!

  • MWG||

    Impossible. Ron Paul hates teh troops and loves teh terrorists.

  • sarcasmic||

    They weren't real veterans.

  • Spur||

    How could anyone read this and Not conclude Ron Paul hates America?

    I reckon this will get zero MSM coverage.

  • Richard ||

    Different durations of the salute were dedicated to different causes within the issue of needless loss of life, including "every soldier who has committed suicide while Barack Obama has been president."

    Because Obama is personally responsible for every soldier who offs himself after his girlfriend dumps him?

  • ||

    You have a pretty silly and disrespectful view of what it's like to be in combat.

    Obama could have ended either or both the wars at any time he wanted. He didn't need congressional approval because they were not declared wars.

    You know what disgusts me about party loyalists, is that they will criticize one party for doing action X then support their part for doing the exact same thing. They are such loathsome hypocrites, and that's what the Democrats are today. Everything they complained about under Bush is being done by Obama, but the Democrats no longer complain about it.

    Both of you disgust me and you're disgusting, brainless people.

  • Mo||

    Both Afghanistan and Iraq had Congressional AUMF's. Ron Paul voted for the former and against the latter.

  • ||

    And your point is?

    Did you read the Authorization to Use Force that Paul signed?

    It didn't target Afghanistan, it authorized Bush to go after the people that were determined to be responsible for 9/11. Maybe you ought to read it, but more importantly you should realize that Bush went well beyond his scope of authorization, but what president doesn't do that nowadays?

  • Nancy||

    I can see your retort to that comment, but it was poorly made.

    I think the better way of phrasing it would have been "Because Obama is responsible for every soldier who has ever served, regardless if they served while he was president or not, so long as they committed suicide during his presidency without noting if they had psychological issues or other personal issues for having served." That's just a smear campaign at that point and has NO REASON to EVER be mentioned because it is personal. They just so happened to commit suicide while Obama was president. Let's see the full history from. It is just childish to resort to such methods, regardless of party.

  • ||

    Look, this wasn't about one party or another. We discussed doing a salute/moment of silence for every service member killed/committed suicide since the wars began, but that would have taken hours (literally). I wouldn't say that we smeared Obama. I'd say he smeared himself by lying about closing Guantanamo, ending the wars (we're still in Iraq, and mercenaries are too), being anti-useless-war (Libya), and a host of other non military things.
    It's not about party politics for us, it's not even really about Paul - it's about the ideals he stands for. So if no other candidate embodies those values (save Gary Johnson perhaps) we will vote our minds with write ins.
    Besides that, suicide in the military is at a record high - contributing to this are both wars. Beyond that, we did it to honor our fallen brothers. You don't need to understand it.

  • ||

    To further address the Obama thing - he's in the WH, so he gets our direct scorn. The next time we march, it won't be in DC, it'll be in Florida to let the RNC know our thoughts.

  • Mr Whipple||

    O/T

    Why is it, now, when I try to post from my Droid, I get booted to Reason mobile? I never had any problems before.

  • Richard ||

    iPhone is the same.

  • WWNGD?||

    Driod (Google) does not like privacy or freedom?

  • Bob Dylan||

    The crowd of over five hundred people stayed silent; there was only the wind, the click of cameras and the wail of a crying baby somewhere behind the formation.

    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

  • ||

    I think the crying baby was my niece.....seriously

  • Cytotoxic||

    He cited the rational self interest of Iranian authorities

    Stopped reading closely right there.

  • Everyone Else||

    Cytotoxic

    Stopped reading right there.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Witty and original!

  • ||

    "That's what I try to teach my students. I say, they're crazy, but they're not stupid. You don't get to be a dictator by being stupid."

    Sure, by definition, no dictator has ever done anything that led to his own destruction because they are too smart? Students? Scary.

    Perhaps it is best that the MSM didn't cover this.

  • ||

    People march for Paul, hold rallies for Paul, have money bombs for Paul, fiercely defend policies of Paul's, correct media's incorrect statements about Paul.

    What other candidate gets that?

    There's only one actual candidate with grass roots support, the rest is atro-turf and a bunch of zombies that just mindlessly vote.

  • anarch||

    and the wail of a crying baby somewhere behind the formation

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  • romulus augustus||

    Right wing radio host: "See, look at all the crazies, the nutbagz, the lunatics that support Ron Paul. That clown's no hero, the heroes are our boys in the military. Oh, wait..."

  • Juice||

    "Dr. Paul cured my apathy."

    If anyone cured me of political apathy it was George W. Bush.

  • ||

    Although I like Ron Paul, I know that he has zero chance at being the GOP nominee, that role will in the end go to Romney. The reason this march garnered no media coverage is simple...400 people...you see more people in line for an Iphone.

  • ||

    How many people would march for Romney, Santorum, Perry, Gingrich, or Perry?

    None. Nobody would bother to demonstrate their support for any of those scumbags. Zero.

    But one of those scumbags will be the Republican nominee, and you know what, more people are concerned about iPhones than making an informed decision about who they should vote for. They are stupid. Voters are grossly negligent for the most part.

  • ||

    Watch the other videos about the march. Much more people than 400. Ron Paul or lose it all

  • ||

    Well considering the DOD has been seen sending out emails to active duty personnel reservists and veterans stating that it's a breach of the CoC to be at a rally such as this and they will be prosecuted {which it isn't} I am more then proud that so many had the courage to go.

  • reasonable person||

    Ms. Ershadi,

    Most sincere thanks for writing this article.

    During the event yesterday CNN posted as headline news on their website a story about a man who found a fish at a chinatown fish market and thought it had legs. But then, it turned out that it didn't.

  • cynical||

    Oh, so CNN is the rather spoofer. I guess that... no, that doesn't really make sense at all.

  • CultOfPersonality||

    As someone who was there, it about more than 400 PEOPLE.
    There were about 400 of us, and about 1000 family members, supporters, etc, etc.

  • Nancy||

    I love supporting our vets and think the march was great for remembering them, but to be honest, I have no idea who this guy is and what he stands for, aside from being a veteran running for the GOP and wanting to make america strong. I have no idea how he plans to do this and would love to hear how he'll benefit the country. But regardless of which side or party your from, we can agree on this: We need to show our troops and veterans as much support as possible. They have one of the most dangerous jobs in this country and often times run through it unappreciated. I support a lot of companies, like airsplat, who support our troops. We need to do the same anyway we can.

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