Election 2016

(UPDATED) Gary Johnson Not Invited to Appear at Military Veterans Group's Presidential Forum

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)'s Commander-in-Chief Forum won't include the one candidate least likely to create more combat veterans.

|

This is what a pro-veteran candidate looks like.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

The advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is hosting its first ever presidential forum on September 7, which will "focus exclusively on issues the next president will have to confront as Commander-in-Chief," according to IAVA's website.

The hour-long event, which will be broadcast on NBC and MSNBC is not a debate, but rather a town hall-style event featuring the two major party candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — who will not be sharing the stage but will instead "take questions on national security, military affairs and veterans issues" from NBC moderators in front of a New York City audience comprised mostly of military veterans.

Notably absent from the forum is the presidential candidate far less likely than Trump or Clinton to create more combat veterans, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, which is almost certainly how the Trump and Clinton campaigns would prefer it.

Including Johnson in the forum would present an undeniable foreign policy alternative to the major party candidates, who at their recent respective political conventions did their best to outdo each other on selling the virtues of how hawkish their administrations would be. Trump and Clinton would be forced to explain to an audience loaded with service-people who have suffered through repeatedly failed military interventions why they — and not the non-interventionist Johnson — truly have their best interests at heart.

A recent unscientific poll of over 3,000 active military members conducted by Doctrine Man found Johnson trouncing the two "serious" candidates, with Johnson polling at 38.7 percent, Trump coming in at 30.9 percent, with Clinton bringing up the rear with 14.1 percent, according to The Hill.

It also appears that the military, much like the rest of the American voting populace, is completely turned off by both major party candidates. A recent Military Times poll of 2,000 active service-people found 61 percent stating they were "dissatisfied or strongly dissatisfied" with the idea of Trump as president. For Clinton, the level of dissatisfaction jumps to 82 percent. That same poll indicated that 13 percent of those polled intended to vote for Johnson in November.

On both Reddit and Twitter, there's an increasingly vocal push to convince IAVA to invite Johnson to appear at the Commander-in-Chief forum, which because it's not a debate is not subject to the arbitrary rules of the Commission on Presidential Debates that keep third party candidates polling below 15 percent in five major national polls from appearing on the high profile stage beside the Democrat and Republican.

Dylan Milroy, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2012 and has been leading efforts on social media to advocate for Johnson's inclusion in the IAVA forum, told the Military Times that unlike Trump and Clinton, Johnson "is the only candidate with a sane foreign and intervention policy. There is nothing American about these massive government policies and programs that the Clintons want to fund with trillions of more tax dollars. There is also nothing American or honorable about Trump wanting to carpet bomb anyone that throws a pebble at our boots."

In an email exchange with Reason, Milroy added that his support for Johnson is not a "lesser of three evils vote" and that Johnson's "stance on national defense makes me ecstatic." Milroy adds that he has reached out to IAVA to discuss this issue but has yet to receive a response. Milroy wrote that IAVA is "supposed to be my advocate and they refuse to talk to me or my brothers and sisters. I am starting to get genuinely confused what their purpose is [sic]. If you want to ignore us that is fine, but don't claim to not ignore us."

Navy veteran Dave Olsen wrote in an email to Reason that he's voting for Johnson "because he is against foreign interventions. He wants to have free trade and dialog [sic] with all nations which would be counter to wars and aggression."

Olsen added, "we have killed and maimed far too many civilians and far, far too many of [our] own fine young Americans. It has to stop. War is Hell and should be avoided. We are not doing a very good job of taking care of our veterans after they come home either. We can be the leader in the world through free market trade and friendship and still have a very strong defense. I believe Gary Johnson stands for those same things." Of his hopes that IAVA would include Johnson in the forum, Olsen wrote, "veterans…have the right to hear all of the Presidential candidates' positions. Showing favoritism to the two main, old, corrupt parties is disrespectful to our military people and veterans."

IAVA states that the group represents over 190,000 veterans as a "nonpartisan organization and does not endorse political candidates of any party." Military Times reports that a IAVA representative confirmed the group is "looking into the issue" of inviting Johnson to the forum, but offered no additional comment.

After 15 years of war, it's an important and welcome development that IAVA has convinced the two major parties' candidates to address veterans issues, and getting Trump and Clinton to agree to the terms of the forum must have been a difficult feat. It is also understandable that IAVA would not want to rankle the two marquee names on the bill, but it would ultimately be a disservice to veterans if the reason Johnson is excluded from the forum is to provide cover for two war-hawks to lather an audience about much they "care" about veterans, all the while pushing foreign policies that will undoubtedly lead to more physically and psychologically damaged combat veterans.

Reason reached out to both the Johnson campaign and IAVA to find out if there have been any discussions to include Johnson in the forum, and this post will be updated if we receive a response.

UPDATE: Military Times reports:

Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for NBC, told Military Times that the network plans to invite Johnson to participate in a separate event to be aired on MSNBC "in the near future." It will address "the same set of issues related to national security and veterans," Kornblau said.

NEXT: Self-Driving Cars: Half-Assed Automation Is Stupid and Dangerous

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)’s Commander-in-Chief Forum won’t include the one candidate least likely to create more combat veterans.

    Are military veterans the type of people whose principal goal is to create fewer veterans?

    1. I wouldn’t mind fewer…

      1. The all-you-can-eat veteran buffets will be less crowded?

        1. Are you a Veteran or just a jerk sitting around in you underwear thinking about the ribs at the Golden Corral?

      2. Being a libertarian, your opinion obviously doesn’t matter. Duh!

    2. It might not be a majority opinion among veterans but it certainly isn’t a rare one

      1. I only ask because it seems that in my experience, both current military and veterans often still support the mission. And often the expansion of it.

        I’m not calling anyone out as being a dick here, I’m just wondering if a guy that wants to roll back the “mission” would be particularly well received anyway.

        1. I worked with a lot of veterans in the DoD. They were almost always on the side of more action, war, and kinetic military actions. It’s a paradox I have yet to figure out. Even more puzzling when you consider the fiasco of Viet Nam.

          1. You were at DoD. Most of us are not at DoD.

          2. Just my personal experience, but I am a 10 year veteran who spent the GWOT in combat arms.

            Those who have been, and saw, don’t want more. I doubt that 10% of the people I walked the streets of Sadr City with want any more war unless it’s clearly defensive.

          3. Do you NOT understand the nature of war?

          4. Again Veterans may have marched in lock step at one time but most who have seen combat that I know are not anxious to get back into it. Unless they are called to do so. There is a sense of espirit de corps that follows all branches and of course many become life long time friends. That doesn’t mean they don’t have critical thinking skill sets. I wish for once the Libertarians who never served would do some research instead of making their uneducated opinions known to the world.

          5. I’ve experienced the opposite. Most veterans I encounter, and that is a lot, understand the ugly side of their business and are reserved. I’ve also seen a higher incidence of Ron Paul supporters, and libertarianism, than in the general public. The destruction and waste of war is obvious.

          6. I’d say it’s fairly common though to find people will say either go and get it done or don’t bother at all. That’s a fairly common sentiment among veterans, not being comfortable with these ongoing toe in the water operations. But get what done? The US military is not particularly effective at nation building. Overly restrictive rules of engagement and ambiguous objectives are bad for morale as well. What does victory look like in Iraq or Afghanistan? I served in both places and I don’t know. Do Americans want to defeat ISIL? What if the best way to do that was to send in an entire corps to lay waste across Iraq and Syria? That sounds less palatable than some rhetorical fantasy of “air war” or “air occupation” but it’s a lot more likely to be effective as far as military objectives go. Of course it wouldn’t result in a stable, peaceful Middle East either. Veterans are a tricky crowd especially when you’re talking to people who were actually involved in operations in nasty places because the whole thing is a big, complicated mess and they know it.

        2. Veterans are not some monolithic ideological block of voters. Why don’t you get off your rear end and ask some. Instead of pulling your opinions out of it.

    3. It’s their party and they can exclude the Johnson if they want to

    4. And now NBC is making excuses for them but still making sure he isn’t seen at the same time or the same place as the other two Candidates. One more way the media is keeping Gary from the real debates that millions will tune into rather than just those who are already Libertarians or who know about a third option.

  2. the one candidate least likely to create more combat veterans.

    Y COM JONSJIN HAET VETRUNS ADN WNATS LESS OF THEMM

  3. Two chefs bragging about their omelette recipes in front of an audience of broken eggs.

    1. Stealing that.

    2. You’re a super person. May you get laid often and thoroughly.

      1. Pray, do send that message to my wife…

        War sucked. But I am not a broken egg. The KIA and some of the WIA, sure.

  4. “Notably absent from the forum is the presidential candidate far less likely than Trump or Clinton to create more combat veterans, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, which is almost certainly how the Trump and Clinton campaigns would prefer it.”

    Maybe the vets don’t have anything to ask him.

  5. Well, I usually vote LIbertarian but mainly because my state is never in play, I supported most GOP candidates financially or with some really minor campaigning efforts (GOTV, etc).

    This year is different. I’m all in for Gary Johnson. There’s no other reasonable choice.

    I don’t know if the Libertarian can ever really be viable at the national level, but libertarian policies tend to win out over the long run as the benefits become more obvious. This year both can get a great push.

    1. *the Libertarian Party

      1. Tell us how you really feel. I don’t think that was a typo, and I don’t think ur tall either! Hmph

        1. I happen to know that “TallDave” is really of average height, and his name is Quincy.

          1. AverageQuincy doesn’t quite roll off as easily as TD.

    2. So you’re a Republican and this year the Republican candidate is on the LP ballot line.

      1. And the Democrat is on the GOP ballot line. And the Sith Lord is on the Democrat ballot line.

  6. There is nothing American about these massive government policies and programs that the Clintons want to fund with trillions of more tax dollars. There is also nothing American or honorable about Trump wanting to carpet bomb anyone that throws a pebble at our boots.”

    This guy responds.

    1. Cruz was the carpet bomber candidate

      1. Your candidate merely wants to “bomb the shit out of them.”

    2. I would hardly call wearing a burkini in public a ‘pebble at our boots’.

      1. Wearing socks with sandals calls for nukes, if anything ever did.

  7. the one candidate least likely to create more combat veterans

    You mean Johnson, the guy who specifically said that he couldn’t rule out getting involved in more wars of choice, because you just never know when the next Adolf Hitler might suddenly around, or some bullcrap like that?

    1. So don’t vote for the guy, because the other two have made it soooo clear they wouldn’t be involved in protracted conflict. The military is going to be walking on fields of rose petals if Hillary or Trump is elected.

  8. Wait, did GayJay flip-flop on committing US military forces to elective “humanitarian wars” not in the US interest?

    1. Well, that’ll likely be a topic they’ll be talking about tonight.

  9. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)’s Commander-in-Chief Forum won’t include the one candidate least likely to create more combat veterans

    1) GayJay’s onboard for military intervention to take out ISIS and unspecified “humanitarian” wars, so… eh

    2) Not sure combat vets are as avid in comparing intervention with Adam Lanza as some writers on this site. An oversight, to be sure

    3) Is this “the one candidate” out of everyone or “the one candidate” who has a shot at winning? If it’s the former, Jill Stein has a fair claim to be even less likely to go to war and if it’s the latter Gary Johnson definitely shouldn’t be considered.

  10. Have you heard about Gary Johnson? He’s catching on!

    1. He’s catching on like fire! The flame can be described as one of a matchbook’s intensity…..because voters are lame……could they ever be tame, and get their head in the game? Or do they support Trump, or Clinton who’s thirst for war and power are preety mich the same.

      The military is seen by these folks as some sort of game, where the mash buttons and send us off to war with their egos never tamed and no fear of being maimed.

      1. A rhyming vampire is even lamer than a sparkly one.

        1. And to think, I just wrote one specially for u. My feelz are now like elmers glue, that when dries can be peeled away besides broken in two……all because of you.

    2. Do you NOT understand the nature of war?

      To what? That many millions hate us because “fill in the blank here?” ? Gary is a neophyte. We are playing what amounts to the “big leagues” here. Think “Total Regional Destruction” vs “We may see them in the finals, maybe, here.”. We are NOT dealing with just the fucking idiotic dems here. We are talking about what happens when Iran DELIVERS a nuke to Tel Aviv. Stop, take a breath, and consider what happens then? You want a water pipe president to decide who the fuck we nuke out of existence? If we don’t wipe out ALL the people who think we don’t exist, at that time, because, you know “libtertatianism” and such, then you should not be “playing” this game. Nukes changed the game. This is no longer about “fair” it is about what we NEED to happen to ensure a future. Hate to break it to you all, but we are NOT fucking around since WWII.

  11. If you’re into that sort of thing, “IAVA is a 501(c)3 organization.”

    This means it’s subject to the Lyndon Johnson Amendment and can neither support nor oppose political candidates.

    Of course, the Lyndon Johnson Amendment is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and should be ignored by any freedom-loving American, but I think we know what would happen if a 501(c)(3) were to sponsor a town hall featuring 3rd party candidates and excluding the Big 2. The IRS would be down their throats faster than you could say “campaign finance loophole!”

    1. Even the proggies at Politifact acknowledge the seamy side of the Johnson Amendment:

      “The restriction was championed by LBJ in 1954 when Johnson was a U.S. senator running for re-election. A conservative nonprofit group that wanted to limit the treaty-making ability of the president produced material that called for electing his primary opponent, millionaire rancher-oilman Dudley Dougherty, and defeating Johnson. There was no church involved….

      “However it was likely, [says legal scholar Michael Hone], that “Johnson was motivated by a desire to exact revenge on the foundation he believed supported his opponent and to prevent it and other nonprofit corporations from acting similarly in the future.”

      1. I hope some 1st Amendment defense organization is keeping a file on all the 501(c)(3)s who support the duopoly candidates at the expense of third parties.

        The purpose of such a file would not be to turn the IRS loose on these groups, but to defend nonprofits which *oppose* the duopoly (or one wing of it) and face IRS retaliation for doing so. The file I suggest could be entered into evidence to show the discriminatory application of the Johnson Amendment and maybe get the whole thing struck down.

      2. I hope some 1st Amendment defense organization is keeping a file on all the 501(c)(3)s who support the duopoly candidates at the expense of third parties.

        The purpose of such a file would not be to turn the IRS loose on these groups, but to defend nonprofits which *oppose* the duopoly (or one wing of it) and face IRS retaliation for doing so. The file I suggest could be entered into evidence to show the discriminatory application of the Johnson Amendment and maybe get the whole thing struck down.

  12. The Lyndon Johnson Amendment is simplicity itself and easy to comply with, just check the IRS Web site for details.

  13. Ur so informed and smart, while many others are as welcome as a fart while trying to enjoy a pop tart. They try to abuse, while your knowledge becomes more powerful and begins to fuse.

    They are filled with hate as you procreate, while they sit home jealous and masturbate, wishing they were you but know it’s to late as they are miserable with their fate.

    1. Dr. Seuss that likes the blood juice.

      1. I’m glad ur so awesome and don’t want to hang me from a noose parading around the country from the back of a train’s caboose.

  14. As a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, I find IAVA’s decision to exclude Gary Johnson from their forum reprehensible. If the IAVA’s mission is to best serve the needs of veterans, they are doing a piss poor job. I salute you, IAVA, with a giant “fuck off”.

  15. Notably absent from the forum is the presidential candidate far less likely than Trump or Clinton to create more combat veterans, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson

    In order to create combat veterans, Johnson would have to be elected president, so yeah, he has zero chance of creating combat veterans.

    1. What if he and his armed supporters retire into the hills and proclaim a revolutionary Libertopia (with common-sense exceptions, of course)?

      1. Are you still typing after skyping how you dream about this Vampire who’s big like a viking, and so to your liking. So I have to watch you at party’s because my punch you’ll be spiking.

    2. By running for office, thus making the fascist and communist wings of the Kleptocracy worry about spoiler vote takedowns, Gary stands a good chance of reducing undeclared war casualties to zero. Haven’t any of you sockpuppets ever looked at past election results? The case for voting libertarian is that LP candidates changing the laws means us VOTERS are winning.

  16. I was under the illusion of your fusion, but it was nothing more than a wierd contusion.

    :0P

  17. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did

    ?????? http://YoutubeJobs.Nypost55.com

  18. So that means GJ is effectively invited?!

  19. Country Joe McDonald is still a hit among actual combat veterans as opposed to desk jockeys. Maybe Gary ought to tag along with the guy and learn some campaign trail tricks.

  20. So they invite the two candidates who will likely use question to accuse their opponent of being racist?

  21. The accompanying pic says it all: the peace t-shirt. Johnson is sound on substance. But cannot be bothered to do the PR basic equivalent of putting on his pants. Libertarians–fairly or not–have been messaged as pot-smoking dorks; nice people and good ideas, but maybe not ready for primetime, in the thinking of Joe Public. Johnson’s last gig was with pot corporation. Brilliant, yeah, that’s going to change those perceptions. Any real candidate just can’t with his arms folded and not play, yes: politics. Johnson should’ve taken stock of his+Party’s current standing, and messaged to soften the weak parts and highlight the strengths. Here that means coming across as a little conventional and canned, cause would actually sound refreshing and appealing for a reputation considered so eccentric. But NO. Johnson simply can’t be bothered to do politics 101. So he and Libertarian party are paying consequences. Johnson, one last chance: drop the pot stuff, the dork smirk and talk meat/potatoes. Voters are not 100% rational and need signaling. You’re sending right policy message but wrong political signals.

    1. Maybe if he sent smoke signals?

      1. Har har. is there a substantive libertarian critique to the above? or is snark all there is?

      2. Maybe if the short LP platform were compared with God’s Own Prohibitionists’ 50,000-word Mein Kampf and the Dems’ nearly identical Collectivist Manifesto? Remember those comparison shopping charts on software boxes?

        Or we could remind the dupes to listen closely to what Both looter prohibitionist parties have to say about each other’s candidates and remember that on election day.

  22. “In the near future”. What a bunch of bullshit. They should have invited him to begin with.

  23. I am sorry, until you so called Libertarians can defeat the utterly defective at every level dems (still cannot cap that), shut the fuck up. You cannot even provide a potential win against the completely idiot dems, much show any power against the only slightly less stupid Republicans. STFU until you have an ACTUALLY viable winner. GJ? Good god, my dumbest cat has more sense……

    1. A headshot moron can understand that the communist party and the prohibition party did not get their grinning idiots into the Executive mansion. But they DID get their graduated income tax and ban on beer into the US Constitution. Spoiler votes consistently cast for the platform principles one embraces do change the laws. Libertarian spoiler votes have so far ended the draft, legalized abortion, stopped dry killers from shooting kids over hemp in several states and forced the courts to recognize the second amendment–to say nothing of reversing the trend in unproductive hands at the federal trough. All of these things were accomplished with less than 2% of the popular vote.
      Do girl-bullying mystical bigots deny this?

  24. I am sorry, until you so called Libertarians can defeat the utterly defective at every level dems (still cannot cap that), shut the fuck up. You cannot even provide a potential win against the completely idiot dems, much show any power against the only slightly less stupid Republicans. STFU until you have an ACTUALLY viable winner. GJ? Good god, my dumbest cat has more sense……

    1. The LV sockpuppet says:

      I am sorry

      It is to the pitiful thing’s credit that it at least admits that much…

  25. I think it is time to say it, please forgive me, that those who actually contribute do matter, those who do not, do not. Clear enough? Pretty sure that has no racial overtones, right? Those who DO matter DO matter. Something unfair or “racist” about that?

  26. my best friend’s mom makes $74 an hour on the computer . She has been without work for five months but last month her payment was $19746 just working on the computer for a few hours. find more information …
    ?????????? http://www.homejobs7.com

  27. Paul Rieckhoff the founder and CEO of IAVA had an extensive war boner for the Iraq war, volunteering to join the invasion. He did later turn against the war but he also has a history of being a progressive as well.
    Just saying.
    Both parties have this constant need to keep up the status quo of foreign intervention and maintaining the gigantic military industrial complex and the cronyism.
    It is little wonder that Johnson isn’t invited although many veterans support him it is worth noting that IAVA officially has only 183,000 members comparative to a total of 2.5 million veterans of both wars.

    1. The mechanism was spelt out in “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.” The DemoGOP are parasites infiltrating a monopoly on the use of force so they can rob with impunity. Who else would hire them? Next time you hear some soft machine looter whining that our repealing of moronic laws is “helping” the other soft machine looter to “win” (=you lose)… ask yourself how much would you pay that useless whining cowardly wretch as an employee?

  28. Hillary will invade the entire middle east..because…

  29. Too bad he wasn’t invited. While Johnson is not personally popular in the military the other two are so unpopular he’d be a welcome relief to Clump.

  30. Facebook gives you a great opportunity to earn 98652$ at your home.If you are some intelligent you makemany more Dollars.I am also earning many more, my relatives wondered to see how i settle my Life in few days thank GOD to you for this…You can also make cash i never tell alie you should check this I am sure you shocked to see this amazing offer…I’m Loving it!!!!
    ????????????????????????> http://www.factoryofincome.com

  31. I’m making over $9k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…. Go to tech tab for work detail..

    CLICK THIS LINK?????????????> http://www.earnmax6.com/

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.