Election 2016

What Did Veterans Watching (and Protesting) the IAVA Commander in Chief Forum Think of the Candidates?

Reason spoke to vets tonight at IAVA's headquarters and outside the forum.

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Vets are just not that into you
BU_Rob13/Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Protests against Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's exclusion from tonight's Commander in Chief forum — hosted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and broadcast on NBC and MSNBC — were sparsely attended and confined to a small area on the sidewalk across from the six lanes of traffic on Manhattan's West Side Highway separating them from the site of the forum, the USS Intrepid.

As I've noted previously here at Reason, a substantial online protest over the lack of an invitation to Johnson to appear at the same forum as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has apparently led to a second IAVA/NBC forum which will feature Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. But those protests didn't manifest themselves into a substantial physical presence tonight in New York, with only about 20 Gary Johnson supporters appearing along the West Side Highway. Of those Johnson supporters, only one self-identified as a military veteran.

That veteran, Nicholas B, Mejia, who served in Afghanistan as a member of the Marine Corps and is now a student at George Mason University, says he has a "surprising" number of friends who are still active duty Marines and quietly support Johnson for president, but don't go public with their politics on social media because of restrictions imposed on active duty servicepeople. He says, "I'm voting for Gary Johnson because I want the pro-peace candidate to have his voice heard," adding that he and many "young and idealistic" people joined up after "buying into all the war propaganda after 9/11," but became "disenfranchised" after realizing "that [the war] had nothing to do with what we thought it had to do with."

Mejia, who is not an IAVA member, says he felt the invitation for Johnson and Stein to appear at a second forum was meant to "appease" the veterans who have been vocal in their online protest, but that "we didn't want to settle for anything less than having him on the main stage with everybody."

Later, I visited IAVA's midtown Manhattan offices, where a viewing party was being held. Organizers made it a point to repeatedly stress to its members that they could talk to the press in attendance if they wanted to, but to make it plainly clear they were speaking for themselves and not for IAVA, which is a registered "nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and does not endorse political candidates of any party," according to its website.

But a few of the approximately sixty veterans in attendance were willing to go on the record with their opinions about the candidates.

Jim, a Manhattan-based Vietnam veteran and former TV news producer, says he thinks "Trump is a total asshole" who is both "unpatriotic" and "uses vets as stage props." But that doesn't mean he has much faith in Clinton, who he says is "more fit than Trump" to be Commander in Chief, but that both candidates are "weak on questions of understanding complicated on the ground situations in the third world."

Of Gary Johnson, Jim says "I respect him, he's a smart guy," but he's not sure who he'll vote for, just that he won't vote for Trump.

Tim Hardin, who served five tours of duty in the Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2013 and is now a student at Long Island University-Brooklyn, says "politically I have some libertarian views," but that he has been leaning further left recently, particularly over what he feels is the lack of a sufficient libertarian response to climate change. He says that this time last year, Rand Paul was his "preferred candidate" and that he still wishes the Kentucky Republican senator had gained more traction in the primaries.

Hardin says neither Trump nor Clinton "satisfied me from a non-interventionist position," adding, "neither of the candidates is going to inspire me or bring me over to sympathize with them." He also says he's tired of the lip service paid to veterans over benefits and health care, and stressed that the best way to support the troops is "to have a non-interventionist foreign policy before anything."

While he has not committed to voting for anyone, Hardin thinks "If Gary Johnson were on that stage, it would have increased the quality. The competition would have made the competition better. It would have encouraged them to have more substantive answers. Gary Johnson would have challenged them." Hardin added that many people are afraid to vote for a third party candidate because they don't think it's "feasible" that one could win, but that including a candidate like Johnson in a platform with an equal footing to the two major party candidates could contribute to changing that perception.

NEXT: Pro-Gary Johnson "Balanced Rebellion" Ad Viral Sensation of this Political Cycle

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  1. Soldiers young and old are both committed and slavish. Soldiers are respected by the intelligent fringe for their ultimate loss of control. Soldiers should rarely be judged by the thoughtful unless their submission has entered the hell unexplained.

    Soldiers are crops planted by the politic gardener. The buds of the seeds of fomented cleverness erupt in the blossoms of bosoms ready to bleed for even nebulous causes… soldiers should be revered but not necessarily at the level of the gods because the wars they bleed within are generally always unnecessary.

    1. Soldiers young and old are both committed and slavish.

      If you actually believe that, I don’t think you know very many soldiers.

      1. I suggest that your wisdom is blunted. Soldiers are the slaves of elites pronouncing their pawns on the chessboards of strewn horizons melting rainbows and ideals like syrup trapping boots.

        Soldiers as men and women… as genuine souls are driven to achieve, rise up, and overcome… reality, however is far different and this is the pendulum so designed, love. Your reality of achievement may be as real as the currents of your own aging skin but beneath it all you will still remain firmly owned by the establishment and its whims which are always fucking aligned with zero goddamn virtuous soldiers.

        1. While their deployment may be commanded, they volunteered for their jobs (unlike when we had a draft). It’s a key point you’re missing AC.

    2. Started working at home! It is by far the best job I have ever had. I just recently purchased a Brand new BMW since getting a check for $25470 this 8-week past. I began this 6 months ago and I am now bringing home at least $92 per hour. Go to this website and click tech tab to start your own business…. http://goo.gl/LtI1C0

    3. Started working at home! It is by far the best job I have ever had. I just recently purchased a Brand new BMW since getting a check for $25470 this 8-week past. I began this 6 months ago and I am now bringing home at least $92 per hour. Go to this website and click tech tab to start your own business…. http://goo.gl/LtI1C0

    4. This has to be done by hackers or someone else wanting to disrupt communication by comments and replies about the CinC Forum. There are far too many comments like this by Agile Cyborg

  2. Men who strive for symbols with their lives deserve respect but not above that which negates the worthless war they foolishly submitted to.

    1. Just curious if you’re are writing via an auto-translate app?

      1. It’s from a really large fortune cookie.

  3. So now hillary is using the word header in every response about emails. You see, all classified material has a header that says classified in big letters, and she never once sent or received an email that included this header.
    Holy shit the mendacity.

    1. “I want this to be the most educated country on the planet. Therefore, on my first day in office I will award every resident a college diploma.”

  4. Running for manliness into the arms of the systemic designs of that which promotes manhood above intelligence is a sure path of death built by elites who have never given shrift to the deeds of men which is left to the generals leading the lost.

    1. Running for manliness into the arms of the systemic designs of that which promotes manhood above intelligence…

      Ahem. Women can scurry across artillery moonscape good as the boys. So triggered now.

  5. The media is comically attacking Matt Lauer for not “fact checking” Trump when he claimed to have opposed the Iraq War in 2002, lobbing him softballs, and for asking too many email questions of Hillary.

    But ask them, and they’ll tell you unbiased they are.

    1. Good comment–personally-I think that Hillary scared Lauer. She didn’t exactly wind it up when he told her it was time for the next question.

  6. The power of man is a tool sold by leering merchants on the smoking fields.

    Long streets of sands and beaches can be piled high with young dead men and generals will smile over the smoke of a sweet Cuban if their objectives were tested for chance.

    Running, ramming, and submission of the young is the greatest asset of the most violent of the world.

    Remove the Rambo and armies melt into poets.

    ALL war movies are designed by no goddamn poet.

    Hollywood is the greatest arm of the defense men.

    1. More intergalactic space penis please

      1. And more jizz ninjas

  7. There exists no pure Hollywood, pimp.

    Hollywood is the tool of machines built in the Berkeley and MIT and Columbia, man.

    This is why film is dead. Because people with high IQ don’t appreciate Hollywood film that is designed from the math of minds to lead collective and submission minds into war or politics.

    Civilization is become physics, math, internet mines, and behavioral theorem.

    Shit is fucked, bro sharks.

  8. odd whispers collide into my nothings
    but why and do they search like lost thoughts alone
    on deserts dripping with weeping souls and pianos gliding like moons smashing drunk into the sun?

  9. What would Adam Lanza say?

    1. Not much. He might type something, though.

      1. He would DANCE in code

  10. I wouldn’t really consider IAVA to be representative of military personnel or competent judges on what qualities are in a good commander-in-chief. They’re basically a propaganda wing of the DNC…they’re there to attack Republican candidates on military issues, while ignoring Obama’s screwups.

  11. Alive now isn’t different from when men wore top hats and tight vests and streets were muddy and all the normal buildings were wooden siding and sidewalks were pin oak cut from saw mills and the sun was exactly the same as today
    but the
    world
    was very fucking
    odd then
    but alive
    and the boots slapped the puddles outside Sears
    while women worried about the fucking shit splashing
    on their
    dresses
    and shit
    and the election
    made people nervous…
    like today where we don’t have mud outside the mall streets.
    but not unlike today we are still nervous because millions of us
    have been forced into a system that pretends to work decade after decade
    while all the so-called modern people go about their scurrying mess

  12. Fucking shit bull balls
    I still love to eat ass
    even if Putin nukes fall
    I’ll be fucking blonde ass
    and eating pussy right up
    underneath the goddamn fireball

  13. Regarding that one dude, how the hell can you call yourself libertarian and complain about the government not doing enough about climate change.

    Climate change is the authoritarian’s dream problem, a likely small problem that can be “solved” by governmental power grabs….

    1. how the hell can you call yourself libertarian and complain about the government not doing enough about climate change.

      Climate change is the authoritarian’s dream problem,

      The “on the issues” source of all the nolan charts frankie is always waving around thinks that Libertarians believe the EPA should have more power.

      A ‘hard core libertarian’ would Strongly Oppose the statement “EPA regulations are too restrictive”, because they believe “Animals have inherent rights, and nature has inherent value.”

      I’m not sure why, even if that’s true (sure, nature has ‘inherent value’) why we’d think the EPA is the mechanism for maximizing nature’s value.

      its one of 3 oddball positions on that test.

      1. What, you don’t think assigning bureaucratic oversight to bunnies and trees is “natural”? Why do you hate animals?

    2. Put another way, it’s a problem that can’t be solved by laissez-faire market, so you pretend that it doesn’t exist.

  14. no man is a man if he is too special to eat the asshole of pretty girl
    Fucking tired of men and their stupid ignorant bullshit games
    and crap
    eat her pooper like a blueberry pie you fucking shit fuck
    I suck her asshole like I eat her lips
    I suck her pussy like I ear her brains
    I suck her knees like I bite her thighs

    I can teach even the biggest man stubbing his thumbs in the headboard how to fucking melt blondes and Asians and ebonies into liquid screaming messes… and I am not a small man. Fucking goddamn knights…

    love the shadowy gently geography of woman like you ride the oceans under the orange spreading sunsets but with even more spirituality but empty of gods and goddesses which distract from the kisses behind the knees and the tongue on the calves and the long journey of love flights within the valleys of woman

    1. stubbing his thumbs in the headboard

      Beautiful.

  15. Julian Assange is happy with neither Luke Harding nor The Guardian.

    For our author, “computer skills” are about as comprehensible as magical powers in a J.K. Rowling novel. Although examples of this can be found throughout the book, it is nowhere more apparent than in a transparent promo piece in The Guardian where Harding claimed that while he was writing The Snowden Files, his word processor would occasionally start to delete paragraphs while he watched.

    Mundane explanations abound, but Harding is apparently desperate to attribute the episode to clandestine actors. “Was it the NSA? GCHQ? A Russian hacker?” the article asks breathlessly. Or, a reader might be forgiven for wondering, a bit of clotted cream stuck under the backspace key?

    As a computer security expert who’s been in this business for a long time, I can assure Harding that if a well-resourced intelligence agency has compromised his computer, it will not be going out of its way to advertise itself to him by playing silly games with his word processor.

    1. Assange is as understandable as what lies beyond the curvature of one’s special ideology. He is likely real, but who knows? Because the world should be trusted at the same level as the scribe if one so chooses to condense his or her reality to such a thing. Assange might be real as Snowden or both as fake as gods. Our eyes are as designed as memes and fashions.

    2. I am referred to as the “self-styled editor of WikiLeaks.” In other words, the editor of WikiLeaks. This is about as subtle as Harding’s withering asides get. You could use this kind of thing on anyone.

      Flatulent Tributes

      The book is full of flatulent tributes to The Guardian and its would-be journalists. “[Guardian journalist Ewen] MacAskill had climbed the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and the Jungfrau. His calmness now stood him in good stead.” Self-styled Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is introduced and reintroduced in nearly every chapter, each time quoting the same hagiographic New Yorker profile as testimony to his “steely” composure and “radiant calm.”

      That this is Hollywood bait could not be more blatant.

      Mmmm….salty. needs creamy dip.

      I’m pretty sure Assange is a pretty lefty guy – to the left of Bernie, even – but i respect a man of principle who wants to gore the scumbags of “Institutional Progressivism”. Everything he says about The Guardian is just as true for Vox or Salon or Huffpo.

      1. Assange is lefty, but much more anti-government. He is/has been personally reprehensible, but very careful about being correct in his publishing. He is an ally to all who would shrink or disempower government.

        1. Seems like he only got around to curating his leaks when he decided to strategically target Hillary Clinton. Otherwise he has no problem publishing information every decent person thinks ought to remain private.

          Also he rapes women and thinks he’s some kind of Gandhi figure for not answering those charges.

      2. My take has been that he’s lefty, but in the “true communist” way, i.e. an anarchist/libertarian egalitarian, who hasn’t yet connected the dots on how those things end up being mutually exclusive. And, that rather than concern himself with rectifying this, he is, at least for the time being, primarily anti-state. These things, I think, are what make him difficult for partisans to quantify.

  16. The wall broke and the valley has fallen
    screamed the gentle god
    trees and planets swarmed into the gated orifice crashing and smashing
    the golden pillars into the soft underknow.

    vapors from the swarming going away pulled the voices
    of mimes stepping above the sun with shadows
    plied on dreams
    the gravel of broken garages signalling the
    past of the modern traveler rushing to
    grab the long fingers of new evolutions

    1. Keep on writing that good stuff! It gets my borogroves all mimsy!

  17. a substantial online protest

    lol!

    1. “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah,” PPP declared on Twitter in December. “Agrabah is the country from ‘Aladdin.'”

      What percentage of Rethuglicans favor bombing Libertopia?

      What percentage of Progtards favor bombing Libertopia?

      I, for one, want to know more!

      1. Me personally, I favor bombing Santa’s Workshop, his elves, all his reindeer, and all their lice, ticks, and fleas, too! They are all just entirely TOOO socialist! Bunch of CRAP, giving taxpayer’s toys to the corruptible, innocent young, just for supposedly being “good”! Teaches them to be mooches!

        You know the Greeks; they’re WAY socialist, to the point that they DO like freaks! Yet their Greek-socialist thunder-and-lightning God, Zeus, even HE can’t stand the excessive socialism of the reindeer! See what He did to a bunch of these mooching socialists, HERE: http://www.theverge.com/2016/8…..hy-science

  18. If Gary Johnson were on that stage, it would have increased the quality.

    Not saying much. If Carrot Top were on the stage it would have increased the quality.

    1. Get Gary Johnson off of those stages, and put My Johnson up there instead! THAT would get thinks perked up quickly! We could talk / debate about whatever pops up!

  19. Soldiers fought and died for your right to live in a two party system. The least you could do is love it.

  20. Y’earrgghhh, the white whale surfaces…………………….

    ……..y’argghh….

  21. Keep trying Reason, I’m sure you’ll make it back to the cocktail parties before the midterm elections

  22. he and many “young and idealistic” people joined up after “buying into all the war propaganda after 9/11,” but became “disenfranchised” after realizing “that [the war] had nothing to do with what we thought it had to do with.”

    Learned that one first hand, I did…

  23. Hardin added that many people are afraid to vote for a third party candidate because they don’t think it’s “feasible” that one could win, but that including a candidate like Johnson in a platform with an equal footing to the two major party candidates could contribute to changing that perception.

    Which is precisely why it didn’t happen.

  24. I watched more to see if they could adapt to the military type of forum: Concise and Precise, while focusing on the question. Really both have changing narratives about their histories, so I don’t expect the truth from them.

    Hillary lost more than Donald. She was pathetic, getting up and going on and on. Matt Lauer tried to get her stop twice after she answered a question, and she seemed confused. By the time Donald came out, Matt Lauer seemed to have given up.

    NBC– It was pure luck that I saw the Forum, as NBC kept changing the time here in New Mexico. NBC- Never Been Correct—-I feel like NBC is exploiting the IAVA.

    I think that the IAVA did a beautiful job in getting this forum to us.

  25. I believe in the first amnedment–but can you please do something about Agile Cyborg and comments. They have very little or nothing to do with the forum. It is impossible to comment and reply ina meaningful way.

    Thank you

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  28. Didn’t bother watching it. Same old shit.

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