“If you really want to support the troops, listen to what they have to say.”
Paul Rieckhoff is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Executive Director and Founder of IAVA (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America), the country’s first and largest Iraq Veterans group. He is nationally-recognized authority on the Iraq war and is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, Chasing Ghosts.
Rieckhoff created IAVA in June 2004 along with a couple of other Veterans, a handful of volunteers, and massive amounts of credit-card debt. The group attracted thousands Iraq War Veterans and more than 60,000 grassroots supporters across America, including family members of the troops presently in combat.
IAVA not only shed light on the challenges facing our Troops, but in late 2004 directly contributed to solving some of the most urgent problems. From investigating HUMVEE armor shortages to lobbying for expanded access to health care for Reservists and Guardsmen, IAVA pushed for real solutions to real problems.
Before you vote on Tuesday, sure to check out IAVA’s 2008 Congressional Report Card. It’s an evaluation based on the key veterans’ legislation that came to a vote during the 110th Congress that grades every Senator and Representative on their level of support for our troops.
I’m not surprised that McCain got a D (only 4 Senators have that distinction). Barack scored a B. Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman and Diane Feinstein all scored an A’s. It bears pointing out that IAVA makes no political contributions or endorsements.
But this post is about Paul. The thing I find so inspiring about him is his articulate intelligence combined with his drive to serve others. Listen to him speak in the clip above. This man isn’t just smart, he’s a gift to the planet. Thanks, Paul.