Young Vets Burst Onto Political Scene

Military stays neutral, but returned troops stump for both sides
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 28, 2008 7:42 AM CDT
Barack Obama, center, looks at a show of hands for those diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while participating in an MTV roundtable with Iraq war veterans, Monday, March 17, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Military rules bar troops from getting involved in politics while on duty, the New York Times reports, but as they return home more young vets are diving into an election that will determine the nation's course in Afghanistan and Iraq. Driven by a sense of political duty and kept up to date abroad by the Internet and TV, troops “can be injected directly into the political process” as their feet hit home turf, says a former administration official.

Many of the young vets were spurred into action by the deaths of their comrades. “That sacrifice is holy to me,” said one who is campaigning for a “pro-victory” group. Politicians are welcoming the support with open arms; Democrats bought one backer a $1,250 plane ticket to their convention. But some in the military, which avoids the fray, worry that partisanship could go overboard.