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Prominent Iraq veteran Bruhns quits major anti-war organization
The Hill ^ | October 19, 2007 | Mike Soraghan

Posted on 10/18/2007 11:15:29 PM PDT by mdittmar

The leading Washington coalition for ending the war in Iraq has lost its highest-profile Iraq veteran.

John Bruhns, a former Army  sergeant who participated in the 2003 invasion, left his position as legislative representative of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI) at the beginning of October.

He had started in May, but quickly became frustrated with the group’s lack of legislative success as well as some of its tactics.

He was part of AAEI’s “Iraq summer” campaign, which launched in August and was designed to get as many as 50 Republicans to break with Bush on the war. Only one Republican House member has since switched.

 “I feel I’ve done all I can,” Bruhns said. “I can’t continue to attack members of Congress to pass legislation that isn’t going to get passed.”

Bruhns, who has continued to write blog posts and visit congressional offices to lobby for withdrawal, said he left AAEI on good terms and will be glad to help again if asked.

“They’re playing a necessary role,” Bruhns said. “They’re trying to shift public opinion.”

AAEI spokeswoman Moira Mack concurred that Bruhns left the coalition “on friendly terms.”

“John has been very passionate about this issue,” Mack said. “He’s going to continue to advocate on it.”

Supporters of the Iraq war and President Bush’s “surge” strategy say the departure of someone like Bruhns could be an early sign of trouble for anti-war forces.

“These groups put veterans up on a platform, and if they step off, it says something,” said Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom, which bills itself as the largest group of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans.

Mack said AAEI has another Iraq veteran on staff, Josh Lansdale, who is in charge of outreach to veterans. AAEI’s coalition includes VoteVets.org, and Sue Dinsdale, the AAEI’s Iowa director, is the mother of an Iraq veteran.

Bruhns is angry that supporters of a Senate bill to increase training and rest time between deployments, including himself, didn’t fight hard enough for the bill. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.).

“It makes me want to go knock on the door of everyone who voted against it,” Bruhns said. “That’s my biggest regret: that we didn’t fight hard enough for Webb-Hagel. I take responsibility for that.”

Fighting harder for it, he acknowledged, might have included publicly criticizing senators who voted against it. So he admitted, “A lot of this might sound contradictory.”

“I’m not a political hack. I’m not a campaigner,” Bruhns said.

Bruhns also said he has no dispute with MoveOn.org’s New York Times advertisement referring to Iraq commanding Gen. David Petraeus as “General Betray Us.”

“I support MoveOn 100 percent. God bless MoveOn for opening the debate,” he said. “This is something the George Bush and Karl Rove smear machine has been doing for six years. Nobody complained then.”

Bruhns was a Marine Corps reservist in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001. After the attacks, he learned his unit wasn’t heading to Afghanistan, so he switched to the Army infantry.

Instead of Afghanistan, Bruhns found himself training for Iraq in June 2002, nearly a year before the invasion.

He was part of the invasion from the first day, then found himself stationed in a neighborhood of Baghdad near Abu Ghraib prison.
Bruhns left the Army with an honorable discharge in 2005. He got a job in Northern Virginia, where he found he was able to pursue his anti-war activism in his spare time.

In 2005, he got noticed by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who read into the Congressional Record parts of a letter he had written criticizing the war.

His profile as an anti-war vet grew in April when he created a video that won MoveOn.org’s VideoVets contest and joined an anti-war press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

In May, Bruhns joined AAEI, which includes MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union and VoteVets. He was hailed by anti-war legislators for his experience and willingness to speak out.

With his short-cropped hair, barrel chest and blunt-spoken beat-cop demeanor, Bruhns did not look the part of an anti-war activist. That was an advantage when meeting with lawmakers or joining them at anti-war press conferences.

As to what he might do next, Bruhns called it a “possibility” that he could start his own group. But beyond that, he isn’t throwing out options.

“I’ve got a lot of fight left in me,” Bruhns said. “I’ll work with anyone. I’ll walk the halls alone.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aaei; bruhns; johnbruhns; moveon; moveonorg; seiu; votevets

1 posted on 10/18/2007 11:15:32 PM PDT by mdittmar
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To: mdittmar

that’s the good kind of “cut and run”


2 posted on 10/18/2007 11:21:40 PM PDT by ari-freedom (I am for traditional moral values, a strong national defense, and free markets.)
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To: ari-freedom

It’s always a big thrill (not hardly) to watch former service members try to make things more difficult for their former comrads in arms on the battle field.

This guy’s actions are something I cannot support, and find very sad.


3 posted on 10/19/2007 12:06:08 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Hillary has pay fever. There she goes now... "Ha Hsu, ha hsu, haaaa hsu, ha hsu...")
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To: DoughtyOne
This guy’s actions are something I cannot support, and find very sad.

He says he's leaving because of disappointment with tactics and failure to get any legislation through.

I wonder if the amazing success of the Surge has anything to do with it as well? :-)

Saving face?

4 posted on 10/19/2007 1:03:16 AM PDT by Allegra (Greetings from a kinder, gentler Iraq. God bless US and Coalition Forces.)
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To: Allegra

It may be that. It may also be that he’s found out that anti-war activity isn’t nearly as accepted by the nation as he may have suspected up front. And then it may be frustration that what he thought would be easy legislation to get adopted, was something even too hot for the dems to go for.

At any rate, for whatever reason, I’m glad he’s leaving.

I’m not sure there’s much face to save at this point, but he may not see it that way. LOL


5 posted on 10/19/2007 1:53:24 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Hillary has pay fever. There she goes now... "Ha Hsu, ha hsu, haaaa hsu, ha hsu...")
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To: mdittmar
Did he jump or was he pushed?
6 posted on 10/19/2007 5:04:16 AM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: Allegra
Saving face?

That group was NOT a major player. He probably wasn't getting enough face time on TV so he was pissed. AAEI probably jetisoned him for being such a drama queen.

7 posted on 10/19/2007 5:07:52 AM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: Doctor Raoul

Yup. He found the great paradox. How do you use a “babykiller” to fight the war? The anti-war nutbags want to use the vets but they are sickened by them. They prefer to think of them as backwood, ignorant hicks who have been duped by the Bush Administration. When they actually get close to one and find out the truth, they have to wonder about the rest.


8 posted on 10/19/2007 5:12:44 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: mdittmar

Like the Winter Soldier Investigation from the 60s that the anti-American left used smeared that generation of military, there are phony soldier like Jesse Macbeth and soldiers with phony claims. If I remember correctly this Josh Lansdale made claims about bad treatment by the VA, the VA offered to help and this guy ran away from them because the claims were phony.


9 posted on 10/19/2007 5:19:27 AM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: Doctor Raoul; DoughtyOne
That group was NOT a major player. He probably wasn't getting enough face time on TV so he was pissed. AAEI probably jetisoned him for being such a drama queen.

Exactly. So this announcement is likely a face-saving gesture. if nothing else it would be to prevent coming off as too much of a weinie in front of his friends.

I don't really know who the major players are in the anti-war biz. I pay very little attention to those people and they are too far removed from my orbit at this time, thank goodness.

It must suck to be them right now. Things are going far too well to suit their agenda.

10 posted on 10/19/2007 5:50:04 AM PDT by Allegra (Greetings from a kinder, gentler Iraq. God bless US and Coalition Forces.)
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To: mdittmar

Quitter.


11 posted on 10/19/2007 5:51:58 AM PDT by usmcobra (I sing Karaoke the way it was meant to be sung, drunk, badly and in Japanese)
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To: Allegra
John Bruhns is the guy who lied about how many times he protested at Walter Reed Army HOSPITAL with Code Pink.

And yes John, I'd like fries with that...

12 posted on 10/19/2007 7:11:42 AM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: mdittmar

As a veteran I can say that serving in the military doesn’t inoculate someone from being a POS.


13 posted on 10/19/2007 7:32:42 AM PDT by Scarchin (+)
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To: Doctor Raoul
Bruhns is quitting yet another "antiwar" group, because the promises of "free love" did not specify that the "girls" providing that service would be trannies like "Midge" ...

Free Image Hosting at allyoucanupload.com

14 posted on 10/19/2007 8:18:49 AM PDT by tgslTakoma
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To: tgslTakoma

Code Pink is a cult that attracts lost souls like Mitchell and al-Fairooz.


15 posted on 10/19/2007 9:07:58 AM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: tgslTakoma

Mitchell is wearing a falnnel shirt. Could he be the first person to get a sex change to become a lesbian?


16 posted on 10/19/2007 9:09:27 AM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Columbia = Ayatollah U.)
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To: Allegra

Sounds about right. And yes it must. LOL


17 posted on 10/19/2007 9:23:46 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Hillary has pay fever. There she goes now... "Ha Hsu, ha hsu, haaaa hsu, ha hsu...")
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To: Doctor Raoul
Guess he saw great Patriots not letting the anti-war crowd get away with slandering our Troops.

Thank you all so much for your great work.

18 posted on 10/19/2007 11:12:42 AM PDT by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve,and have served,to keep us free)
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To: bmwcyle

I think that you remember meeting this guy at Walter Reed.


19 posted on 10/20/2007 11:09:56 AM PDT by BillF (Fight terrorists in Iraq & elsewhere, instead of waiting for them to come to America!)
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To: BillF

No that was the ex-Marine. This one sounds about as bright.


20 posted on 10/20/2007 11:15:00 AM PDT by bmwcyle (BOMB, BOMB, BOMB,.......BOMB, BOMB IRAN)
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To: bmwcyle

That was the guy who was so hostile.

According to the story, he was a Marine, but changed to Army when his unit was not going to be deployed.


21 posted on 10/20/2007 11:24:24 AM PDT by BillF (Fight terrorists in Iraq & elsewhere, instead of waiting for them to come to America!)
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To: bmwcyle

See photos of you with this guy: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1841732/posts


22 posted on 10/20/2007 11:30:46 AM PDT by BillF (Fight terrorists in Iraq & elsewhere, instead of waiting for them to come to America!)
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To: tgslTakoma
Opps. Midges boobs are a bit askew.
23 posted on 10/20/2007 11:33:24 AM PDT by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghan Honor Roll students.)
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To: BillF

I’m confused about this guy, is he a former Marine who joined the Army or is he posing?


24 posted on 10/20/2007 11:36:17 AM PDT by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghan Honor Roll students.)
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To: armymarinemom
Midges boobs are a bit askew.

Dontcha just hate it when that happens?

25 posted on 10/20/2007 11:47:02 AM PDT by tgslTakoma
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To: armymarinemom

The story said that he was in the Marine reserves, but joined the Army when his unit wasn’t scheduled to be deployed.

Per an ad, financed by George Soros and produced and directed by Oliver Stoned, Bruhns was in Iraq during his Army service.

I’m pretty sure that he is NOT posing as I doubt Soros and Stoned would want to risk getting caught if they lied about that. Beyond that, a bright FReeper has discussed issues in detail with Bruhns and is convinced that Bruhns is a bona fide former soldier.


26 posted on 10/20/2007 12:17:33 PM PDT by BillF (Fight terrorists in Iraq & elsewhere, instead of waiting for them to come to America!)
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To: BillF

Thanks. I knew there had to be a story to go with it. My previous impression about the guy, second hand, was that he didn’t really realize just who he had been associating himself with.


27 posted on 10/20/2007 12:34:52 PM PDT by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghan Honor Roll students.)
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To: armymarinemom

Right, he apparently claimed that his association with Code Pink at Walter Reed and some other real radical group was before he realized what they were about. When he realized, he migrated into somewhat less radical (or at least less overtly radical) antiwar groups.


28 posted on 10/20/2007 5:45:27 PM PDT by BillF (Fight terrorists in Iraq & elsewhere, instead of waiting for them to come to America!)
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