A Veteran’s Experienced Perspective: Gianforte Uses Vets as Political Props

Josh Manning is a combat veteran and serves on the leadership team of Common Defense, a group of progressive veterans who want to affect political change. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuamanning23 

If you have not seen it yet, please take a moment to watch this Gianforte television ad in which he purports to have the support of the apparently the ENTIRE VETERAN COMMUNITY: If you notice nothing else, please see that nowhere in his own sponsored advertisement did the veteran officer featured say the words, “This is why I endorse Greg Gianforte for Congress.”


As a veteran, I endorse Rob Quist, to become next lone Congressman. Here’s why:

I spent a year and a half of my Army career in Iraq. I know what it takes to fight terrorism and foreign adversaries. The solution is not the President Donald Trump brand of hyper-militarism and stupid wars. Unbridled defense spending and giving the reigns to the generals and defense contractors is not what our military and veterans need or want. There are many people who voted for Donald Trump, and you can imagine many of them will vote for Gianforte, but they did not vote for one thing: Forever War.

We are still nearly a decade and a half into Bush’s wars and Trump wants to start more. Seriously, look at the posturing towards Syria, Iran, and North Korea. If you think these are just empty threats and military bluster, then take moment to think about how playing Russian Roulette with Kim Jong Un plays out.

So instead, let’s plan for an exit strategy for the conflicts the Republicans have already signed us up for then a plan to ensure those troops and veterans have the best care in the world. Gianforte has never said a word about how he plans to care for our troops other than they should retire from combat service at age 600. Anyone who has seen one day of combat does not want to see many more. Yet they do because they want to make sure their brothers and sisters are safe.

While Gianforte outsourced Montana jobs to India, I was in Iraq running down Al Qaeda-affiliated and Iranian-backed terrorist groups to cut down the threats to those still serving.

The officer featured in Gianforte’s ad did not capture terrorists or live through our nation’s most recent wars, though he appears to have served in Vietnam and I nod my head to that. But if he had served in our nation’s more recent wars, he would have been able to explain how a smart counterterrorism policy works because it demands using a scalpel (specialized military forces) and preventative medicine (diplomacy and counter-messaging). Remember hearing any of that in the television ad or from our new administration?

The Trump methodology, let’s call it OPERATION JACKHAMMER, will only create more conflicts and terrorists when his ham-handed use of the military causes needless civilian deaths or becomes a clarion call for terrorist groups. Trump’s bravado is good for weapons building corporations but not for our troops in immediate danger. It is no wonder Gianforte’s tightening race is worrying the Republican establishment if he loses then the defense contractors lose a like-minded billionaire in Congress too.

When I served in the Army we had a seven-letter acronym for how to be a better soldier: LDRSHIP—Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honesty, Integrity, and Personal Courage. I look at each of those and do not see Gianforte coming anywhere near close on a single one of those ethics. But if you do, please check his name when you vote in late May. I honestly ask you to think about this as you vote, this is a direct request from someone who knows what honor truly means.


10 Comments on "A Veteran’s Experienced Perspective: Gianforte Uses Vets as Political Props"

  1. BRILLIANT JOSH….where’s TV, print media on Gianforte’s shameless ‘pimping’ of veterans?

  2. Does anyone know of Gianforte giving money to an anti-public lands organization? If so could you please put up a link. I saw something fairly recently on this topic but can’t find it now. Thanks

  3. So the link to the ad doesn’t work. It did two days ago and I can’t find the tv ad anywhere. Did the Gianforte campaign pull the ad?

  4. Gianforte used a VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL replica as yet another ‘Prop’ to ‘seduce’ veterans to him, as he’s the ‘Onward Christian Soldier’ of morals and values while carrying out the twisted agenda of the Plutocrats, ALEC, polluters, Military-Industrial Complex (which views veterans as a costly LIABILITY) and denies SCIENCE and promotes a Theocracy!

  5. I am a liberal and a Vietnam Theater Veteran. I do not anyone of either party using veterans as props, especially conservatives who are quick to want conflict, fund the MIC, but not care about properly funding veteran care when they return from combat.

    • Old Line Democrat | April 25, 2017 4:56 PM at 4:56 PM |

      I could be called a liberal and I care a lot about Viet Nam vets as well as other vets. I care about the Nam guys because they were my friends and neighbors, mostly working class and forced into an unwinnable situation and then dumped back in the real world without preparation or concern by the military. They were denied benefits and care for Agent Orange illness and denied care for PTSD for decades. It is a sick person who tries to hang an anti-vet rap on “librals”. An obvious troll but a very sick and evil one who knows only about stirring the pot of old animosity.
      For the rest of you remember it was the liberals who were against the tragedy that was the Viet Nam War and whose protests brought it to an end.
      There would be a lot less saber rattling if Kushner, Donny Junior and the rest were drafted to destroy ISIS in 30 days!!

  6. Old Line Democrat | April 25, 2017 9:10 PM at 9:10 PM |

    Trolling hard tonight. The pressure is showing.

  7. boB AKA @Gyrogyrloose | April 27, 2017 4:40 PM at 4:40 PM |

    honestly liberals are the only ones who ever treated me with real respect and reached out to help me. Conservatives have looked down their nose at me, called me a criminal and a bum and in various ways done their best to make my life miserable. Quality of care at the VA has improved under Democrats, gone to shit under Repukes. at least in my 43 years dealing with them.

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