Thursday, December 14, 2006

An Even More Tardy Rebuttal

Like Bill O'Reilly I aim to be fair and balanced. Still I am surprised that after "winning" the election Paul Reikhoff still wanted to post this rebuttal to Vince Heintz's scathing analysis of IAVA's scheme for rating elected representatives. In the interest of fairness I urge you, Dear Reader, to carefiully consider both arguments on the merit of their facts, and the strength of their logic. this and the preceding post from Vince Heintz appeared in the December 4th "ARMY TIMES"

I wanted to offer a brief response to the critics of IAVA’s Congressional Ratings program. First and foremost, it’s good to see such a strong response to the work we’ve done. While all politicians claim to “Support the Troops,” that rhetoric often does not match the reality. IAVA’s Congressional Ratings program has clearly inspired many people to take a closer look at their elected officials’ voting records on the issues that matter to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, our newest generation of veterans, and our military families.

We’ve received many letters and phone calls thanking us for the ratings program, and we have also heard from our critics. Usually they choose to question the grading methods, instead of simply defending a particular legislator’s voting record. Our grading method was exceptionally thorough. More than 150 votes from three Congressional sessions were taken into account, all on issues that had a substantive impact on the lives of our troops, veterans, and their families. (You can see the full list of votes at Click on “Key Votes” under your legislator’s picture.)

Contrary to claims made by some of our critics, we explicitly excluded votes on partisan or ideological issues, such as the many motions and resolutions “for” or “against” the Iraq War. The votes included were on issues such as body armor, funding for the VA, and TriCare for our National Guard and Reserve troops. Here at IAVA, we have just one motive: to really support the troops and veterans. Founded in 2004, we are an organization made up of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are equal parts Republican, Democrat, and Independent. We don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, and these vital issues should not be used for partisan purposes.

The IAVA ratings are a way to cut through the political grandstanding and call for accountability on the issues that matter. For the past three years, IAVA has been the leading advocate for this newest generation of troops and veterans. We have helped increase funding for traumatic brain injury research, increased awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, and created new programs to address the alarming rate of homelessness among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. To learn more you can visit


Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq War Veteran
Founder and Executive Director, IAVA