2007 - A Year for Victory by Steve Russell
War is just like boxing. When you get your opponent on the ropes you must keep punching the hell out of him and not let him recover. - General George S. Patton
In this last year, we have seen a major shift in the battle for public opinion on the war. At this time last year, Saddam Hussein's execution was but a week old, capping with good news a year that was marked mostly with bad. Public opinion at home was decidedly negative about the war and sentiments began to turn
even against the troops. Now, a year later, victories on the battlefield have run parallel with supporting victories on the home front.
When the founders of Vets for Victory began our fight a little more than fifteen months ago, we knew the task would be tough. Unlike fighting enemies on the battlefield, targeting public opinion is difficult to change even when it is clearly identified. Still, we knew our message was true and that our credentials as veterans of this war would give us a foot in the door to make our case. And make it we did. Vets for Victory has been on the front lines of that fight with our founders and board staff making speeches and appearances in over 75 cities to appeal to average Americans to win rather than to quit.
We have also seen some remarkable success through our efforts in the legislative realm at the state level. Four states adopted the Vets for Victory Troop Support resolutions, which declared that these states would not abandon the troops or their mission in time of war. The fact that versions of these resolutions passed in places like Vermont and Massachusetts, where anti-war sentiment ran high, makes them even more remarkable.
We also had some impact in the media with appearances on Laura Ingraham, CBS Evening News, C-SPAN, Hannity & Colmes, and scores of regional television and radio spots on a weekly basis. Scott Rutter’s and my articles appeared in many major news publications as well.
All in all it was a good year for Vets for Victory and an even better year for our troops fighting overseas. The greatest thanks we have had, has been from hundreds of soldiers actively serving that have encouraged us to keep fighting on their behalf. Thanks for helping us do just that and also for your personal efforts in your own communities.
I would also like to thank those of you that have supported us financially. Thank you very much for your generosity. Each gift, great or small, was someone's effort and sacrifice and was not taken lightly. Because our organization chose to avoid the political pitfalls of a 501 3c non-profit organization, these gifts were not tax-deductible and may have limited our donor base. But this strategy gave us unfettered access and freedom to make our case in any way we saw fit. We used the resources well, and can only wish we had received more to work with. But partnering with many great like-minded organizations such as Vets for Freedom, Freedom's Watch and Move America Forward, we were able to stretch our resources to achieve maximum impact.
As we look to this year, we are confident in our troops ability to press the effort to achieve a lasting victory for the Iraqi and Afghan people. Given what we have seen from wonderful Americans all across the country, we are also confident in pressing the effort at home to make sure our nation backs up the troops in every way to accomplish the mission.
Vets for Victory is also branching out to help our troops achieve victory when they return home. We will begin a heightened awareness effort to educate on what soldiers face in the transition to normal life. From the upcoming 'Heroes helping Heroes' campaign, to the placement of special equipment for our wounded veterans, to the networking of families whose loved ones are serving with our new 'Blue Star Blog,' Vets for Victory will hopefully continue its efforts to support our troops and veterans who have given so much. We hope you will continue to stand with us in this fight. SDR
Steve Russell is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He commanded a battalion that was central to the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein. He now serves as chairman and founder of Vets4Victory.
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