How a Democrat Can
Get My Vote
Advice from seven recent war veterans.
By Phillip Carter, Ross Cohen, Garth Stewart, Andrew Exum,
Clint Douglas, Melissa Tryon, and Nathaniel Fick

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Three years ago, in 2004, 60 percent of military voters polled by the Military Times identified themselves as Republican. Today, that number is down to 46 percent, or less than half.  The reason for this change is obvious: Iraq has gone from bad to worse.  Afghanistan, too, is in trouble.  Many Democrats hope that disaffection with the GOP among members of the military will translate into votes for the Democratic Party.  But military voters have their own set of interests, many of which don't overlap with those of non-military voters.  What, then, can Democrats do to win over voters in the armed forces?  This is the question the Washington Monthly posed to a group of military veterans of various ranks and political persuasions, each of whom wrote a short essay in response.  Complementing this collection is
The Bitter End, a reported piece by Washington Monthly national security correspondent Spencer Ackerman, who argues, based on what he has seen in Iraq and at home, that Democrats are right on the merits of withdrawal from Iraq but misguided on what message that will send to our troops there.  What results, we hope, is a window onto something that's a mystery to many readers: how members of the military think about politics in 2007.

One Soldier's Story:
An Introduction

by Phillip Carter

Withdraw Decisively
by Ross Cohen

Stay and Fight
by Garth Stewart

Understand the War
We're In

by Andrew Exum

Elect More Jim Webbs
by Clint Douglas

Bash the Generals
by Melissa Tryon

Ask Americans to Serve
by Nathaniel Fick



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Phillip Carter, an attorney with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in Los Angeles, is an Iraq veteran who contributes on national security to the Washington Monthly.
Ross Cohen is a former paratrooper and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He is currently completing his master's degree in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and he interned last summer forfor the reelection campaign of Governor Bill Richardson. He has two short stories published in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families.
Garth Stewart is a sophomore at Columbia University. He served in Iraq as a mortar gunner in the 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion in 2003.
Andrew Exum is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the American University of Beirut. He led a platoon of light infantry in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks and subsequently led a platoon of Army Rangers as part of special operations task forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Clint Douglas, former staff sergeant, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), served in Afghanistan in 2003, after numerous deployments to Latin America. He is the author of "Lunch with Pirates" in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families.
Captain Melissa Tryon, a Rhodes Scholar and graduate of West Point, is a veteran of the initial ground invasion of Iraq, in which she served in the 101st Airborne Division. She is currently an associate with the Truman National Security Project and a member of the Disabled American Veterans, VoteVets, and Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America. The views expressed in this article are hers alone and do not represent the Department of Defense.
Nathaniel Fick served as a Marine Infantry officer in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is the author of the New York Times best-seller One Bullet Away.
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