Operation Truth Goes to Washington: Success!

Iraq veterans Paul Rieckhoff, Herold Noel, Robert Acosta, Abbie Pickett, Perry Jefferies, and Ben Flanders spent three days in Washington, D.C. for meetings with prominent lawmakers -- including Sen. Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Hagel (R-NE), Rep. Baird (D-WA), and Rep. Buyer (R-IN).

UPDATE: Washington Responds to OpTruth's Concerns

The House Committee on Appropriations has added language to next year's military quality of life appropriations to fund a comprehensive study on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition, the VA and Defense Department will do a report on improving the transition from military to civilian life.

During our meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress and their staff, Operation Truth member veterans discussed PTSD and the shortage of transition services. We extend our thanks to all those Senators and Representatives who took time to hear our concerns over these vital issues, especially those House members who responded with much needed legislation.

This trip would not have been possible without the help of our online army of Operation Truth supporters, who raised $10,000 to fund our effort. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you appreciate our work, you can find out how to donate here.

Our work continues!

Operation Truth vets Abbie Pickett and David Chasteen are headed back to D.C. today, to hold a press conference with Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs Ranking Member Daniel K. Akaka and other leading lawmakers to discuss the need to provide quality mental health care to America's veterans and returning Servicemembers. Check our blog for the latest.

Rep. Baird, balancing on the railing, poses with the OpTruth team atop the Capitol Dome.

Click here for more photos and stories from the trip.


Straight from the Troops: Powerful Photos from the Front Lines

OpTruth Vet Abbie Pickett provided these never-before-released photos of U.S. soldiers on a raid in Iraq.

See more of the most recent pictures from Iraq in our photo gallery.


In the News:

Operation Truth vets were all over the news on Memorial Day, from the Associated Press to CBS News, including four op-eds. For a complete list of OpTruth's Memorial Day media appearances, click here.

May 15th, 2005: "The Battle at Home"
OpTruth vets Robert Acosta and Jeremy Lewis discuss treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on PBS' NOW. Find it here.

For a complete list of OpTruth's Memorial Day media appearances, click here.


Best Blog: A Clear Strategy?

OpTruth vet Perry Jefferies responds to recent comments in Washington about the readiness of the Iraqi army:

Senator Joseph Biden appeared on ABC's "This Week" Sunday and detailed statistics on the training of Iraqi forces that might be a suprise to the President. Last week, the President said: "I am pleased that in less than a year's time, there's a democratically elected government in Iraq, there are thousands of Iraq soldiers trained and better equipped to fight for their own country [and] that our strategy is very clear, I'm pleased with the progress."

But Biden offered a more sober assessment, saying that there are only three really trained Iraqi Battalions and another twenty-something (once he said 23, once 27) partly trained battalions. He pointed out that we waited a year and a half to get serious about training and arming Iraqi forces to defend the country and said that "it is bizarre to suggest that Iraqis can train themselves."

...So to end a week where the lead news is the answer to a trivia question, with endless discussion about Deep Throat and Watergate, I think we need to demand to know why our Soldiers are still idling in the kill zone of Iraq, fronting for an inefficient and untrained Iraqi Army that isn't even sure if it wants our training or presence. The President has said that "our strategy is very clear." Can someone say that strategy for me please?

Read the rest of the blog here.