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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Bob Vander Plaats (photo by Dave Davidson,
Bob Vander Plaats (photo by Dave Davidson,

Iowa vets call on Vander Plaats to denounce statements about Medal of Honor

By Jason Hancock | 11.18.10 | 2:47 pm

Former gubernatorial hopeful Bob Vander Plaats should denounce the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer for his claim that continuing to give the Medal of Honor to people who save American lives instead of to those who kill the enemy has “feminized” the award, a pair of Iowa veterans said in a statement Thursday.

Fischer’s organization spent nearly $140,000 financing Iowa for Freedom, a group led by Vander Plaats that successfully campaigned for the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices. In addition to helping bankroll the effort, Fischer also had Vander Plaats on his radio program and spoke up for the anti-retention campaign at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, Fischer wrote on his blog that while Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta of Hiawatha certainly earned the Medal of Honor he was just awarded by President Barack Obama, it was time we stopped rewarding only those who saved lives and instead rewarded those who took enemy lives. Giunta earned the medal by rushing into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during a harrowing battle in Afghanistan in 2007.

Two Vietnam War veterans — Frank Thorne and Bob Eikleberry — joined with the LGBT-rights group One Iowa in calling for Vander Plaats to speak out against Fischer’s statements.

“Courage under fire is a concept that Bob Vander Plaats and Bryan Fisher don’t seem to understand,” Eikleberry said. “To claim that risking one’s life in the service of our country is anything less than noble disparages the men and women who risk their lives each day to protect us.”

Thorne said Fisher’s statement “dishonors Giunta’s service and the sacrifice he has made for our country.”

“With friends like this, it’s painfully clear that Bob Vander Plaats is out of step with Iowans,” said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. “All Iowans can be proud of Giunta’s service to our country. The honor could not be more deserved.”

Fischer attempted to clarify his argument on Thursday, pointing out he plainly said Giunta was deservedly honored for his heroism in Afghanistan.

“I’m not saying that our soldiers have become feminized in the least, especially those who have earned the Medal of Honor,” Fischer wrote. “It’s not our soldiers who have become feminized, it is the awards process that has become feminized. What I am saying is that I am observing a trend in which we single out bravery in self-defense and yet seem hesitant to single out bravery in launching aggressive attacks that result in the deaths of enemy soldiers.”

He later added: “I never even remotely suggested that we should stop honoring exceptional bravery in defense of our own troops.”

Fischer concluded that it was time America “started imitating God’s example” by celebrating soldiers who “show valor and gallantry in waging aggressive war in a just cause against the enemies of freedom, even while inflicting massive casualties in the process.”

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  • Joe Stutler

    You can count this veteran of Desert Storm and the Cold War among those who demand Vander Plaats speak out against Fisher. Neither are fit to so much as wipe the mud and dust from the boots of any of America’s Heroes, but Fisher and his Anti Family Anathema can go to hell for his vile comments.

    • Lisanne!

      It’s probably not a good Christian sentiment, but I believe that Fisher and his bunch will go to hell for these remarks.

      God will not be mocked.

  • Peggy Keller

    Does Fisher not realize what they would have done to that body if Sal had not gone after them. As a parent, this to me is vital.

  • Anonymous

    That must be his “pro-life” side showing.

  • Anonymous

    This guy needs to go to the Medal of Honor Grove in Valley Forge PA. Go to and see what a beautiful memorial it is…then help us save it from being sold to a developer by the non profit that owns it. Check it out and help us.

  • egc52556

    These are the same people who led the vile homophobic “No Judical Retention” vote. Wake up, Iowa! This is the moral caliber of the people who would impose their self-righteous hypocrisy on the rest of us.

  • Rachel Garrett

    How can these so-called “Iowa For Freedom” people even speak about “bravery in self-defense,” when they beg for government help to defend their marriage?

  • Lisanne!

    What Bible does he own? I really had no idea that God wants us to go around killing people. I always thought it was the other way ’round.

    • Jam

      These people use the Bible to justify their pre-concieved ideology of hate and bigotry.

  • David John Rock

    I know it is British but does He think the Victoria Cross has been feminisied. Two of the Three people who have been been awarded it twice were medics

    From Wikipedia
    Three people have been awarded the VC and Bar, the bar representing a second award of the VC. They are: Noel Chavasse and Arthur Martin-Leake, both doctors in the Royal Army Medical Corps, for rescuing wounded under fire; and New Zealander Charles Upham, an infantryman, for combat actions. Upham remains the only combatant soldier to have received a VC and Bar.

    And anybody that reads what the Drs did to earn their medals, will realise any suggestion that awarding bravery medals to those that save their commrades, rather than killing the enemy, is not only stupid but offensive

  • Fozzy

    As an ex-infantryman one who has sat down and talked with several MOH recipients and have listened to several interviews of this latest MOH recipient, I can tell that this moron who made these comments has never served nor had any contact with anyone who has served in the military. I listened to an interview with this soldier today and when he was relating the story of going into the hail of gunfire and RPG’s to save his comrade.. It brought tears to my eyes. The stories of my son’s comrades who tried their best to save him the day he was hit and was killed really came home again..

  • Anonymous

    While walking point in Viet Nam my brother was spared asthe opposing forces opened fire on the main body of the platoon of 16 men. Of those 16, 14 were lost in about a two minute long firefight. Following the main body was the lieutenant who was injured and my brother was able to help the two of them return to the LZ (landing zone) to be airlifted out. He got a Bronze Star for the hell he went through that day and anyone who has any empathy at all should NEVER belittle the service our young men face. This simply shows the lack of empathy for ordinary people our politicians seem to get away with as long as they have enough money backing them to get elected into office.

  • Anonymous

    For anyone who still believes people like Fischer and Vander Plaats have any moral authority whatsoever for their positions, I suggest visiting a site called Rightly Concerned at:

    The testimonials of service men and women who have SAVED lives in the line of duty is nothing short of breathtaking. Killing the enemy is the job description of the armed serviceman or woman. Killing the enemy in specific situations is “going above and beyond the call of duty,” which in specific cases is awarded the MOH. Saving lives under specific situations is also “going above and beyond the call.” Duh. The preposterous stance that one or the other is “more manly” or “more feminine” is a position that could only be propounded by someone who has no idea what combat involves. I repeat, Fischer should be deeply ashamed. And Vander Plaats should apologize for his non-denunciation (thus the quote: “All that evil needs to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.”)

  • Anonymous

    The “Rightly Concerned” website mentioned below is, of course, an actual AFA site, which has been deluged w/ negative responses to Fischer’s ill-conceived rant. If you visit, you might want to leave your own comment about how you feel about Mr. Fischer’s remarks… I’m just sayin’…

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen some arguments falling back on Fischer’s back-tracking comments that he didn’t intend to disrespect any MOH recipients w/ his remarks about the feminization of the process. This, IMHO, misses the salient point. By claiming that giving the medal to those who save lives instead of taking them is the result of said feminization, Mr. Fischer obviously intends to claim that those who rec’d the medal for saving lives are in some way less worthy of the honor than those who took lives. Unless, of course, he intends to imply that he feels positively about the feminization of the process, which he clearly doesn’t. Counterpoints more than welcome, but unless one forces a totally skewed reading on the man’s comments, he’s dissing a lot of MOH holders (ie, see the comments from service people who actually know something about the combat experience and others at the site listed in the comment below.)

  • Larry Linn

    Bryan Fischer has never experienced combat! Yet he makes baseless judgments about the glory of the battlefield experience. Nothing seems glorious in the midst of the battlefield. He has never shared LRP’s for breakfast with several members in his unit, only a few hours later see them shot. He has never experienced bullets and shrapnel flying all around him, nor has he heard the screams of pain from your squad members. Fischer does not realize that interdependence, reliance, and trust among the members of combat units facilitate both valor and victory. It is ironic that Fischer wants to redefine the Medal of Honor, but does not understand that rescuing fellow wounded soldiers is an act of honor. If Bryan Fischer had any honor, he would apologize to Sergeant Salvatore Giunta. Personally, I want to thank Sergeant Giunta for his valor and service. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Bob Eikleberry (a.k.a “Mongo”) is the owner of the Blazing Saddle. Bob has long been an institution in the Des Moines Gay Community. Mongo’s credentials include Founder of the All Iowa AIDS Benefit, Founding Father of the Imperial Court of Iowa, and senior member of the CornHauler Levi & Leather Club, so you can see that he’s been around a while. Since his retirement, Bob can be seen at the Saddle regularly working on one project or another – Watch out for that nail gun!

  • Anonymous

    Frank Thorne is the father of Carolyn Jenison’s lesbian lover.

    This trumped up story has nothing to do with the valor of military service and everything to do with pissed off homosexuals getting back at Bob Vander Plaats. Nice try, Carolyn.

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