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PostSubject: This is a Great Story: Joe the Vet.   Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:36 pm

Joe the Vet: Dear Mr. Obama

YouTube's Most
Popular Election Video

A two-minute YouTube video of an Iraq War veteran has become an
Internet sensation.

John McCain's most powerful ad -- an open letter to Barack Obama in which an Iraq War veteran criticizes his stand on the war -- didn't cost the Republican candidate a dime.

In "Dear Mr. Obama," army veteran Joe Cook stands in front of the camera and scolds the Democratic presidential candidate for calling the Iraq war a mistake.

The two-minute video, which was posted on YouTube, has gotten more than 11 million hits and is the most popular election video on the site.

In the video, Cook tells Obama why he disagrees with his Iraq war policies and says he's supporting McCain. At the end, he walks away from the camera, revealing that he has a prosthetic leg.

Cook, 23, was wounded in Iraq in June and returned home to Wauconda, Ill., to recover. He said he enlisted three years ago because of his family's dedication to serving their country. His parents were both Marines, and he has two brothers in the military.

Click here to see Joe Cook on FOX News

Now that he's back from Iraq, Cook continues to help his fellow service
members, running a business with a neighbor that provides valet parking services at veterans' hospitals and working on the campaign of Dan Duffy, a Republican running for state senate.

"When I first got back it was all about the recovery and everything like
that, but as the race starting going on, I got more involved," he said,
explaining why he made the video. "I started reading about McCain and stuff. He's a leader. I can really respect him, seeing as he's a vet as well."

Cook told FOX News' Shepard Smith that Obama's calling the war in Iraq a
mistake is "a slap in the face" in an interview Friday.

"A lot of people forget that Saddam Hussein broke a lot of international
treaties before we even went to attack. Bush gave him a lot of opportunities to fix what he was doing and he didn't, so going in was not a mistake. We got rid of a dictatorship that was torturing its people. You can't have that happen," he said.

Cook said he has already cast his ballot in Illinois early voting.

Video director Michael Brown, who teamed up with Cook to create the video, said he was inspired to make the video because he wanted to share the experiences of soldiers that aren't reported in the media and to lend support to McCain for his position on the war.

"Obama has been squealing since 2002 that Iraq is a mistake," Brown said.
"He's using the military as pawns, he has not brought our troops home and he has not done any good. When he says it's a mistake, he's disrespecting our guys."

"I'm not connected with any campaign," Brown said. "In fact, what's
interesting is, before this the only thing I've ever done politically is put a
sign in my yard."

Brown said he contacted Cook about making the video after meeting him at a parade the town held in Cook's honor in July. He said he thinks the video's
effectiveness comes from its simplicity.

"Joe collaborated on the script to ensure its authenticity and truthfulness,
which was important," he said. "That's what works so well."

Both Cook and Brown are surprised by the popularity of the video.

"Obviously we didn't think it was going to get up to 11 million hits," Cook said. "It's a little crazy, but anything I can do to help. I think it's a good way to express what I felt and I thought it was good. I thought Mike Brown did a phenomenal job."

Click here to see the video.
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