Recycling isn’t always a good thing

Carpet BagEditor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Iowa Statesman.


By John Thompson
State Central Committee Member
Republican Party of Iowa


After losing a congressional race by almost 24 points, Jim Mowrer has packed up his carpet bag and moved to Des Moines to try again. He announced this week his campaign to challenge incumbent Congressman David Young.

I had some respect for Mowrer as a fellow veteran, however, he completely lost any respect I could hold for him during his debate with Steve King.

Congressman King was asked about deploying troops to respond to the Ebola crisis. He said we should not force troops to deploy and deal with the problem when we did not know how to fight it or how to protect our troops from it. He would at least want them to be volunteers.

Jim answered that soldiers just follow orders but Steve King doesn’t understand that because he never served. My jaw hit the floor. He thought that soldiers signed up to be expendable pawns for politicians. I then got a better look at Jim’s military record.

When we deploy large forces, many of the troops stay in huge staging areas called Forward Operating Bases. They contain secure walls, airfields, gyms, dining facilities, swimming pools, movie theaters and Internet access. Jim spent his deployment on a FOB.

His job was to assess intelligence to make sure that the soldiers who left the FOB remained safe. This is actually a really tough job. There are not enough analysts and so many reports that nobody could keep up with the workload. But any person worth his salt would read and compile as much as they could every day; if they missed something a soldier may get killed.

But then there is Jim Mowrer.

He boasts on his website that he was able to complete his college degree during his deployment. While staying on one of the “deployment resort” FOBs and responsible for the safety of troops leaving the base, Jim was using his access to the Internet to complete courses. He was receiving all the same pay and benefits of the troops doing dangerous work; his biggest danger was upsetting a Sergeant Major for walking to the dining facility without a reflective safety belt.

I do not like to call out other veterans on the veracity of their service. However, Jim’s perspective on troops is not one that should be shaping public policy. He did not think that the soldiers deploying to fight Ebola needed to know anything about Ebola. He also did not think his own teammates should know where the roadside bombs were when it was his job to find them (unless he was finished with his classroom modules).

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John Thompson of Jefferson is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University. He serves on the State Central Committee for the Republican Party of Iowa. He may be contacted at or at “John Thompson for Iowa” on Facebook.