Veterans group praises Connecticut Republican's controversial Iraq service

A pro-military group that typically supports Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans running for office is promoting a civilian gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut.

Iraq Veterans For Congress on Monday expressed "deep appreciation" for Republican Tom Foley's service in Iraq and encouraged supporters to consider voting for him. 

Foley was the Bush administration's director of private sector development in Iraq from 2003-04. Critics charge he was responsible for the hurried privatization of Iraq's state-owned businesses, which resulted in thousands of layoffs. By adding more unemployed men to the ranks of those disaffected by the American occupation, the measures may have helped fuel the insurgency.

Foley has talked up the daunting aspects of his time there. "Donning bullet proof vests, dodging rockets and mortars, and avoiding IED's became regular parts of the routine," according to his website biography. 

And that's apparently what got the attention of IVC.

"I don't know any other Harvard grads in their fifties with no military experience who left comfortable executive positions to answer the call when the country needed them to serve in a ferocious combat zone," Kieran Michael Lalor, the group's founder, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "Foley spent a year in country laying the foundation for economic growth by helping Iraqi entrepreneurs and small merchants build and expand their businesses."

Foley, who later served as ambassador to Ireland, faces Democrat Dan Malloy in November.