MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- As he expressed support for American troops fighting in Iraq on Wednesday, former Gov. Jesse Ventura also defended the right to protest against the war.
Appearing on the cable network MSNBC, where he will host a prime-time show eventually, Ventura recalled going to the federal building in Minneapolis to join the Navy in 1969, and was met by protesters opposed to the war in Vietnam who were begging people not to enlist.
"The great thing about our country, the United States of America, is the fact you can protest," the former SEAL said. "And our forefathers felt that so important that they even put it in the Bill of Rights, that if you disagree with your government you have the right to assemble and protest."
He acknowledged that the protests might have a demoralizing impact on the troops, but he said he would tell service members not to pay attention and focus on their jobs.
"I think the troops have to rise above that," he said.
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