My family and I attended the annual "Run For The Fallen" event in Ogunquit Maine this past weekend. This is the fourth year for the event which honors those who fell combating the more evil elements of Islam in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The event organizer is a combat veteran from the Vietnam war and a good friend, John Mixon. John and I have visited with three of the four members of Maine's Congressional delegation to Washington over the past several months and have plans to continue the effort with representatives from other States.
Of course our focus of effort has been and continues to be the proper support of troops exposed on the field of combat. The mantra has been that the current operational strategy, COIN was not only poorly chosen but requires a level of restraint not seen before in the annals of American warfare and which has tilted the battle space in favor of the enemy. I have been detailing the many horror stories associated with the more egregious elements of the ROE for the past two years and have made the case before Senators Snowe and Collins and Congressman Michaud, several times.
It was during the Run For The Fallen event that I was approached by Congressman Mike Michaud who told me that House Amendment # 318, which amended, HR # 1540, The National Defense Authorization Act, 2011, had passed. The language in the amendment is as follows:
"An amendment numbered 38 printed in House Report 112-88 to require that the rules of engagement allow any military service personnel assigned to duty in a designated hostile fire area to have rules of engagement that fully protects their right to proactively defend themselves from hostile actions."
I applaud the efforts of those in Congress who crafted the amendment and then voted for the bill in which it is included. I am, however, awe struck by the sheer insanity that dares suggest a formal statement needed to be made by some members of Congress requiring American Political Leadership and the Upper Echelons of the American military establishment, to afford members of the United States Armed Forces the "legal right" to "defend themselves" from the enemy!?
Have we really come to this point, where we can demand sovereign American citizens to place themselves in harm's way while simultaneously denying them a way to defend themselves…from an enemy they are there to confront; presumably with force? Apparently! But if this doesn't stretch your ability to see the leadership in this country as anything more than impotent; when you study the vote, the number of Congressional Representatives who voted against it -will!
I will not take the time to list each and every Congressman who voted against the Bill and the amendment, but I will introduce you to one. (For a complete listing of the vote; follow this link).
Chellie Pingree, Representative of the 1st District in Maine, is among the 77% who voted against the bill although she claims to be a staunch supporter of Veterans - active, retired, wounded etc.
From her website: "We must provide for those who willingly put themselves in harm's way in the defense of our every day freedoms. I am committed to providing our troops with the resources they need to do their jobs, during peacetime and war."
And yet she voted down a bill that would fund the needs of those very same combat troops currently engaged on the field of combat by the institution of which she is a member and in doing so, broke ranks with those who penned the amendment designed to force the Pentagon, the upper levels of military leadership and politicians, to allow United States Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Coastguardsmen, the right and ability to defend their lives and the lives of their fellows from the Islamic hordes they have been forced to face - by these same "leaders"!
While the representative is apparently conflicted about funding a war she doesn't agree with, even though those withheld funds would place the American Fighting Man at even greater risk, she doesn't have any problem legalizing marijuana (see question # 12).
Personally it is comforting to me to see such consistency from this element of society; Send people to war, deny them their very lives, legalize mind altering drugs for the entire population of Americans (which happens with the stroke of a Presidential pen and a doctor's prescription) while giving our sworn enemies moral support - and money; let's not forget the billions of dollars in aid sent to various Islamic countries, including Afghanistan which ends up in the hands of terrorists.
Another notable 'No' vote, came from Ron Paul, "Republican" from Texas…And this guy wants to be President of the United States???
Here's a little plan for you lost souls in DC:
If you are going to "fight" a war; "FUND" the war!
Don't send Honorable men and women into the jaws of death and abandon them there!
Don't send Honorable men and women into harm's way and deny them the right to defend themselves!
Don't you dare tell our enemies that you are representative of this entire nation and then effectively surrender to them! You do not represent my belief in this nation and our inherent right to defend these shores and the rights of men and women in uniform to defend themselves on the field of combat, while confronting the hordes of hell.
And I have some sad news for you; you are not representing the majority of Americans who are dumbfounded by your complete lack of compassion for our American Servicemen in lieu of your new love affair with an incalcitrant, ideologically belligerent and hateful people, hell bent on killing those same American Servicemen.
I would like to thank Mike Michaud for supporting the amendment, and the bill even though he doesn't believe we have any further national security interests in Afghanistan. He never-the-less understands that this war and our men and women need financial support until such time as this country deems it possible to bring them home.
You're "firing on all cylinders" Mike!