When do we give up on Congress? Doesn’t it seem so apparent that the reason there is such a lack of substance to their debate about the war begins with protection of the party apparatus? It seems we’re dealing with the machine first and our individual representatives second.
The cynic is very much a part of my thinking process though, and thus it’s easy to dismiss Rep. Don Young. I would probably be among those criminally supportive of members in Congress who "are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged” for willfully taking action during wartime that damaged morale and undermined the military
A few weeks ago in the
Then there is Senator Ted Stevens, recently awarded the distinction of being the longest serving GOP senator in history.
I am down to Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed to her seat in 2002 by her father, a long term GOP Senator who most recently might be remembered as having been thoroughly embarrassed by winning only 18% of the GOP vote in the primary when he sought another term as governor. Why would I trust her to be responsive, and more, a person of integrity among the halls of Congress that echoes with their timid fear of being voted out of office?
Am I fooling myself that she might genuinely care? Was her granting the peace community of
I reach a place where the idea of impossible suggests my time would be better invested elsewhere. But the impossible is only free to manage its defining power if I turn away to seek something less. There is always a maybe, a hope, a dream, that just one more attempt may break down the barrier and reveal the purity of the blue sky.
Even here in
April 22, 2007
Dear Senator Murkowski
I received your letter of March 27 which included the two page “opinion editorial” that you wrote following a weekend trip to
I offer no apology for the length of this letter. I am forced to reiterate as best as I can each of these matters that I’ve sought your attention on before. And of course, the subject deserves more discussion, and contains more questions and concerns than I can begin to hope to express here.
Training of Iraqi Security Forces
Just last week Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that all the tours of active-duty troops currently in Iraq or preparing to deploy there will be extended from one year to 15 months. And he also indicated that these extensions will likely continue well into 2008. So again I ask the question: where are the Iraqi security forces that the administration supposedly made a priority to train so our troops can come home?
This week the Washington Bureau of the McClatchy News reported that the training of Iraqis is no longer a priority. Citing numerous anonymous sources, reporter Nancy A. Youssef claims that “[m]ilitary planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that
A month ago the Texas Observer wrote a lengthy article about Colonel Ted Westhusing who committed suicide in
When the tour of the 172nd Stryker Brigade was extended and redeployed to
I recognize that two personal accounts and anonymous sources don’t deliver the verdict of failure or worse, fraud and abuse. But when I wrote to you at the end of January, I also referenced the Iraq Study Group report which revealed that the mission to train and equip the Iraqis was seriously under funded.
At the same time that report was being published, Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey predicted that the "Iraqi security forces will reach their goal of 325,000 trained and equipped members" by the end of 2006.
Where are they? The priority of this policy stated by the President and the claims of success are seriously undermined by this evidence. The President’s hiding behind the mantra of supporting the troops is becoming exceedingly hollow nonsense if his primary plan to get them out of
I believe I have a right and an obligation to continue to seek answers from you on this matter, and not just because my son expects to be deployed again to
Under reporting of civilian casualties
Last September I was one of six military family members who wrote to you and urged you to call for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation as Secretary of Defense. Our complaint focused on false statements he made to those of us who attended a meeting of families of the 172nd Stryker Brigade. While boasting of early success for Operation Together Forward II, the figures he quoted regarding the count of civilian casualties in
In my last letter I pointed out to you that the Iraq Study Group chastised the military command for significantly under-reporting the violence in
These were real problems. Does the administration and military command in
US Military Bases in
Since December 2005, the Juneau People for Peace and Justice have sent three letters seeking your knowledge and formal position on the construction of permanent military bases in
The language he referred to only applied to the money allocated during the cycle of that budget bill. It is not a policy but merely a temporary stipulation when it is tied to the short term duration of funding legislation. It seems this is the reason the Democrats in Congress included the prohibition of construction of permanent bases in
Furthermore, our questions were not limited to the issue of policy. We have asked how much money has been spent on the bases already constructed, and for your interpretation of the purpose of those bases as detailed in all the past supplemental budgets approved by Congress. These questions, like the others, remain unanswered.
Our democracy is only as strong as the people it claims to represent. The attitude of far too many politicians, in Congress and in the White House, is that the power of their position grants them the privilege of limiting their responses to their constituency to much less than the full truth, if indeed they respond at all. The result is not a populace sufficiently informed to act as the final check and balance on our government.
The paradox of political power lies in the sharing of truth. We are all better served by honesty rather than incomplete discussion and rhetoric aimed at preserving the strength of one’s position. By empowering the people you serve, you also raise the level of visibility and credibility of those who would oppose you. But that risk is necessary if you are to place the health of our democracy before your personal position as the incumbent representative elected by the people.
Noted psychologist and author James Hillman writes: “The relative weight of work and life, genius and person, haunts one’s life with the feeling of never being able to size oneself up. There is a constant play between importance and humility.”
The first corruption of the human soul occurs when this psychic tension is compromised for the sake of one’s prestige or power. None of us have the answers, and none of us are free from the vulnerability of believing we do unless we strive to hold in check the integrity of our own conscience.
I find it difficult to give any credence to your impressions that a weekend in
The Iraq Study Group expressed a true and absolute necessity that we “deserve a debate that prizes substance over rhetoric ... Our leaders must be candid and forthright with the American people.” Yet I receive neither after writing or contributing to more than a dozen letters to you with substantive questions and valid concerns during the past year.
I trusted you would invest your integrity in a sincere effort to search for truthful answers to these questions. I expect you to offer an honest defense of your position. If your responses are avoiding the subjects rather than engaging with us in these serious issues, then it seems you’re being led by politics, not your conscience which would be guiding you to seek an end to funding further failure.