(Note: Sen Durbin had a small tumor removed from his stomach by minimally invasive surgery on August 12. He's reported to be recovering well, and is campaigning in Illinois, according to this report)
Cross-posted at Docudharma and FireDogLake
I've had two face-to-face meetings with Sen. Dick Durbin in the past, arranged by the director of the senator's downstate office in Springfield, Illinois.
Fifteen minutes were promised, but I actually got thirty minutes each time.
And, one of my progeny is serving in the Armed Forces, and has survived one deployment to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, both involving heavy combat where the batallion sustained many KIAs and severe WIAs.
I'm sick of constant, endless war which is based on specious reasoning. The populace of the U. S. of A. is not paying the price and bearing the burden; it's our service members and their families who are paying the price and bearing the burden.
And, I want to talk directly with Sen. Durbin about it.
At our first appointment in March 2007, I challenged Durbin's oft-stated position that if HE had progeny in Iraq in combat, HE would want to know they were well funded.
As the actual parent of an actual service member in combat, I explained that further funding of combat in Iraq only perpetuates a flawed mission, and is the same as buying more boards and nails to crucify our troops. (Us military families are not so easily fooled; we know that procurements for ammuntion, etc., go out years in advance, thus our troops will not be naked and defenseless if congress refuses to enable more war.)
I urged Sen. Durbin to stand up to his role, as a leader in an independent branch of government, and push back effectively against the out-of-control executive practices of George W. Bush. (Buying the next "round" for an alcoholic on a drunk just enables the disease, you know, whether the alcoholic is on a wet-drunk or on a dry-drunk.)
And, the push-back never came. Sen. Durbin, like most in the senate (save for Feingold, bless that man!), rolled over and played dead, by shoveling all the money requested by Unitary Executive Humpty Dumpty The First:
And, Sen. Durbin was deceitful; that's right, deceitful.
He gave a speech to the Center For National Policy on Sept. 7, 2007, entitled No More Blank Checks For Iraq wherein he said,
But this Congress must not give this President another blank check for his war in Iraq.yet,
six weeks later, Sen. Durbin voted for a big blank check.
At our second meeting, on Nov. 21, 2007, I called him on this discrepancy, and he seemed to be a bit irritated that I brought it up. I again urged him to use his knowledge of Senate processes and his position in the Senate to effectively push back against this misuse and abuse of our Armed Forces, and stop enabling these out-of-control policies by an out-of-control executive.
And, as we know, Senate and House Democrats continued the war funding, though they often took anemic rhetorical postures, and made legislative sleights of hand, against the war in Iraq, just to keep up appearances of opposing it. (Senate and House Democratic leaders could have easily and simply rat-holed the funding bills, once they got control of the committees, eh? But they didn't. Their excuse, when the Repubs controlled the committes, was always, "Hey! the Repubs control the committees, so we're helpless!" Huh.)
Sen. Durbin is a likable guy. He's very smart, and very capable. He does good stuff. And, for politicians in Illinois, he's clean, far as I know. That's saying something, in Illinois, the home of clowns like Blago, and George Ryan, and a host of other corrupt politicians. (The state motto could easily be changed from Land of Lincoln, to Land of Capone, or to Illinois - Best Government That Money Can Buy!)
It's hard to have anything against Dick Durbin, personally. It's his votes that enable constant, endless war based on poor reasoning that I have trouble with.
So, why do I want to talk with him again in person?
I think elected officials we send to Washington should, every now and then, look us military families straight in the eye who are paying the price and bearing the burden and who OPPOSE this misuse and abuse of our Armed Forces. And answer questions......tough questions, where I will issue no free passes. I want to speak truth to power, and get answers.
I don't think it's too much to expect, but I've asked and asked for an appointment, and haven't been given one.
All I have are my freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, so I may as well use 'em. (The mainstream media sure aren't asking the tough questions and demanding answers.)
And, here's but two of the things I'd like to talk with the senator about.
First, reports abound of how American taxpayer dollars and American borrowed dollars are funding the Taliban. One way this happens is when the Taliban skims from/shakes down contractors. More here. Another way this happens is when we fund Pakistan's military, which funds the ISI, which which funds the Taliban THEN the Taliban is better armed and equipped to attack our troops, which THEN becomes a rationale for....sending more troops?!? More.
The question is, just exactly WHO is being P.T. Barnum's Sucker Of The 21st Century, eh?
How can our service members possibly be expected to succeed in this sort of vicious circle of our own creation?
And, a second matter: COIN doctrine requires the presence of a legitimate government to support, otherwise, you're just supporting one group of bad actors over another group of bad actors. Since Karzai's government is corrupt and is predictably unpredictable, we don't have a legitimate government there to work with, and without that, how can anyone possibly claim that we are doing COIN in Afghanistan? without smirking while saying it? And since we're not doing COIN, what in the hell are we doing there, huh?
According to Gen. Petraeus, THIS is what we're doing..........
Sounds like a very bizarre, deadly and expensive experiment, to me. All I'm sure is being accomplished is that defense contractors are lovin' this, some generals are lovin' it, some congress critters like Ike Skelton are lovin' it, and America is unchallenged as the world's greatest exporter of constant, endless war to one of the most miserable places on Earth.
I have more questions, but these will do for now. To be continued.....
This is another live blog from the front porch at Sen. Dick Durbin's office in Springfield, Illinois, in the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. It's a beautiful little park full of historic Lincoln-era homes, owned by the Dept. of the Interior, and managed by the National Park Service. Sen. Durbin has rented office space in the George Shutt House since Sen. Durbin was a member of the House of Representatives. As is shown on the bottom of his Senate web site home page, the address is 525 S. 8th St, Springfield IL 62703. Thanks! to Sen. Durbin's Springfield office staff who have always been gracious.