My father is a lobbyist for the Military Officers Association of America. This overreach could sour another reliable Republican block, military officers. So, here goes:
It appears the failure of honoring of the last WWI vet was not a fluke. The House of Representatives showed their contempt for our men and women in uniform yet again, yesterday. On Tuesdays the House has suspension of the rules to pass non-controversial resolutions quickly. An example from yesterday is H.R. 362 which names a George W. Bush courthouse. But, there is a new rule that "prohibit the consideration of any measure that expresses appreciation, commends, congratulates, celebrates, recognizes the accomplishments of, or celebrates the anniversary of, an entity, event, group, individual, institution, team or government program; or acknowledges or recognizes a period of time for such purposes.” Apparently this is not limited to sports teams but also our military and intelligence services.
What this means is the Senate by a 97-0 vote congratulated our brave Seals for finally killing Osama bin Laden but the House has failed to do so, presumably because who is the current CiC. I'm sure those Seals would appreciate MOAA and you contacting the congressional delegations on their behalf to redress this great injustice.
In my actual letter I added the following graf:
You may have wondered why my politics have changed recently but this is part of it. The son of friends of mine at church got his legs blown off by an IED in Afghanistan. (http://www.abc15.com/...) Whiny billionaires who don't want to pay 3% more in taxes say we cannot afford to take another five minutes of time to honor people like the SEALs and Jesse. I'm sorry that's not patriotism but opportunism and it dishonors those who really are patriots.
My dad forwarded me the following response from retired Col. Michael Hayden who is the deputy director of government relations of the Military Officers Association of America. His response after the fold:
You are correct. No House proclamations for the Navy SEAL Team. We reported a few weeks ago that the House rules have changed, specifically the new rules bar commemorative legislation. [emphasis mine]
So, the military lobbyists already noticed this even prior to last week's issue with the SEAL team. This is how they put it in April:
The House of Representatives approved a number of new rules at the start of the new Congress that could significantly affect the process of considering defense and other legislation.
First, the new rules bar commemorative legislation from being considered in the House.
Nearly one-third of all bills passed by the previous Congress involved resolutions declaring National Deep Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month, honoring sports accomplishments, or commemorating other noteworthy people or events.
At a press conference announcing the new rules earlier this year, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said, “If Americans knew we spent this week…saluting golf legend Chi-Chi Rodriguez and commending the city of Jacksonville, Arkansas, while their taxes are about to go up and our national debt is exploding, they'd send us all packing.”
I think if Americans knew that they didn't honor the SEALs but had a George W. Bush courthouse then I am sure that they will send them rightly packing.
Col. Hayden continues:
However, that still doesn’t preclude House members from making floor speeches or commenting in hearings. I attended a HASC MilPers committee hearing where Chairman Joe Wilson commended the SEAL Team and HASC Chairman Buck McKeon issued the following statement:
Here's the statement alluded to above:
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement following the President’s announcement that United States forces have killed Osama bin Laden:
“This is the news we have long waited to hear. As Americans picked themselves up after the terrorist attacks of September Eleventh, President Bush told us that we would get Osama bin Laden. While it has taken longer than many expected, Osama bin Laden is dead. Bin Laden’s death is proof to those terrorists who wish to harm us that they may be able to run and hide but we will get them eventually.
“Our brave military forces and their civilian counterparts who have been working for more than a decade to capture or kill bin Laden have the gratitude of our nation. These warriors have paid tremendous sacrifices during this time, and tonight’s announcement should help ease some of those burdens.
“While we celebrate a major victory in one battle against evil, we should recognize that the larger war against terrorism continues. Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, Africa and Asia remain dedicated to killing Americans and our allies. We know that even as they mourn the loss of their inspirational leader, they will not waver in their determination to attack us and our way of life. As we rejoice, we must remain vigilant, and continue to support our brave men and women in uniform, as well as our courageous intelligence officers, around the world who serve on the front lines against this determined enemy." [Emphasis mine]
... Spits morning coffee .... No mention of the SEALs or President Obama and it includes the lie that we were continually looking for bin Laden when the Bush Administration disbanded the bin Laden unit in 2006 as noted by the linked 2006 NY Times article:
The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.
The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.
The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."
Michael Scheuer, a former senior C.I.A. official who was the first head of the unit, said the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was.
Mr. Scheuer said that view was mistaken.
"This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals."
Col. Hayden concludes in classical military underspeak:
I had a number of interesting conversations over the weekend. As I alluded to in my letter to my father, the conservative evangelical church I attend is loaded with retired military and their children and grandchildren are current active duty military. A friend of my wife's a retired SEAL (due to health reasons). She asked him on Saturday whether he knew the SEALs on the bin Laden mission. With a huge grin on his face and beaming with pride, he mentioned that he trained them. When we visited his family he told of how rigorous the SEAL training is and how over 400 sign up and only a dozen graduate. On Sunday I relayed the story about this to one of the retired military members of our church. He thanked me for doing so and his response in a VERY Republican church is classic:
"Obama made the right decision. He was very courageous."