05 February 2007

Congressman, Why Won't You Support Us?

This post is contributed by reader and friend Robert Connolly.

I am contemplating writing my Congressman. My Congressman is David Price, a Democrat, and the new chair of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. Dr. Price (he used to make his living as a professor at Duke University) is not given to the rhetorical nonsense that comes from the likes of Charlie Rangel, or the two U.S. Senators from the State of New York. He is a decent guy, approachable and reasonable in person, and he is reelected pretty regularly because his views map into the majority leftwing sympathies of his district.

I mostly ignore him, but now, his leanings are getting quite personal. I have a son-in-law in the U.S. Army, assigned to an aviation brigade (he is a helicopter pilot) that will probably return to Iraq (but might head to Afghanistan) later this year. When and where they go depends on how some very senior people in the Pentagon choose to deploy his brigade and the infantry brigade that they will support. What is certain is that this highly-capable group will not be sitting around; they will take the fight to the latest incarnation of fascists. That’s the part I want to talk to my Congressman about.

A few of my friends were lamenting the troop surge the other day, saying that they really opposed this move (they were concerned about the troops themselves, not the politics). I asked them why it was that they wanted my son-in-law (and the relatives of a lot of other fellow citizens) to have to enter the fight without appropriate strength. They just didn’t want anyone else in harm’s way. Well, it was cold outside where this conversation was happening, so I didn’t get the chance to remind them that every single man and woman in uniform volunteered to go into harm’s way. I didn’t have the opportunity to remind them that Charlie Rangel’s line of nonsense about intelligence, opportunity, and enlistment was absolutely dead wrong. I dropped the issue with them.

My Congressman is another matter, however. I sense that he does not know that there are families in his district that are carrying the fight (volunteered to do it!) and that they deserve his full support. From where I am sitting, it seems that threatening loss of funding for operations in Iraq, tying the hands of senior officers (to say nothing of the Commander-in-Chief), and proposing to legislate the conduct of this long war (his newest ‘idea’) looks worse than cut and run. It feels like betrayal of the families who bear the burdens. (Our personal burdens are very light compared to the families at nearby Ft. Bragg).

In this sense, then, my family is discovering another remarkable way that it is linked with military families and their friends and supporters across the country (and in Germany and other places, too!).

We also have come to realize that we could have it much worse: the U.S. Senators from New York might represent us.

Bob can be reached via email or you may leave him a comment below.

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