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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guest Blog: Senator Domenici-How In Good Conscience Can You Do This To Our Men And Women In Uniform?

This is a guest blog from Bobby Muller, founder of Veterans for America:

Sen. Pete Domenici: I have a fundamental question for you -– a really simple basic question. One that every American should be asking themselves right now as you –- and the rest of our Senators –- get ready to return from your month-long break.

When the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that our troops were at their breaking point, when the Department of Defense reported that our current deployment policies are compounding the wounds of war, causing mental health problems among our troops to skyrocket, and that one of the primary causes was our current policy of deploying troops back to Iraq and Afghanistan without adequate dwell time at home, why didn't you do something about it?

How can you not support a policy where soldiers are deployed for 15 months in Iraq and then receive at least equal time stationed stateside to rest, train, and then fight again?  (And at least three times that much at home if they are from the Guard or Reserve.)

Well guess what? You aren't alone. Back in July before you took your summer break, a lot of United States Senators voted against this fundamental act of fairness by voting against the Webb-Hagel Amendment. (Click here to see a press conference where I spoke up for this bill before the vote.)

What's shocking to me is that this amendment was sponsored by two veterans, one Democrat and one Republican, and it was a bill that unlike many in D.C. is incredibly simple and –- more importantly -- fair to our troops: At least one month stationed stateside for every month served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  It doesn't get any more basic or any more fair than that.

Here is the exact wording of the amendment in case you didn't carefully read it before you voted against it, and our troops.

July 11, 2007, Senate Roll Call Vote 241, HR 1585
The Webb amendment would mandate minimum intervals between deployments for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would require active duty forces to be guaranteed as much time at home as they served while deployed. National Guard and reservists would be guaranteed three years at home between deployments.

Now if you're in New Mexico, and you're reading this -- I frankly don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican, blue or red. I'm asking you, American to American:

How in good conscience can you do this to our men and women in uniform?

Because when your Senators vote against our troops like this, you vote against them too.

But you get another chance.

So next week, when Senator Domenici and all of our elected officials return to Washington, guess what? There's going to be another dwell time bill waiting for them; this one has already passed in the House of Representatives.

This bill, the Tauscher bill (HR 3159), like the Webb-Hagel Amendment, offers our troops a fair deployment policy. I hope every single United States Senator votes for this bill. Shame on you, Senators, if you don't.

Editor's Notes:

This is a guest blog by Bobby Muller of Veterans for America. Veterans for America (VFA), formerly the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, is uniting a new generation of veterans with those from past wars to address the causes, conduct and consequences of war. Together, veterans offer a crucial perspective when addressing public and political concerns about war in the 21st century. Click here to read more about the mission of VFA.

In the U.S. House, Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-01) voted against the Tauscher bill, as did Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02). Rep. Tom Udall (NM-03) voted for it. In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Pete Domenici voted against the Webb-Hagel Amendment while Sen. Jeff Bingaman voted for it. To contact them about their votes click here.

Guest blogs provide readers with an opportunity to express themselves on relevant political issues and may or may not represent our views. If you'd like to submit a post for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

August 29, 2007 at 10:55 AM in Iraq War, Military Affairs, Veterans | Permalink


It's unbelievable how these Republicans get away with voting against the interests of the veterans and troops and are allowed to keep bragging how they "support the troops." They support the for profit war machine and Bush and his criminal friends, not the veterans or the troops. The call anyone voicing criticism "anti-patriotic" but their own actions are unpatriotic and mean.

When are people going to wake up to the fact that Heather Wilson and Pete Domenici do everything for political gain and profits for their friends? They pretend to be for veterans, the troops and ordinary people but the majority of their votes for the opposite of that. They are such liars.

Posted by: Vet | Aug 30, 2007 9:19:16 AM

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