|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.29.14
Monday, September 29, 2014 ‚Äď
Defeating ISIS ‚Äď An Update
In previous columns I have noted I am of the belief the President does not have the authority to wage an extended war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without Congressional approval. I agree we must see that ISIS is destroyed. Unlike Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), I believe like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) that Congress must debate and decide whether or not the United States goes to war or, alternatively, consider its kissing cousin, an authorization for the use of military force.
On September 28, the Speaker and Senator Kaine on Sunday news shows discussed their positions. Speaker Boehner stated he would call Congress back into session to vote if the President were to request an authorization vote, but the Speaker expressed his belief the President has the authority to carry out these airstrikes without Congressional authorization. I disagree!
Senator Kaine stated, ‚Äú[The President] does not have the Article Two constitutional authority to do this entire mission without Congress, and neither of the authorizations passed by Congress in 2001 or 2002 cover it. We should be debating and voting on this entire mission.‚ÄĚ Senator Kaine also said, ‚ÄúIt really concerns me that the President would assert he has the ability to do this unilaterally when as a candidate for President he made very plain that the President cannot unilaterally start a war without Congress. He was very clear about that.‚ÄĚ I agree!
The President is Commander in Chief, but it is the constitutional duty of Congress to declare war.
Fast and Furious ‚Äď An Update
‚ÄúCalling the government‚Äôs arguments for ‚Äėeven more time‚Ä¶unconvincing,‚Äô a federal court has ordered the Justice Department to turn over a list of withheld Fast and Furious [gun-walking operation] documents by Oct. 22,‚ÄĚ wrote investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. ‚ÄúAttorney General Eric Holder had sought a delay until the day before the midterm elections.‚ÄĚ
As you may recall, in June 2012, my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives voted to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform requesting documents in the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, as it appeared that he misled Congress.
Fast and Furious was poorly-designed, and I am of the opinion it was designed in part to politically move Americans toward more gun control.
We must see what these documents reveal once they are turned over.
The question raised by that court decision and Holder‚Äôs resignation is ‚Äúare they linked?‚ÄĚ.
Recognizing an American Hero
As your Congressman, I regularly receive information on remarkable things, events, and people. One such person brought to my attention recently is Sergeant Larry Freeman of Pulaski. In action in 1966, when his Squad Leader was killed and despite being wounded himself, Sergeant Freeman took charge of the squad, attending to the wounded, repositioning the squad, and helping to redistribute weapons and ammunition. It became apparent that the squad would have to disengage. Sergeant Freeman, exposing himself to enemy fire, began informing survivors that they would soon be disengaging to transition to another platoon‚Äôs position. Simultaneously, he was also assisting with the extraction of wounded and continuing to fight off enemy efforts.
Sergeant Freeman was recommended for a Silver Star for these actions. He did not know he had been recommended until a couple of years ago when his old lieutenant found paperwork that was supposed to be submitted back in 1966. This year, his Silver Star was at long last approved, and he was presented this high honor at a ceremony held Sunday, September 28 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Though his recognition is long overdue, it is an opportunity to once again thank Sergeant Freeman for his service, dedication, and courage. Vietnam veterans like Sergeant Freeman earned our respect and gratitude, even if the country did not give it to them at the time. I am very glad to see this recognition work out for Sergeant Freeman.
Though Sergeant Freeman was able to track down his medal without our assistance, we are able to help you or those you know receive the military honors they have earned. If you, a friend, or a loved one are owed medals from service, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (276) 525-1405 for assistance.
As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at ###