S 885: A Bad Idea

S 885

We have been having some lively discussion here at the POW Warrior about the recent announcement of Senate Bill 885 introduced in March of this year by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).   The bill itself is very brief, summarized here:

National POW/MIA Remembrance Act of 2015

Directs the Architect of the Capitol to: (1) enter into an agreement to obtain a chair featuring the logo of the National League of POW/MIA Families, and (2) place it in the U.S. Capitol in a suitable permanent location within two years after enactment of this Act.”

While to many this may seem like a wonderful idea, we feel that this is nothing more than tokenism and subterfuge. Many factions of the POW/MIA community are pushing hard for this Act to be made into law and we have to ask the question, why?  Has Senator Warren been a stallworth supporter of our cause for decades?  Does she sit on any Senate committees that would be beneficial to us?  Does she plan on becoming our voice in the Senate?

The answer to all of these questions is “no.”  So, the next logical question is why would she sponsor such a bill if she has no history with our cause?  The answer is simple, she was preparing to run for the highest office in the land, she wanted to be our first female president.  This bill was a way for her to reach out to the masses and say, “I fought for a bill that would …”

We, collectively and individually, have been used, time and time again by those in Washington to fuel their reelection campaigns and insert themselves into an issue they know very little about simply because it looks good to their voters.  We are always a safe bet, who would dare (besides DPAA of course) mistreat, or disrespect a POW/MIA family member?  How many of us have gone to our representatives in Congress to get help with dealing with the DoD only to get either the run around or a half-baked effort to help us?  Publicly we are the golden calf, privately we are something they truly want to distance themselves from politically.

Look at Senators McCaskill and Ayotte.  Two years ago, they raked the then heads of DPMO and JPAC over the coals.  McCaskill was quoted as saying, “Get it freaking done!” and Ayotte, with her finger pointed across her name plate, told them, “Fix it, or we’ll fix it for you!”  Many of us cheered from our couches when these words were uttered.  Yet where were they as the reorganization turned into a mockery?  A source told us that while McCaskill’s office was well aware of the mess that was taking place, an aide alluded to the fact that they knew it was going to hell but that they didn’t have the power to tell the DoD how to do their job. In other words, they didn’t want to get involved.  Quite a 180-degree turn from the threats and finger-pointing when the cameras were rolling and the press were paying attention.

All of this, the sponsorship, the chair everything is nothing more than tokenism on the part of the very system that is supposed to be serving us.  We at the POW Warrior are sick and tired of groups who are more than willing to erect a memorial, organize a ceremony or hand out proclamations. We want politicians and veterans’ groups to get their hands dirty, to really learn the issue from the inside out, know why it is insane, for example, to have General (Ret.) Michael Linnington as the new head of DPAA.  His loyalties are not to the families or to the missing, they are specifically to himself and a one-way street to the DoD.  He was strategically placed on the third reorganization team so that he could take this post.  In fact, if you read the newsletter of one specific family group, you will see that he was recommended as part of the reorganization team by the only family group that the DoD has ever listened to.

We had to laugh at DASD Bardorf’s email today, announcing General Linnington at the new director of DPAA.

“As you know, he was also an advisor involved in all aspects of standing up the new agency.”

He has only been on board since January.  While a significant amount of work was done by Michael Lumpkin and the PACT, work which was heading in the right direction, much of that was thrown to the wayside because, as usual, someone wasn’t getting her way.

We at the POW Warrior want to see substantive insertion into the issue on the part of Congress.  We don’t need more memorials, wreaths or plaques, we need people who are going to act, people who are going to get involved long-term and help families get their loved ones home and correctly identified.  We are so over veterans’ groups who only get involved to a certain point and are afraid to step over a line. They would never put their membership in a bad light with the DoD or Congress.  If a veterans’ group had to choose between POW/MIAs and an issue that would help improve the lives of their card-carrying paid members, you know darn well that we will be left in the dust.

We need to get past the tokenism and the subterfuge and start to get real.

Roger Clemens is more important than POW/MIAs?: How Congress decides what matters to America

roger.jpg

Legendary Pitcher Roger Clemens preparing to give testimony to Congress

Fox News is reporting that Roger Clemens, a seven time Cy Young Winner, is being investigated by the FBI for his potential perjury during his testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on February 13, 2008, less than two weeks ago.

I am sure that I am not the only one of us that is sitting in front of the computer screen saying, “Huh?”. I had the opportunity to watch some three hours or so of the hearing and regardless of my opinion of Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian MacNamee, I have to wonder what it takes to get the attention of a committee such as this.  Were they feeling that the Armed Services Committee was getting too much of the lime light and wanted to get their piece of the pie? Were their hearings too boring? Are more than just a handful of them up for re-election this year? Maybe their hearings weren’t “sexy” enough for the American people to take notice? I was close to sugar shock at all of the selfagrandizing each member droned through before addressing the witnesses with their questions.

How is it somehow the responsibility of Congress to investigate athletes allegedly injecting themselves with HGH or other enhancers but the blatant abandonment of servicemen by the Department of Defense and even the Executive Branch of the United States somehow takes a back seat to this circus like atmosphere? Has Congress gone the way of Hollywood and taken an oath of sensationalism all in the name of re-election?

This House Committee was simply convened, there was no exhasting efforts to get co-sponsors, no resolution needed to get the ball rolling, someone simply decided, “Hey, we need to poke our noses into this one!”

So, my question to this House Committee is this; What does it take for you to want to honor those who willingly gave their lives for the country that you comfortably serve and who were systematically abandoned because no one had the testicle fortitude to stand up and say, “This is wrong and has gone on long enough”? What do you say to the families of these brave men who went into battle with the thought that nothing would be more foreign than their nation considering them a liability?

I am reminded of the story of former POW Frank Anton who, after his release was made aware of the fact that US servicemen were within 25 feet of him to photograph him but were ordered NOT to rescue him out of concern over letting the enemy know that we were aware of their movements. This lack of action on the part of these covert ops soldiers extended his captivity another two years.

In response to his debriefers after being made aware of this unthinkable act he asked, “Why didn’t you get me out?”

I wonder how may have spent the past 40 years asking that same question – and are still asking it today.   Whose son, brother, uncle, cousin or father goes to sleep every night asking the Heavens this simple question?

The POW Warrior