My response to Resolution 3.
Dear Honorable Commander Cadmus,
I learned today that the American Legion passed Resolution 3, which states: "The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life."
I would like to bring to your attention a previous position from the American Legion.
In 1999, the American Legion wrote the following letter to President Clinton:
The American Legion, a wartime veterans organization of nearly three-million members, urges the immediate withdrawal of American troops participating in "Operation Allied Force.''
The National Executive Committee of The American Legion, meeting in Indianapolis today, adopted Resolution 44, titled "The American Legion's Statement on Yugoslavia.'' This resolution was debated and adopted unanimously.
Mr. President, the United States Armed Forces should never be committed to wartime operations unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
- That there be a clear statement by the President of why it is in our vital national interests to be engaged in hostilities;
- Guidelines be established for the mission, including a clear exit strategy;
- That there be support of the mission by the U.S. Congress and the American people; and
- That it be made clear that U.S. Forces will be commanded only by U.S. officers whom we acknowledge are superior military leaders.
It is the opinion of The American Legion, which I am sure is shared by the majority of Americans, that three of the above listed conditions have not been met in the current joint operation with NATO ("Operation Allied Force'').
In no case should America commit its Armed Forces in the absence of clearly defined objectives agreed upon by the U.S. Congress in accordance with Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States.
Can you honestly state that the current President has made a clear statement of why it is in our vital national interest to be engaged in hostilities?
Can you honestly state that guidelines have been established for this mission, including a clear exit strategy?
Can you honestly state that the American people support this mission?
Can you honestly state that the U.S. officers are superior military leaders -- especially in the light that our top leaders made deliberate efforts to avoid service to our country during Viet Nam and high ranking military officers have been demoted or fired when they provided information to the President that he disagreed with?
How can such honorable individuals as members of the American Legion who have willingly risked their lives for our country and our freedoms be able to change their values and priorities in such a few short years? I am truly hoping that the American Legion is not vulnerable to biased allegiance for particular political individuals rather than following the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence which they had sworn to uphold and all American citizens which they had sworn to protect.
In addition, as you state that you believe that “public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm's way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies", please keep consider the damage to our troops by:
- those in charge who chose not to provide adequate armor.
- those in charge who are not providing adequate VA services for those injured.
- those responsible for the faulty WMD intelligence.
- those who decided we didn't need an exit strategy.
- those leaders who decided against deploying an appropriately-sized force in the first place.
- those civilian commanders ignoring demands for more troops.
- those who are refusing to punish high ranking officers for Abu Ghraib and other leadership mistakes while allowing lower-ranking men and women be scapegoated.
It is my opinion that the above actions are MUCH more damaging to our troops and their morale than the knowledge that there are some Americans who are fighting FOR them at home to ensure their safety and protection by our elected representatives.
I sincerely and humbly request that you look deep with in your conscience and heart and seek the answers to these questions before you continue supporting this resolution.
In addition, I wish to remind you of this statement was made in 1918 by Theodore Roosevelt:
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole.
Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right.
Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."