Sunday, March 11, 2007

David Obey, Tina and I

Nearly a week ago military mom Tina richards and I were caught on video during a rather heated exchange with Rep. David Obey (D-WI) who is the chair of the Appropriations Committee. His behavior was arrogant and rude. It is a prime example of the disconnect between those on Capitol Hill and the people, and it has gained a great deal of media cover.

He did finally apologize for his behavor. I didn't need it, but I am glad it was offered for Tina's sake -- her son who has already completed two tours of Iraq, and is suffering PTSD will soon probably be sent back for a third journey into hell. A hell that Congress continues to fund.

Here is Tina's response:

“How Will You End This War?”


I’ve received emails thanking me for speaking out on behalf of my son and other troops serving in Iraq. In addition, I’ve received questions about my exchange with Rep. David Obey that was videotaped by a citizens news group, Kathleen Gable and Tyler Westbrook, that is documenting the peace movement in the halls of Congress. They’ve covered my visits with other members of Congress as well as the work of other citizens working to end the war.

I’ve come to Washington, DC because my son Cloy, who has been honorably discharged from the Marines with the presidential unit citation, is now facing a possible third deployment. Cloy is suffering from undiagnosed traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. As Cloy says in one of his poems “every time I look in the mirror I see a casualty of the war.” (You can see on the impact the war has had on him through his poetry.)

Like other soldiers, my son has suffered neglect. Therefore, I’ve also been lobbying Congress on the inadequate treatment our troops receive in the VA system – my son is not an isolated case. He should not be going back. Indeed it is time to bring all our sons and daughters home from Iraq.

Although my senators have offered to help Cloy individually, he has refused special treatment unless they are also actively working to bring home all his brothers and sisters. He is a Marine and will not leave his fellow soldiers behind.

My unplanned meeting with Rep. David Obey in the hallway was an opportunity to ask the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the committee that will write the budget for the Iraq War and occupation, how he will use the ‘power of the purse’ to bring the war to an end. The frustration he showed in his response to my questions was understandable. Many in Congress who know the war is wrong feel unable to do all they can to end it.

On November 7th, Nancy Pelosi was given a mandate by the American people to bring our troops home. It time for Speaker Pelosi to spend her political capital.

As a citizen, I am confused why the Democrats are working from President Bush’s appropriation when his party lost the 2006 election because of the war. The new majority should write their own supplemental budget bill based on the views of the vast majority of Americans, majority of troops in Iraq, and majority of Iraqis – one that ends the war, brings the troops home safely and takes care of them when they return.

I hope to meet with Rep. Obey and I have been contacted by Speaker Pelosi’s office to schedule an appointment to meet with her. I want to understand how they are going to end the war.

As a mother of a Marine I have a personal interest, but it is an interest shared by other mothers whose sons and daughters are in Iraq – we want this war to end. We want U.S. troops to come home. We want our sons and daughters cared for when they return. We want our country to live up to its highest ideals and help Iraq rebuild its country, provide support to a regional peace keeping force and talk with the other countries in the region about how to reduce the violence and bring stability to the Middle East. We want to see the damage of this war undone.

I have seen the horrors of war through my son’s eyes. Therefore I ask “How will you end this war?”


Tina Richards
Grass Roots America, CEO

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