Here is the setup to this story as it is being reported:
A class of senior Army War College officers (all of whom are either Iraq or Afghanistan combat veterans with multiple deployments) were taking part on a tour of Congress during a House vote on a war spending bill. All of this was officially approved and part of the Army War College curriculum. The officers observing Congress hold multiple bronze stars between them, and other citations.
Rep. Pete Stark (D-espicable) saw them and dispatched the following letter to the Secretary of Defense:
Dear Secretary Gates:
Yesterday, while voting on the war supplemental spending bill in the House of Representatives, I couldn’t help but notice a contingent of approximately 20 flag rank Army officers sitting in the House Gallery watching the debate and vote for a couple of hours. I was looking from below so I thought they were Army, but there could have been other branches present.
It’s possible they were on leave time or vacation. If so, I obviously have no concern. However, if they were doing this on military time, I want an explanation of why they were there.
At a time when our nation is at war, our troops are over-extended, and the Administration is literally asking for emergency military spending, what good to the “war on terror” is having US Generals and other top ranked officers — who were likely accompanied by staff and escorted by their chauffeurs — spending hours sitting in the gallery of the House of Representatives?
Please provide for me the name, rank, branch, and duties of each of these officers, as well as the number of additional staff and drivers that were used to facilitate their attendance yesterday. I would like this information by Monday, May 19th.
If they were here on official duty, this was an abhorrent misallocation of our military resources at a time of war.
You want to know what’s an abhorrent misallocation of resources? Pete Stark. Wow. A liberal member of the House pointing out possible wasted resources is like hearing Paris Hilton belittle mindless mall-chicks who live off of daddy’s Gold Card.
To use Stark’s own argument — at a time when the military is stretched thin and there’s a war to fight, Stark gives the SecDef, who no doubt has better things to do than placate an idiot, a homework assignment?
But maybe Stark’s trouble with having the Army officers present goes a little deeper than “allocations of resources.” I would imagine that being a liberal politician debating the war and the spending thereof while U.S. soldiers are watching could give said liberal a bit of a Judas complex.