Dear Congressman Hurt,

 

     Having read you recent “roundup” regarding ISIS, “The Threat of ISIL Requires Clear and Bold Action,  I wondered about the authorship of the message, so many pressing issues left unspoken.  I wondered what your knowledge of these issues was and, if you were knowledgeable on them, why they did not make it into an article addressing such an important topic.  I would appreciate your addressing these issues in future correspondence as they are crucial to the topic and I would very much like to know my representative’s position on them.  These issues include: congressional authorization for war and war powers authorities and responsibilities; congressional oversight of title 50 programs; congressional oversight of title 10 forces conducting title 50 operations; the impact of title 50 operations on the rise of ISIS as well as the attack on our temporary residential facility in Benghazi; the real issues which are driving our national actions in Syria and the middle east in general.

 

     As to war powers, the president claims that he does not need congressional action for justification of our current or anticipated actions in Iraq and Syria, the 2001 AUMF providing him the congressional authorization for these operations.  Do you agree with that?  Senator Kaine has made explicit, on multiple occasions, his opposition to this position.  Clear and bold action should include repealing the 2001 AUMF to make clear and bold the congressional claim that congress is vested with the constitutional authority to declare war.  I look forward to your floor speech reiterating this fact and calling for a repeal of the 2001 AUMF.  I would appreciate an email or phone call when it is scheduled so that I can see your clear and bold actions in protecting and defending the constitution of the United States.

 

     As to congressional oversight of title 50 programs, I believe it most applicable, in a discussion of what we should do, to review what we have already done along a similar line to make a judgment as to its effects.  We have been arming and training insurgents to take down Assad for years now.  The vote we had on authorization of arming and training a moderate opposition was a sham, simply making a title 50 operation a title 10 operation.  (See http://justsecurity.org/15201/ongoing-aid-syrian-rebels-is-covert-and-so-why/)  America knows this.  Such games simply lessen, if that is possible, the trust that the citizenry has in their government and its legitimacy.  Are you aware that we have been providing arms and training to the Syrian opposition for years now?  Do you think it is reasonable to ask, before proceeding, what the success of those covert operations was?  Other congressmen are asking these questions.  Are you?  I would say that clear and bold action requires that these questions be asked.  If you are not aware of these actions, and are being asked to vote on similar actions, how can you have the informational background to make a wise and considered vote?  Something is dreadfully wrong with our congressional oversight of covert programs if there is not a mechanism to inform the congress of critical information on the subjects of great national import that they are required to vote on.  What are you doing about this issue?

 

     It has been reported in multiple venues that we are already providing special operations forces as “boots on the ground” for close air support in Iraq and Syria (e.g., http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/02/are-american-troops-already-fighting-on-the-front-lines-in-iraq.html).  As such, my assumption is that they are authorized under a presidential finding, no notification to congress having been made of the introduction of title 10 forces into hostilities other than at the advisory levels.  As was executed in the OBL raid into Pakistan, title 10 forces were/are under the rubric and command of title 50 authorities, or so it appears.  Clear and bold action requires that we make clear and bold lines separating these two decision making and advising/oversight authorities.  Without doing so, we cannot make clear and reinforce congressional constitutional authorities in regards to entering into war, but will rather continue to slide deeper and deeper into perpetual war.  What are you doing about this?  This is a critical issue, and becomes ever more so as we begin to wrestle with offensive computer network operations as well as continued use of a mish mash of title 10/50 operations in our whack a mole operations around the globe.   

 

     Lastly, I would ask you to address how we can, or should, clearly and boldly address, in retrospect, how our actions in arming radical Islamists in Libya and Syria have made us more safe.  I truly hope, but do not expect, Trey Gowdey to get to the bottom of the Benghazi affair.  It is well known that we had a covert operation in Libya to arm certain factions, as well as to collect arms and ship them to Syria.  This has been an unmitigated disaster.  These were title 50 operations.  As such, they had the primogeniture of the gang of eight.  Frankly, this is an abomination of oversight.  The entire intelligence oversight committees should be privy to such decisions.  These decisions, and their results, have, or should have, a direct impact on current decisions.  Are you read in?  If not, how can you possibly make decisions on how we should proceed?  The oversight system is broken, and probably intentionally so.  How are you clearly and boldly addressing this issue?

 

     The real issues driving our actions are unspoken.  Perhaps this is inevitable and not wholly unwise; however, it risks societal revolt and upheaval.  Frankly, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  If I can figure it out, so too can a majority of the populace.  They aren’t stupid, they are just trusting, to a point, and busy making a living.  It would be wise for the political establishment to be more honest.  In today’s hyperconnected world, whether they are or no, the truth will eventually come out.  To this point, General Wesley Clark’s revelations are pertinent (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw).  What are the real issues driving our national actions?  Why must they be veiled?  If they are important enough to require us to sacrifice our sons and daughters in war, should they not be honestly disclosed?  It appears that the elites answers to all of these questions is no.  Why?

 

     I question the authorship of your Roberts Roundup bulletin as it does not, frankly, rise to the intellectual level of a fellow alumni.  Are you buried in subcommittees?  Are you intellectually incurious?  Are you unaware of the importance of these issues to our nation?  Do you even give a shit?  I’d love a clear and bold response.  To be frank, I voted for a democrat in the last election, senator Kaine, as he in fact has been clear and bold, not that I agree with all of his positions.  You are both Virginians.  Maybe he can clue you in to some of these issues of which you seem to be unaware or uninterested.

 

LtCol Harold R. Gielow

USMC (ret)

434-917-1519

hrgie1@gmail.com