Dear Senator Webb,

 

     I am writing to express strong support for H.R. 1585 Amendment No. 2208 proposed by Senators Warner and Lugar.  This proposed amendment clearly addresses our and the international community's continued interests in both Iraq and the region as well as the changed conditions in that area which informed the original AUMF.  This legislative course also reaffirms and strengthens Congressional authority and oversight in matters of war by clearly addressing the original authorization rather than budgetary issues alone.  The Congress has granted war powers.  The President, as Commander in Chief, has been acting under that authorization for some time now, with continued congressional appropriations and no additional clarification.  If Congress disagrees with his actions, it would seem logical, as well as prudent given the changed conditions as well as the potential for additional future judicial actions both in regards to Iraq as well as the GWOT, to address the original authorization(s), the Judicial Branch's views of executive actions pursuant to express congressional authorization being guided by the strongest of presumptions and the widest latitude of judicial interpretation. 

 

     The proposed amendment lays out our continued vital national interests in the region, including Iraq's relation to the broader GWOT, and issues related to energy and strategic access such as regional stability, U.S. credibility, weapons proliferation, refugee flows, and energy infrastructure and transportation flows.  This latter element appears to have received insufficient public debate in regards to the potential impacts of a precipitous pullout from the area as well as in relation to our broader long term energy strategy.  The proposed amendment states that "The long term importance of Iraq and the Middle East to American economic and national security requires that our policy in Iraq be militarily sustainable and that it command the greatest degree of public and Congressional support possible."  Such support can only be achieved by clearly laying out to the American people the impacts of potential scenarios, the potential diplomatic, informational, military, and economic options, and how these options can be supported across the elements of government.  This amendment appears to be a good start in addressing these important concerns as well as in clearly articulating them in a current context to provide a reasonable basis for future planning. 

 

     I respectfully request your positive consideration and support of this amendment during this weeks debates as well as your continued leadership in moving us all to a clearer, more relevant understanding of the current and long term importance of this region, the missions of our various elements of government in support of national policy goals there, and the impacts of potential courses of action being debated in regards to our security.

 

     Thank you for your past and continued dedicated service to our country.  I was privileged to attend your election victory celebration, much it seems to the consternation of my Republican family and friends, and look forward to supporting your continued service as I am able.

 

Very Respectfully,

 

Harold R. Gielow

LtCol USMC (ret)