Fifteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American planes, used them as guided missiles, brought down the World Trade Towers, severely damaged the Pentagon, and four terrorists were overpowered by Americans over a field in Pennsylvania. The suicide terrorist attacks killed 2,996, caused more than $100 billion in damages and stole America’s innocence.
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According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the 9/11 attacks continue to be a powerful memory for Americans: 91 percent of adults remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks.
So how has the 15–year “war on terror” changed America? Looking back and forward, can Americans really believe they are safer?
First a bit of history, the “war on terror” rightly started in the tribal nation of Afghanistan. Brand-new President George W. Bush summoned his top advisors to the Oval Office and chose Cofer Black, former CIA whiz, to implement a devastating retaliation for the nearly three thousand deaths. Black offered no mercy and told the rookie president that this effort required a few hundred specially trained military forces, 110 CIA officers, direct firepower, a bunch of money and his plan would end with what Black called – using an old Angola War expression – “when this is all over, the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.”
After 10 weeks, Black and his stealth-fighting machine proclaimed victory. All the Taliban cities, as well as their government, had been toppled.
In a 2013 Men’s Journal interview Black was asked if he briefed the Russians about the impending attack and how the Ruskies responded to his plan. They said, “You’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.” Black replied, “We’re going to kill them – we’re going to put their heads on sticks… and you know what, the Russians loved it! After the meeting was over, two senior Russian officials, whom I will not name, said to me, ‘Mr. Black, finally America is acting like a superpower!’”
The follow through earned Black and the US the respect that had been sorely lacking.
The success should have ended there. But as we know, it didn’t. Bush ensnared the country into an ill-defined and ill-conceived “war on terror” that continues today.
Whether you agree with the “war on terror” or not, the consequences are very real and very alarming. With the advent of comprehensive counterinsurgency, COIN or nation-building, thanks General Petraeus, the taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars in a region made up of tribal nations.
Case in point, in a recent interview, Commander of Afghanistan US and NATO Forces, General John Nicholson told PBS the war’s progress is tedious. “We’re trying to build an airplane while in flight, OK? So they’re fighting a war while we’re trying to build an army. This is very hard,” he explained.
It must be said that the “war on terror” falls under the asymmetrical category. The sneaky “stateless” armies must be defeated with clear goals and end-state solutions. It’s here where the most powerful armed forces on the planet have stumbled.
In his book the Field of Fight, retired Army three-star General Mike Flynn describes the best way to defeat marauding radical Islamic terrorists. Flynn says to win the battle against radical Islam we must destroy the jihadi armies, kill or capture their leaders, discredit their ideology, create a 21st-century alliance and must hold countries, like Saudi Arabia, accountable for supporting terrorism.
“The best plan gives you the most options at the last possible minute. Right now we don’t have the best plan. A real strategic discussion about what it is that we are trying to achieve. Is it the defeat of radical Islam? It has to be beyond that and that’s where an alliance of nations has to get it together,” Flynn said.
It cost Osama bin-Laden roughly $500,000 to bring down the Twin Towers and Pentagon. In return, the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties and flushed away trillions of dollars into the Middle East black hole. Plus, hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners have died and more than 12 million of refugees are now stateless. Newt Gingrich said this week the US has failed so badly in the Middle East that we are giving the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, $1.7 billion in cash, just like a drug cartel.
“So 15 years after 9/11, we’re not winning. We’re not winning in Afghanistan. We’re not winning in Iraq. We’re not winning in Syria. We’re not winning in Libya. We’re not winning in Yemen,” Gingrich emphasized (mimicking Donald Trump). He’s right.
One reason for the protracted war may be the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. American arms and technology companies export, firearms, fighter jets, tanks, as well as Patriot Missile batteries.
The big winner in the Department of State’s 2017 budget includes $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. The main recipients of the proposed budget will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).
While the Middle East tops the list, funding for Africa in 2017 will double from last year. Due to ISIS’ expansion into Africa, countries like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria will see an influx of American weaponry. But why do American leaders want to militarize the African continent? Of course, the prominent argument is; “if the US doesn’t do something then other countries will do it.” However, no other country on the planet finances military sales like the US.
The US and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided to a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department (link to other FMS article).
For the last three years, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The US has also provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the US supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as SCUDs and the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.
Also for last few years, the US has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the US provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.
Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to US companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further US foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”
According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements
“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for US- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.
And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work toward US security interests and abide by President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high-tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by US defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.
As the impact of ISIS’ offensive continues to sink in, US intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before a Committee claiming, “The ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“This was a very clear case in which the US knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East. During its assault in the region, ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the US not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters, and artillery.
Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500-man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway.
Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with US inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. Just in case that bad intel was on the horizon, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.
Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and portends a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.
From the US perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)
Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.
The infusion of military-grade weapons in the region only portends much more war. The war between the Sunnis and Shiites has grown more contentious due to the dysfunction of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916. Essentially the Agreement drew a twentieth-century map that granted control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf, Baghdad to the British. That was followed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that outlined a “Kurdistan” as an entity by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti). That promise was never kept and it’s doubtful the Kurds, who are Caucasian or Indo-European and not Arab, will wait another 100 years to establish their own country, one that will control its destiny through its own oil and revenues from oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea.
The complexity of the middle east today reflects Winston Churchill’s description of Russia in October 1939: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Perhaps Russia is the key to the Middle East today.
Neither agreement ever took into account the tribal nature of the region that will continue to dog the Middle East until new maps emerge, or complete Armageddon is achieved. Until that day, America will continue to find itself under the threat of attack from a region that really doesn’t offer the US much. So are we safer after 15 years of war? Stay tuned!
© Copyright 2016 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved
The White House along with many veterans’ organizations announced support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits that will provide military personnel easier entry into the civilian workforce.
The White House said the Returning Heroes Tax Credit incentivizes companies that hire unemployed veterans with a tax credit of $5,600 per veteran. Similarly, the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit would offer employers that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a tax credit of $9,600.
“No veteran should have to fight for a job at home after they fight for our nation overseas,” said President Barrack Obama. “Congress should pass the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior tax credits, but we can’t wait for Congress to act. That’s why today, I am directing my Administration to move forward with three initiatives that will help make it easier for veterans to find jobs when they return home. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen progress in Congress.”
While the overall program is welcomed by veterans across the country, the fact that Washington DC continues to play political football with the military issues angers most Americans.
“Senate Republicans have so far chosen to block these bills and these proposals,” the President said at a press conference earlier today. However, Obama demonstrates that he can’t resist injecting politics into the issue. The President knows it is the defection of a few Senate Democrats that effectively killed legislation.
However, in an effort to run against a do nothing Congress, Obama continues to skirt the Congressional process by submitting a flurry of executive orders. “As Commander-in-Chief, I won’t wait, nor will I let politics get in the way of making sure that veterans share in the opportunity that they defend. If Congress won’t act, I will.”
This political theater shouldn’t detract from the real issues of joblessness for America’s returning warriors. Leading support for the new program is the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“The American Legion, on behalf of its 2.4-million members, appreciates the efforts of President Obama and Congress to curb the unacceptably high rate of unemployment among the men and women who have selflessly served our country,” said Peter Gaytan, Executive Director of the American Legion. “Tax credits will augment the good and patriotic intentions of employers with tangible, financial incentives. The rewards will be great for them and, most importantly, for the most deserving of our citizens, our military veterans.”
Americans agree, the jobless numbers for veterans remain too high. During the past decade, approximately 3 million service members have transitioned from a military career in to civilian life. This number is expected to increase by approximately one million veterans over the next five years as the wars in the Middle East continue to wind down.
“The men and women who have served and sacrificed for our nation deserve a square deal in the job market,” said Disabled American Veterans National Commander Donald L. Samuels.
The President also launched several programs that will make it easier for veterans to gain employment in the private sector. They include:
Veteran Gold Card: Effective today, Post-9/11 veterans will be able to download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor tolaunch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.
My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.
Creating a Veterans Job Bank: Starting Monday, the Administration will launch the Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Job Bank.
This week marks Veteran’s Day and American workers and children will get a day off for reflection. “Standing up for our veterans is not a Democratic responsibility or a Republican responsibility, it is an American responsibility,” Obama finished.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (BATFE/ATF) “gun walking” scandal has captured the mainstream media’s attention; the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) response for added gun regulation is going over like a straw purchase.
As witnessed last week, the Department of Justice issued some harsh medicine for firearm dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. These dealers will soon be required to report multiple sales of long guns.
Washington’s political posturing with ATF centers on the government-gone-wild approach, as in the “Fast and Furious” program that allowed guns to cross the border and into the hands of Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels. The reckless “Fast and Furious” program has left lawful firearm dealers scratching their collective heads and many rank-and-file ATF agents seething.
Congressional leaders investigating “Fast and Furious” have swiftly criticized DOJ’s handling of the program. Republican leaders say U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is trying to divert the “Fast and Furious” investigation by punishing Federal Firearms Licensees who operate in southwestern states. The plan President Obama and DOJ have cooked up targets some southwestern dealers and forced them to report multiple long-gun sales.
“The Judiciary Committee has primary jurisdiction over policy related to the Justice Department,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We’ve learned from our investigation of ‘Fast and Furious’ that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known-straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions,” Grassley explained.
In fact, documents obtained by Senator Grassley about BATFE’s “Fast and Furious” showed at least 150 long guns were reported in real time by law-abiding firearm dealers. Keeping that in mind, ATF leaders in D.C. watched (on closed circuit TV) the firearms transferred from known-straw purchasers (people who buy guns for those who cannot legally buy firearms) to third parties. The result of ATF’s rogue program put guns into the hands of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), which have lead to countless slayings in Mexico as well as complicity in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December of 2010.
“This (data) makes it pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements. The administration’s overreach with regulations continues, and is an (attempted) distraction from its reckless policy to allow guns to walk into Mexico,” Grassley said.
Department of Justice new overreaching firearm laws
Last week, the Justice Department announced it will move forward with a new reporting system despite its lack of authority to create legislation without Congress.
According to the National Rifle Association, a reporting procedure was proposed implemented last fall was an “emergency” measure by ATF. The new procedure specifically called for all the firearm retailers in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to report multiple long-gun sales.
The flawed program would force dealers to report law-abiding citizens who buy two long guns within five days. “For example, a dealer would have to tell the government every time a deer hunter in Sacramento or Amarillo finds a good deal on a pair of semi-automatic .30-06s like the popular Remington 7400,” the NRA explains.
Nevertheless, a DOJ statement from, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said; this new reporting measure “will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations.”
However, dealers contend the flood of new paperwork (ATF estimates 18,000 reports a year) would cost the agency and firearm dealers more money and labor as well as squander already limited resources that could focus on legitimate investigations.
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The NRA also points out that the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Fast and Furious” program encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell thousands of guns to suspicious buyers, despite documented objections from dealers and ATF agents alike.
“The (Obama) administration knowingly and intentionally allowed guns to be trafficked into Mexico,” said Lamar Smith (R-TX). The Texas lawmaker explained that “Limiting the Second Amendment rights’ of law-abiding citizens is not going to solve the problem…this is the height of hypocrisy.”
Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced S 570 a bill that would also “prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.”
The Obama Administration’s approach is to skirt Congress by issuing regulations by “executive order” will only result in multiple legal actions from the NRA, Second Amendment advocates as well as the California Association of Firearms Retailers (CAFR).
A spokesman for the CAFR posed the following question; “What part of federal law is so difficult for this administration to understand? Federal law applies to all states not just a select few. It may very well be the ATF ‘fast and furious’ program that has placed more firearms in the hands of (Mexican) criminals than any one legitimate firearm retailer in any state targeted by the DOJ proposal.”
Dealers and citizens contend Mexico needs to be held accountable for its own actions regarding firearm purchases and importation.
“The $40 billion transnational criminal enterprises don’t fill out paperwork and are not deterred by paperwork violations,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director. “This is a blatant effort by the Obama administration and ATF to divert the focus of Congress and the general public from their gross incompetence in the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal. This scheme will unjustly burden law abiding retailers in Border States. It will not affect drug cartels and it won’t prevent violence along our borders.”
The NRA and other Second Amendment organizations are preparing for the lawsuit and will file the moment “demand letters” are received from ATF or DOJ.
Next a report of Senator Feinstein’s efforts to limit guns…
Taking a serious look at the unique problems America faces with our southern neighbor is critical if the U.S. wants to gain the upper hand with narco-traffickers. Last month, to no one’s surprise, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) issued a report that AG Eric Holder and President Obama have taken seriously. (Feinstein report here)
Included in the Senator’s firearm assessment are;
– Enactment of legislation to close gun show loopholes regarding background checks.
– Better enforcement of existing bans of military-style imports.
– Reinstatement of Assault Weapons Ban.
– Federal Firearms Licenses required for multiple long-gun sales.
– Senate ratification of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other related materials (CIFTA).
The Obama Administration has already begun implementing Senator Feinstein’s wish list much to the dismay of firearm retailers.
Stay tuned for more updates on the ATF scandal…
© Copyright 2011Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com ATF’s ‘fast and furious’ pushes DOJ to skirt Congress to crack down on gun sales – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/atf-s-fast-and-furious-pushes-doj-to-skirt-congress-to-crack-down-on-gun-sales#ixzz1STldDbk5
In an Oval Office meeting, President Obama met with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and U.S. Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Luis Gutierrez. During the inner-circle pow-wow the President reiterated his commitment for reaching across the aisle and bringing Republicans together and passing comprehensive immigration legislation.
Obama said in a statement from the White House that the “reform must provide lasting and dedicated resources for border security, while also requiring accountability from both individuals in the U.S. illegally and unscrupulous employers who game the system for their own economic advantage.”
The President also expressed his support for the DREAM Act that Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s has attached to a defense spending bill. During the meeting Obama said he looked forward to signing the DRWAM Act into law. During the President’s tenure in the Senate he cosponsored the DREAM Act as a stand alone piece of legislation.
“The President noted that it is time to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents, especially when those youth grew up in America and want to serve this country in the military or pursue a higher education they have earned through academic excellence,” the statement read.
Technically 35-year-old people are not considered children and the current language in the DREAM Act would grant a form of amnesty to more than two million illegal aliens who meet the bill’s requirements.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) discussed with the president his ideas for a comprehensive immigration reform bill he plans to bring up in a few weeks. “The President told Senator Menendez that he looks forward to reviewing the bill, noting that he strongly supported the proposal that Senate Democrats outlined earlier this year. The President reiterated that the strength of that proposal was that it was based on the bipartisan framework developed by Senators Schumer and Graham.”
However, after a breakdown in communications and bitter partisan tactics used during the health care debate and the failed stimulus package negotiations the Democrats in the upper and lower houses may have lost any chance of a bipartisan immigration bill. It appears that with less than two months until the heated midterm elections, the president’s partisan politics over the past month will come back to haunt him as Republicans have voiced their unison support for not passing comprehensive immigration reform.
Meanwhile at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala dinner the president wanted those in attendance to understand; “I will not walk away from this fight. My commitment is getting this done as soon as we can. We can’t keep kicking this challenge down the road.”
The president also wanted Hispanics to remember something on November 2; “Don’t forget who is standing with you, and who is standing against you. Don’t ever believe that this election coming up doesn’t matter. … Don’t forget who your friends are.”
Those are dramatic words coming from the president who stands to lose both houses in November.
It is unclear if the Democrats in the House and Senate have the votes necessary to withstand a filibuster.
However after the Oval Office meeting Rep. Gutierrez says they have 218 votes to get the job done
“I think the White House, the Democrats, and the allies that support serious immigration reform are going on offense and the President is our quarterback,” Gutierrez said. “I have been pushing hard to get us all pointing in the same direction on this issue and now with the White House standing with us and the Senate poised to act, I think we are seeing that effort begin to bear fruit. There are at least 218 votes in the House to pass the DREAM Act. The House is ready to act. We call on the Senate to pass the bill.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is in the fight for his political life said on Tuesday “that there would be a clean up or down vote on the DREAM Act in the Senate as part of the Defense Department reauthorization bill in the coming week or two.”
Another topic of discussion at the White House included the 400,000 deportations taking place this year and the Democratic lawmakers encouraged the president to concentrate on only serious violent criminals because they felt deportations were tearing families apart.
“This was a big day, a big week and the next couple of weeks will be a turning point for immigration reform,” Rep. Gutierrez said. “We know the clock is ticking, we know Republicans are being pressured to say ‘no’ to everything – including sensible Democratic solutions that solve big national problems – but we also know the country wants and needs a secure, legal, and fair immigration system that protects and serves the American people and strengthens the economy. Getting a vote on the DREAM Act is a step in that process that could help a lot of very talented young people achieve their American Dream.”
Former presidential candidate and current Arizona Senator John McCain said in an interview with Greta Van Susteren, that he objected to the DREAM Act being placed in a war-spending bill. “It may have merits or demerits depending on how you look at it. But to put it on a defense bill? And so it’s really his effort to get re-elected,” he said. “And he’s doing that at the expense of this legislation, which is about the men and women who are serving in the military. It’s really remarkable.”
Agreeing with embattled Senator McCain was Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX). “The American people want immediate border security and meaningful reform, not amnesty. They are sick and tired of the backroom deals and scheming in Washington – and that’s exactly what this is. Attaching this non-related bill to the Defense Appropriations bill is the oldest trick in the book. If you can’t pass it on its own, then attach it to something that will. This is an insult to democracy and the American public will not be fooled. Bring the bill before Congress as a stand-alone bill and let’s debate it. This issue is too important to be playing procedural tricks.”
One thing is certain the “summer of recovery” fell flat and the American people are voicing their concerns at the ballot box. Incumbent has become a scarlet letter and politicians who have spent decades in Washington are being show the door. The cynicism that plays out in both houses of the legislative body has finally met its match- the American voter.
With 46 days until the midterm election one thing is certain- career politicians beware.