Senator Jim Webb of Virginia released a statement following the Republican decision to filibuster his amendment on responsible overseas troop deployment.
Here is the text of his statement:
“Today the Republicans decided to filibuster an amendment that goes straight to the well-being of our troops. I deeply regret this move, which makes it necessary for the amendment to be passed with a minimum of 60 votes instead of 51.
“I would remind my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle that the American people are watching us closely today. They expect us to finally take the sort of positive action that might stabilize the operational environment in which our troops are being sent again and again.
“Americans are tired of the posturing that is giving Congress such a bad reputation. They are tired of the procedural strategies designed to protect politicians from accountability, and to protect this Administration from judgment. They are looking for concrete actions that will protect the well-being of our men and women in uniform.
“The question on this amendment is not whether you support this war or whether you do not. It is not whether you want to wait until July or September to see where one particular set of benchmarks or summaries might be taking us. The question is this: more than four years into ground operations in Iraq, we owe stability, and a reasonable cycle of deployment, to the men and women who are carrying our nation’s burden. That is the question. And that is the purpose of this amendment.”
To download audio of the Senator’s statement, please click here (mp3 file).
For full remarks of Senator Webb’s floor speech today, please visit: www.webb.senate.gov.
Below is a copy of a letter sent to Senator Webb on Tuesday by the President of the Military Officers Association of America on behalf of its 360,000 members.
July 10, 2007
The Honorable James H. Webb, Jr.
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Webb,
On behalf of the 368,000 members of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), I am writing to express MOAA’s support for your amendment that would support our military men and women by establishing standards for dwell time between consecutive operational deployments.
Even before September 11, 2001, our military leaders indicated that members and families of all services were stretched thin in meeting deployments requirements. The subsequent exponential growth of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, compounded be reluctance to grow our forces to meet requirements of an acknowledged “long war,” has placed extreme stress on active duty, Guard and Reserve forces alike.
MOAA is very concerned that steps must be taken to protect our most precious military asset – the all-volunteer force – from having to bear such a disproportionate share of national wartimes sacrifice. If we are not better stewards of our troops and their families in the future than we have been in the recent past, MOAA believes strongly that we will be putting the all-volunteer force at unacceptable risk.
Your amendment makes provision for exceptions in national emergencies, recognizing that national safety must come first. But it establishes an important principle that a primary requirement for sustaining long-term readiness is a national commitment to sustaining military forces at levels sufficient to provide a reasonable rotation base that avoids imposing unacceptable burdens of national sacrifice on too small a force.
MOAA applauds your efforts to focus national attention on this fundamental principle of fairness to the members and families of the military community who already have stretched themselves beyond any reasonable standard in protecting our Nation’s interests.
Norbert R. Ryan, Jr. USN (Ret.)