Who Has Standing On Military Affairs?

Mariannette Miller-Meeks on the Iowa State Fair Political Soapbox on Aug. 13, 2010. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Republican approach to oversight of our military is curious and ineffective. On the one hand they vehemently criticize the administration’s handling of our country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. On the other, Senator Tom Cotton sponsored legislation ending U.S. funding for Afghan refugees brought here as a result of the withdrawal, something they said they wanted. Cotton was joined by the 49 other Republican senators, yet their measure failed.

Republicans, and some Democrats, don’t think twice about spending $7.7 trillion on the U.S. military over 10 years without scrutinizing details of where the money goes. They reject an audit of the Pentagon. At the same time, Republicans reject the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act which would help everyday Americans at half the price.

Cotton appeared with Second District congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks at her re-election announcement fundraiser in Iowa City. They then co-wrote an op-ed piece for the Des Moines Register in which they laid out their grievances about the Afghanistan withdrawal. It was pure politics in our red state. As far as I’m concerned, Senator Cotton should resign and return to Arkansas to peddle snake oil. Apparently that’s what he might be good at.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks was an ophthalmologist during military service. How does that qualify her to evaluate the Biden administration on military and foreign affairs? It doesn’t.

Unlike Democrats who are held to a higher standard of truth, Miller-Meeks can spew anything that comes to mind without regard to accuracy. If what she says is unhinged from reality, she thought it, asserted it with confidence, and therefore among Republicans it must be right. As a freshman in congress she’s proving to be little more than a parrot for what the moneyed class seeks: destruction of American democracy.

Whatever flaws the administration may have in military and foreign affairs, Joe Biden himself doesn’t have many vulnerabilities going into the midterm elections. First of all, he’s not on the ballot. More importantly, the man got the most votes of any candidate for president ever, 81,268,924 votes and 7,052,770 more than the next closest candidate. Despite the mad raving of pillow merchants and such, it was the most secure election ever. The results are not in doubt.

What galls me about members of congress like Miller-Meeks and Cotton is they have no respect for the authority embodied in the presidency that transcends administrations. We all get it. When they grandstand, it’s to make some political point rather than solve any of our pressing problems.

Neither respects the chain of command in civilian leadership of our military. They daily disrespect the president. Chain of command is a lesson both should have learned while serving in the Army. They assert what they present as factual about the military when the fact is they spin a yarn that ventures from the truth from its beginnings. Life in the military and management of foreign affairs is more complicated than the sawdust laden beef they peddle as hamburger.

A majority of Americans like Biden’s policies. The American Rescue Plan Act, which Miller-Meeks voted against, provided needed relief during the run up to distributing a viable vaccine for the coronavirus. Miller-Meeks did her part to add to quackery about the vaccine, including support for hydroxychloroquine treatment and misstatements about children getting sick with COVID-19.

We need members of congress with a grip on reality. Not those like Miller-Meeks who would say anything that comes to mind without regard for truth and logic. If she wants to opine about military and foreign affairs, that’s her right. She should stop taking talking points from conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, do her own homework and level with the American people.

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