The following is an editorial from the Mankato Free Press.
We stand with the Veterans of Foreign Wars in their recent front-line attack on U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville to release holds on military officer promotions that the group says threatens national security and has the strong backing of its 1.5 million members.
On Monday, the veterans’ organization sent a letter to Tuberville calling on him to release the holds.
“The line in the sand for the VFW is simple: Political disputes must be handled by politicians — not within the ranks of the all-volunteer force. Sen. Tuberville’s hold on these routine promotions has consequences up and down the active-duty force that will take years to fix,” wrote Duane Sarmiento, VFW’s national commander. “By sending this letter, the VFW is making our voice very clear — this is not the way Congress should do business.”
Tuberville finally advanced a vote Thursday on Gen. Eric Smith to be the Marine commandant and the Senate voted 96-0 in favor. Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then put up votes on the two other leaders including Gen. Randy George as Army chief of staff and it approved Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown as the next Joint Chiefs chair on Wednesday.
Tuberville’s holds had left the Army, Navy and Marine Corp. with no confirmed top leaders, including a hold on the first female admiral of the Navy. Hundreds of other lower-level office positions have not been filled.
“At a time of military recruiting challenges, the instability caused by this hold will have far-reaching consequences for the brave Americans who volunteer to serve in today’s military and those who may consider future military service,” the VFW said in its letter.
Tuberville is using the Senate rule that allows any one member to hold up the promotions. He said he is holding up the promotions to challenge a policy that supports service members traveling to other states to seek reproductive health care, including abortions. He has said he will release his holds if the Defense Department changes the policy.
The VFW sees the dispute as one that uses service members as political pawns. VFW Washington Office Executive Director Ryan Gallucci said in response to questions: “Can politicians use uniformed service members and military families as leverage in political disputes? … the VFW says no.”
Signs with photos of those military officers falling victim to the Tuberville hold were placed outside the Senate Tuesday, where Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke.
“I literally cannot believe that Tommy Tuberville is still doing this. I hope that he comes out of that building and sees these 300 signs that are in front of us right now because every single picture, every single name, every single title represents someone who has decided to put their life on the line for our country,” she said, according to a report in the Ohio Capital Journal.
Tuberville continued to insist he has support from thousands of military members across the country, but the VFW says its members have voted overwhelming that the holds harm soldiers.
“The world is still a dangerous place and brave Americans remain stationed around the world, intent on keeping these dangers far from our shores. This is why the VFW is calling on you to stop this dangerous game,” said Gallucci in the letter. “Games may belong on the football field, but not in halls of the U.S. Senate.”
But the only likely charge to an entrenched enemy in war is a multitude force that overwhelms. That is what is needed now to stop Tuberville’s national security threatening actions. We urge Americans to write their members of Congress and say they stand behind the VFW.