On Tuesday, two political veterans groups, one on the left, the other on the right, announced a new lobbying campaign aimed at ending America's 'forever wars.'
In a video tied to the announcement, Dan Caldwell, the senior adviser to Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative veterans' group, and Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets, a liberal vets group which aims to get former service members into office, laid out their plan for a lobbying campaign aimed at changing policy on how the United States wages war.
Traditionally bitter political rivals, the two groups say they've found common ground in trying to end the myriad conflicts that fall under the Global War on Terror, what are colloquially referred to as America's 'forever wars.'
As Task & Purpose previously reported, the two groups' ultimate goal may be to see those conflicts end, but they say the starting point is to revisit the Post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which allowed for the war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, and has grown to include conflicts with enemies that weren't even in existence at the time the initial authorization was passed — and all with little to no oversight from Congress, which is constitutionally responsible for declaring war.
CVA and VoteVets will hold a United for a Better Foreign Policy event on Wednesday, in Washington, which will include Republican and Democrat lawmakers for a discussion on U.S. foreign policy, and the 2001 AUMF.
"After almost two decades of fighting what is now America's longest war, it is past time we reexamine the status quo," Nate Anderson, the executive director for CVA said in a statement.
"It is clear that politicians in Washington needs a push when it comes to re-balancing war powers and that, unless they get it, these forever wars will continue," Soltz of VoteVets said in the statement. "That's why, even while we disagree on many other issues, we are joining forces on this one. The coalition we've formed, and the combined political strength that we bring, will change the debate and the political dynamic."
An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.