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Hagedorn dodges question, responsibility

To the editor:

On Jan. 3 of this year, the US Armed Forces launched a drone attack that killed a member of the Iranian military. The attack was carried out by our forces on Iraqi soil without requesting permission or even notifying our erstwhile ally. The target, Major General Soleimani, was not a nice guy. No friend of ours, he was a member of an Iranian military force that helps organize, fund and equip irregular fighters that target Americans and our few friends in that region of the world. Regardless, this action was a dangerous escalation that set some unpleasant precedents that may yet come to bite us. For one thing, it paints a big red target on any member of our government traveling overseas within reach of Iran or its proxies.

But that is not why I brought this matter up on Saturday’s Town Hall meeting here in New Ulm with Rep. Hagedorn. I am concerned at the abandonment of both precedent and statute in the lack of either prior notification or official briefing regarding the military strike. The executive is REQUIRED to properly brief Congress on such actions. The president fatuously stated in a Tweet that, “These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress…” in lieu of the actual, legal obligations. I wanted Rep. Hagedorn to inform us what he believed the House should do to reassert itself over its rights and responsibilities regarding its War Powers. The lack of a meaningful reply by Rep. Hagedorn was disheartening.

Instead of an answer to my question, I was told that General Soleimani was bad, that the strike prevented an imminent attack, and that if Obama had initiated the strike the Democrats of the House wouldn’t have complained at all. That was one obvious irrelevancy, followed by a lie, and finished up with another blatant untruth.

Regarding the “imminent attack” falsehood, when confronted the White House walked back that assertion. President Trump even stated that it, “didn’t matter,” whether any attack was imminent. In actual fact, the assassination was in the works since last June, and finally triggered by the death of an American military contractor on Dec. 27 due to an attack by an Iranian-backed militia. And while it is untrue that Obama failed to properly consult Congress in the Bin Laden assassination, the issue is irrelevant regarding this administration. Congress itself, regardless of party affiliation, needs to assert its rights and responsibilities over THIS president, NOW. And that includes Rep. Hagedorn.

We are Americans, and we believe in the rule of law. And we expect that our law enforcement and our legislators will stand by our laws as well. By standing idly by, by even cheering on an administration that smirks as it flouts our laws and regulations, Rep. Hagedorn is betraying his oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. We are not safer when our Executive Branch acts in a lawless and reckless manner, we are in more danger than ever. I urge Rep. Hagedorn to reconsider his stance, and to work in a bipartisan manner to reassert the rights and responsibilities of Congress in overseeing this Administration.

Jim Bodine

New Ulm

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