In August of 2014, I attended a town hall meeting held by one of the really nice guys in Congress, my 7th District U.S. Representative, Rob Woodall. At his meetings, Rob usually talks about the budget. He’s a numbers guy. And he will astound you with is knowledge of the U.S. federal budget. Rob has even balanced the U.S. budget on his computer.
But during the time in question, the world was abuzz about ISIS. “ISIS did this. ISIS did that, ISIS…ISIS…ISIS.”
So, uncharacteristically, at this meeting, Rep. Woodall stepped out of his normal comfort zone, the budget, and ventured into mine, geopolitics. Anyone who knows me knows how diligently I work to understand history and world events. That’s just who I am.
And so, at this meeting, Representative Woodall took the time to update the attendees with the very latest ISIS propaganda, right off the presses at the U.S. ministry of truth. The crowd ate it up, sadly. That’s when he made his mistake. They say lawyers are taught never to ask questions they don’t already know the answers to. Well, I don’t know where Rob went to law school, but he violated that principle, inquiring of the veterans in attendance, “What would you do about ISIS?”
A few hands raised, whom Rob called on, each in turn. The responses were as I expected, mostly along the lines of: “I’d bomb ‘em!”
I observed my representative’s thoughtful expressions as he seemed to carefully consider their advice, smiling and nodding in agreement, as if opinions offered during the audience participation portion of the show would in any way impact his foreign policy judgments.
I waited patiently until the veterans had their opportunities to respond. Seeing no more hands, I raised my own. Now, I don’t know if Rob just didn’t see my hand or what. I mean, I was only a few feet away. But the 7th District Representative knew me by then and knew that I rarely stick to a script. Whatever the reason for avoiding my raised hand, eventually sheer persistence forced his recognition.
Handed the talking stick, I let my representative know that although I was not a veteran, I would like to answer the question regarding how to deal with ISIS. I then offered that the way to stop ISIS is to simply stop funding them. I further explained that without funding, ISIS would have no means to buy weapons, supplies, fuel, food and would dry up like a raisin in the sun. That is when I informed my U.S. Rep., as if he didn’t know, that America’s major allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and Qataris, had been funding ISIS and that stopping ISIS would be as simple as imposing economic sanctions against those countries.
The really nice guy was not happy. Turning away, my U.S. representative let the crowd know that he would not dignify such un-American statements with a response. In front of a crowd of 100 or more, my U.S. representative accused me of being un-American. Why? Because I told the truth.
Later that week, I placed the evidence backing my claims into a document, which I still have. I packaged that document onto a DVD and hand-delivered it to Rep. Woodall’s Lawrenceville office. Subsequently, for good measure, I hand-delivered a duplicate to 9th District U.S. Congressman Doug Collins and placed yet another duplicate directly in the hands of Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert, who I met at a Collins fundraiser … as if any of these men didn’t already know…
As fate would have it, the following month I was vindicated when my “un-American” remarks were echoed by America’s highest ranking military officer. During public testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham violated his own legal training, asking Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey the following question: “Do you know any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?” Handed his own talking stick, Admiral Dempsey verified my claims, replying, “I know major Arab allies who fund them.” It is a short leap to recognize which “major Arab allies” Dempsey referred.
Fast forwarding, in February of this year, I trekked to Lawrenceville to confer with Congressman Woodall. Among the items on my list was to ask my representative to co-sponsor HR608, the bipartisan “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” which, as I just checked, he never has. Thankfully, last month, President Trump addressed the Saudis and Qataris in no uncertain terms, dictating that they should no longer fund ISIS. And last week, Trump halted CIA funding ending up in the hands of ISIS. Now it is reported that ISIS is all but finished.
Here’s the bottom line: It is time for all the nice guys in D.C. who remain silent against real un-American U.S. government policies to come home. It is time for real American patriots to stand up and take their places, patriots who will speak loudly against truly un-American policies and pledge to never support them again or conceal them from those they represent.
Hank Sullivan is a Forsyth County resident, businessman, author and speaker on American history, economics and geopolitics.