Barbara Boxer, a U.S. Senator for California, elected as a Democrat, is apparently struggling with the concept “federal” and with her own role as a senator who sits on the Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism, the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, and the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Narcotics Affairs. In response to a detailed complaint about mismanagement and misconduct within the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System, from one of her own constituents who served in HTS, Boxer’s response was simply: get a lawyer. Boxer’s office promised a list of recommended legal services, which was not attached. With the Congressionally-mandated review and inquiry into the Human Terrain System, dozens of reports of HTS wrongdoing, and given the fact that Californians in HTS make up a significant component of HTS, it is surprising that a leading light in the U.S. Senate should play at being clueless when it comes to a federally-funded entity. One former HTS trainee indicated to me that Californian employees outnumbered those of any other state. Moreover, Fort Irwin, California, near Barstow, is a major training site at which HTS personnel train. To be clear: we are dealing with a federal entity that operates in Boxer’s senatorial jurisdiction, an entity currently under investigation for its many problems, and Boxer’s office thinks her constituents’ recourse can only be found by contacting the California State Bar Lawyer Referral Service or the Local Legal Aid Society. In other words, she has no interest whatsoever in even taking a second look at what is happening in HTS–not her responsibility. Amazing that Barbara Boxer would take this position in the very year that she goes up for re-election.
Boxer certainly seems to be wholly unaware of Congress’ recent mandate that the Human Terrain System be investigated, and why it should be of interest to her. While not a member of an Armed Services Committee, Boxer’s portfolio, as mentioned above, includes areas of direct relevance. That she should dismiss a complaint from a constituent, also indicates the nature of her politics and her sense of responsibility toward the citizens who elected her. Perhaps they will reconsider, and elect a senator who at least understands the meaning of “federal.”