Former Senator Larry Pressler Fears Backlash from Presidential Veto Override
A former Senator seems to think Vietnam Veterans could be subject to lawsuits as 9/11 victims gain the right to seek damages while both South Dakota Senators are in favor.
The law would allow the families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot. Senator Mike Rounds was part of the majority and explains why President Obama was against the law.
“(The President) was concerned that if we did that here, other governments might take a more aggressive approach towards either our troops, our dignitaries or individuals working in other countries. They would try to bring claims against them for damages done on their soils.”
Rounds believes the potential liability issues for Americans do not apply because rules of engagement are instituted prior to entering the battlefield.
“We don’t put anybody in another country in harm’s way or place our military members there unless we have a Status of Forces Agreement in effect. Part of that means we have an agreement with that country as to what the limitations are should one of our servicemen injure someone in that country.”
Former Senator Larry Pressler disagrees by saying Vietnam Veterans are not protected by Constitutional Congressional actions because that action was not authorized under the Congressional War Powers Act.
According to Pressler, the legislation must be overturned so that Vietnam Veterans do not spend their final days defending against legal action.
Senator Larry Pressler sent out a press release to fully explain his thoughts which are as follows:
"Congress must pass new legislation to reverse the Obama veto override regarding America suing Saudi Arabia. As a Vietnam combat veteran, I could almost certainly be sued by the Vietnamese government or by a Vietnamese citizen. The Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghan veterans are more protected by Constitutional Congressional actions. We Vietnam veterans will be raw targets if Americans can sue Saudi Arabia. President Obama was absolutely correct, and the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Vietnam Veterans of America, all of which I am a dues paying member, and all the other veteran groups, were asleep at the switch for Vietnam veterans during this veto override. I plead with Congress to revote the veto override before Congress leaves town.
I am a lawyer, and I can assure you that this veto override will open up the opportunity for lawsuits against Americans who served all over the world, but especially the Vietnam War which was not authorized under our Congressional War Powers Act. Vietnam veterans are the forgotten veterans, but they will be the main victims of that unnecessary veto override. The major veteran’s groups such as the American Legion must really speak up (not to mention the sleepy Vietnam veteran’s associations).Many of us old veterans are going to spend our dying days defending lawsuits unless Congress reverses their actions. And the only legal way of doing that would be to introduce a new bill in both houses and pass it by voice vote, so no one has to face the apathetic public with what looks like a vote for Saudi Arabia—and have the president sign it. A voice vote in both houses could be engineered at this stage with very strong public pressure from the veteran’s groups.
What have I been paying my dues to all these veteran’s organizations all these years for? They must really speak up or we will have a serious legal problem, especially Vietnam veterans. We were classified as volunteers and never had a proper war powers solution passed to make us legal.
Vietnam veterans will be sued over the Obama veto override/Saudi Arabia. This will happen unless Congress reverses itself immediately. It can be engineered in this way: all the Veteran’s groups speak up at the state and local levels. When Congress goes home, it would stay in session on a theoretically long quorum call and this would be brought up in both empty chambers in a voice vote. It can and must be done. In my twenty-two years in Congress, I have never seen such populist, xenophobic, fear-filled legislation. On the other hand, we cannot expect members of Congress to make a recorded vote for anything that might be viewed as anti-9/11 victims (who have already gotten over one million dollars)."