A stubborn United States Senator from Indiana has halted what would have been the 30th consecutive passing of a U.S. Senate resolution commemorating Greek Independence Day and a Washington DC based lobbying group is asking for community involvement to prevent this from happening.
Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) is using an undemocratic (but legal, according to Senate rules) blocking measure to prevent the passage of the largely ceremonial— yet important Senate Resolution because he was offended by a statement by Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos last month threatening to release millions of illegal immigrants upon Europe.
Efforts are under way by the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, a Washington DC-based lobbying group headed by veteran lobbyist and advocate for Greek national issues Andrew Manatos to encourage people throughout the nation to call Coats’ office and encourage him to lift the hold on the resolution’s passage.
“Senator Dan Coats has no idea what tragedy he could cause America’s men and women of the military with his grandstanding effort today to kill the simple Greek Independence Day Resolution. This resolution is America’s expression, in each of the last 29 years, of gratitude for all the wonderful things Greece has always done for our nation.”
Coats is trying to kill this resolution because of Kammenos’ statement last month.
According to Manatos, “the statement was motivated by the EU’s economic asphyxiation of the people of Greece. It was made out of frustration and anger and was not taken seriously. Among the hundreds of US and other countries’ officials who, unlike Coats, are experts on this matter, none has chosen to conduct themselves like Coats.”
Manatos, in a statement issued by the National Coordinated Effort drew parallels to Greece’s strategic role over the years and that of neighbor Turkey.
“When Americans died because Turkey refused to let us use our military base in Incirlik, Turkey to invade Iraq, Greece came to our rescue with their base at Souda Bay in Crete, Greece. Greece is one of only seven countries in the world that has been our ally in every international conflict in the 20th Century — it has always come to our rescue. In recent years, thousands of our ships and planes and hundreds of thousands of American military men and women involved in the Middle East have desperately needed Greece’s Souda Bay base, that Greece has graciously given it to us.
“If, given the dangerously desperate and volatile economic situation in Greece today, Coats’ grandstanding moves Greece toward doing what virtually all other countries, except for Greece, have done — not always supporting America and its troops — Coats’ legacy will have played a tragic role,” said Manatos.
According to Manatos, Coats offered to lift the ban only after receiving an official statement that this was not the official policy of the Greek government. Greek Ambassador to Washington DC Christos Panagopoulos tried repeatedly to phone Coats’ office to assure him that this was not official Greek government policy.
A stubborn Coats refused to take Panagopoulos’ calls, asking instead for an official statement in writing from the government— something impossible to obtain, according to Panagopoulos, given the time difference and the fact that Greek government offices were already closed when Coats made the abnormal request, since Ambassadors are considered representatives of a foreign nation and Panagopoulos could certainly speak on behalf of his government.
The National Coordinated Effort statement encouraged people across the nation to call the Senator’s office in Washington DC.
“Please call – don’t email because it will get lost among the over 25,000 emails US Senators receive each week -Senator Dan Coats’ office at 202-224-5623 and urge him to chose America’s interests and release the Greek Independence Day Resolution.”