Will Mike Coffman Apologize to Governor Bill Ritter for Questioning his Patriotism?

When Governor Bill Ritter signed a bipartisan bill last year to put the brakes on the Army’s use of eminent domain to steal ranch land from Coloradans and turn it into a mini-Afghanistan right in the middle of our square state, Mike Coffman fired off an official press release calling the governor a terrorist sympathizer.

Last week, Mike Coffman spanked young Josh Penry for pandering to eastern plains farmers and ranchers, and then took another shot at Governor Ritter:

[It] is obvious by the actions of Penry, who co-sponsored HB 1317, and Gov. Bill Ritter, who signed it into law, that both made their decision on the basis of a political calculation without any regard for the men and women in uniform who serve this nation in defense of our freedom. [TW Emphasis]

In the ensuing time, Dick Wadhams apparently tossed some cold water on Coffman. He’s now groveling to Penry for being a rage-aholic:

Having been responsible for the lives of subordinate Marines in combat, this need strikes an emotional chord with me.

However, I made the classic mistake of a combat veteran, confusing those emotions with the motives of others who may differ on military matters but who care as deeply as I do about the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. For that, I apologize to Josh Penry.

Coffman credits a letter from State Sen. Ken Kester for setting him straight. But Kester didn’t ask Coffman to apologize to Penry:

I certainly don’t expect Coffman to apologize to me or any of my colleagues in the Senate that he so gratuitously insulted in his op-ed, but he most certainly owes an apology to the many men and women of southeast Colorado who have honorably served our country in defense of our rights and freedoms – including the right to private property.

So where’s that apology to the troops, Mike Coffman? And how about the Commander in Chief of the Colorado National Guard, Governor Bill Ritter?

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Barron X says:


    For the second time today, someone with front page rights writes a diary, then writes a headline contradicted by the actual facts in their diary.  

    Coffman, as the quote shows, didn’t question Ritter’s patriotism.

    He accurately noted that the Guv pandered to some residents in SE Colorado who want to DENY property rights to any of their neighbors who might otherwise be, or might otherwise become, a willing seller of their property to the Army.

    On the surface, the Guv’s action only prevented the Army from acquiring state-owned land, land needed for training.  On the surface, Ritter only ordered the State to impair the Army’s readiness, not private citizens.

    But this action had broader implications, signaling support for those people campaigning to deny property rights of their neighbors who want to or might in the future want to sell.  

    He accurately noted that that action would make soldiers and Marines less able to prepare for the kind of warfare that the military expects to face in the future.  

    So it isn’t that the Guv, and those anti-PCMS expansion activists, aren’t patriotic.  They probably love the USA and the Constitution as much as Ward Churchill, John Caldera, or other notable Colorado patriots.  

    They just want soldiers to go battle less prepared, so that they don’t have to put up with military convoys using the roads in their area (which were built with federal funds.)


    Eminent domain and condemnation have never been on the table.  The Army has said so.  They only want to be able to purchase land from willing sellers.  

    Ritter threw his support to those who want to deny the right of their neighbors to sell their land to the Army.  


    The discussion of whether or not more land is needed has been attempted at this site several times.  One poster who has more current knowledge than me of fire and maneuver at the tactical level, SSG Dan, disagrees with me completely.  I don’t want to dredge the argument up and get my rear end kicked again, but I am not persuaded by his arguments.  


    So the question remains:

    should Congressman Coffman apologize for accurately characterizing the Guv’s action as pandering to voters in SE Colorado who want to deny the property rights of their neighbors, when he (the Guv) knew full well that such action would impair the combat readiness of our military?

    That’s a real tough one.


      • Barron X says:


        The waste must be cut.  But we shouldn’t skimp when it comes to having a trained and capable Army.  

        It isn’t fair to soldiers to send them into asymmetric warfare without adequate preparation.  


    • Canines says:

      I think [Ritter] would be more sympathetic if the U.S. Army were to declare itself a terrorist organization – since he is going out of his way to block the Army while at the same time laying out a welcome mat to house terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.”

    • RedGreen says:

      the actual facts cited in the diary do, indeed, back up the headline. Sorry, Barron, but that’s exactly what Coffman did in his blast in June:

      I think he would be more sympathetic if the U.S. Army were to declare itself a terrorist organization – since he is going out of his way to block the Army while at the same time laying out a welcome mat to house terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.”

    • Ray Springfield says:

      The miitary exists to protect the people, not for the people to be subjugated by the military. Many places exist to train in this world.

      A belief in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States constitutes patriotism.

      • Barron X says:



        I don’t see where I suggested otherwise.

        But the Army has been good to me, and I value the institution highly.  That’s why I am so sensitive to the damage caused by employing Mercenaries, or by promoting politicians like Petraeus.  

        I have been in well-disciplined units, and I have been in one undisciplined unit.  I think the undisciplined unit could have been defeated by well-led Girl Scouts.  

        I think training is extremely important.  

        You are just wrong, Ray, about there being plenty of places to train.  

        You are free to express your strong disagreement all you want, but you have no relevant credibility on this topic.


    • SSG_Dan says:

      …we disagree on this based on experiences. I’ve trained at PCMS as an Infantryman, but I’ve also deployed Brigades and Divisions to training and action in GW1 when I was at III Corps as part of the G3 TacOps staff.

      My point has always been this – just adding real estate to PCMS hodge-podge will never make it an effecting training site. At least not more effective than the National Training Center at Fort Irwin or the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.

      In addition to the real estate, you’d have to add a tenant Opposing Forces Unit (OPFOR), digital infrastructure to support MILES gear (the Military’s Laser Tag System) and fake cities and other terrain features to fight over.

      Not counting having extra extra real estate to let people do live-fire exercises. A rancher next to that is not going to be happy if a MLRS Rocket ends up landing on his pasture…or if a flight of F16’s is always passing overheard at 4am.

      So if the Army isn’t going to add the rest of the infrastructure to train units properly, why bother buying the land in the first place?

      And if that’s the case, then the Guv and others in the GOP are right to oppose the expansion.

      As far as Coffman’s passive-aggressive “You hate the Troops” shtick, I’m getting tired of it. Apparently other people in his Party are as well….

      And I’m proud to know Barron X as a fellow terrorist sympathizer!!!

  2. Sir Robin says:

    is the army, with all that entails, yes…..neighbors may want to deny rights of neighbors to sell to the army.

    WE need to reduce our military expenditures by 50% NOW, and get out of the foreign empire building business.

    What we don’t need is more army training grounds in CO. The military is now in over 68 countries! Empire is always brought down by hubris, and overextending resources.

    Have you checked recently, Barron, how much America is in debt? Look here:


    Read about the military’s overextension here:


    • Barron X says:


      I don’t see a connection to US national security.  We could leave Iraq tomorrow.  I don’t support precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan, but we could be out of there in a year.  

      Thanks for being honest about your opposition to the Army being able to purchase land from willing sellers.  The PCMS opposition is not so forthright.  And I understand part of why you would say that.  

      I don’t think I ‘m qualified to assess the Army’s need for training grounds.  I’m aware of the largest of the training areas now available, and according to the Army, none of them, including Fort Irwin and Fort Polk, are big enough to train the way we are fighting today in Afghanistan.  

      I support withdrawing most troops stationed overseas.  We ought to have military attaches at embassies and consulates.  

      Temporary missions, from the Sahel to Philippines, if at the invitation of a sovereign nation, are OK.  But the permanent basing undermines the same governments they are intended to support.  

      I provided the graphics on pages 155, 378 and others in the DoD Global Strategic Assessment 2009


      so I’m aware of some of the numbers.  

      Deployments don’t seem to be closely related to threats.  

      I don’t know if 50% is the right number.  

      The Secretary of Defense could work up a budget based on US security needs.  Problem is, there’s so much stuff like corporate welfare, breast cancer research, foreign aid and payola earmarks in the budget that an ordinary person like me doesn’t understand many items in the DoD budget.  

      We spend way too much on nuke weapons, nuke labs, missile defense, and advanced tactical aircraft, when we consider the threats we might face in the next 20 years.  

      NASA, an outgrowth of excessive Defense spending, doesn’t appear to have a mission anymore, but they aren’t laying people off.

      We’ve spent $80 Billion on building a missile defense system in Alaska that we know doesn’t work.  It has 2 purposes: win votes for Ted Stevens, and make North Korea invest more in missile research.  How is either of those a legit use of appropriated funds ?

      I suspect we spend too much on space-based weapons, but since any such weapons would be illegal, there’s no way of knowing how much we spend on them.  

      But before we make drastic cuts, I think we need to find a way to depoliticize our Intelligence Community.  The CIA didn’t get the WMD stuff in Iraq wrong; they got it right at the level of analysts and interpreters.  But when that information went to politicians like George Tenet and Jane Harman, they lied about what the CIA told them, and pushed for the war against brown-skinned people.  We will always have politicians willing to sell out US national security if they can make money off of it.  

      For the most part, we’ve got the politics out of the military.  Now we need to get it out of Intelligence.  When Bush nominated John Negroponte to be the first DNI, it was an attempt to consolidate GOP control over the entire Intelligence Community.

      Only when the political hacks are moved out of positions where they can manipulate intel for political gain will we know what we can safely cut out of the DoD budget.  It’s not clear that de-politicizing intel is a priority with the Obama Administration.    


      • Sir Robin says:

        We seem to be in agreement in many areas.

      • ajb says:

        for the thoughtful responses.

        Here’s my question:

        If we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan or similar wars, then why should we devote so many resources preparing for them? In other words, if we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan, why build a mini-Afghan training ground?

        • Barron X says:


          thinking you won’t be satisfied with, “I don’t know,” I’ll make something up.  

          I don’t want us in Iraq because we invaded for illegit reasons.

          We had good reason to invade Afghanistan, but we should have achieved our goals and pulled out years ago.  The idea of turning a puppet we appointed, President Karzai, into a good leader who enjoys the support of the Afghan people,

          that mission is better suited to Tom Cruise and the IMF.  

          That mission is certainly beyond the capabilities of our military, and they know it.  But they are the military, and they do follow orders, even when ordered to do something that they are incapable of achieving.  

          Maybe there is a scenario that involves helping the Pakistani government fend off an insurrection ?


          • SSG_Dan says:

            If we follow basic Army Doctrine, then we need to train like we fight. PCMS does not even remotely resemble AFPAK. Camp Hale does (except for all the trees and water.)

            If we’re going to practice storming Islamabad to throw out the militants, then we should be using NTC instead of a half-ass training area in Southern Colorado.

            (BTW, Non-snark question – did you ever do a rotation at NTC?)

  3. TaxCheatGeithner says:

    Smart move, Congressman Coffman.  What say you, Scott McInnis and Frances Owens?

    Typical Sleazy Owens Politics

  4. greality says:

    is that he broke Reagan’s 11th commandment. I wouldn’t hold your breath for an apology to the troops or the governor.

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