Troops Home

Approximately 50 people attended a rally at the Idaho Statehouse calling for U.S. troops to return home from the Middle East.

Ingrid Brudenell is afraid that the United States will go to war with Iran, and worries that recent events in the Middle East could kick off an armed conflict without due deliberation by elected representatives.

"I don't think any administration should go to war without permission from Congress," she said.

Tensions are high and the situation has unfolded rapidly after President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of a high-ranking Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, who was killed on Jan. 3; but the evening of Jan. 9, Brudenell was one of approximately 50 people who gathered near the replica of the Liberty Bell at the steps of the Idaho State Capitol to call for the return of American troops from the region.

"We're here to look forward to global peace," said Joe Evans, an independent candidate for Idaho Congressional Seat One, veteran and one of the organizers of the rally. "The peace movement in Idaho is alive and well."

Following the assassination of Soleimani, the U.S. indicated it would send additional troops to the region as a deterrent to blowback from Iran. That blowback came in the form of a rocket attack against the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, which stations American and coalition troops. The latest development is the downing of a Ukrainian airliner, an event which the Pentagon has said was mistakenly shot out of the air by Iran, killing all onboard. 

It's an opportune moment, Evans said, to reevaluate the situation in the Middle East and bring troops home.

"You are not alone in wanting peace," he told the crowd. "Part of supporting troops is to bring them home alive, whole, in one piece."

Nancy Harris, a Democrat who is challenging Sen. Jim Risch for his seat in the upper body of Congress, said "it's time to end this" by recalling U.S. armed services personnel, but if it the conflict continues to escalate, she called for a universal draft to ensure that all Americans bear the burden of war.

"Rich and poor, we can all serve our country," she said. 

Bailey Arendt stood near the back of the demonstration to listen to what speakers had to say. She said she doesn't fully understand the nuances of the issues, but the rhetoric surrounding the issue dismays her.

"It breaks my heart to see pain on either side," she said. "With the way the president has been tweeting about it lately, I just don't think this is the tone we should set."

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