I grew up in a military family. My father and uncle served in the Air Force. My father served two tours in the late 1960s in Vietnam and lost many friends during battle. My uncle flew in the Gulf War in 1990. When I was a teenager, I had no concept of war and thought the Gulf War was going to last only a few weeks to a few months. I had no idea that more than 25 years later, we would still be at war in the Middle East.
Now, not only is there tension in the Middle East, but there is a division among citizens of both major political parties in Brevard County and in the country regarding the situation in Iran. Tension stems from years of conflict and talk of war after the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a drone airstrike outside the Baghdad airport.
On social media, allegations, accusations and insults are rampant, people questioning one another’s patriotism in light of what’s happening in the Middle East. The political climate in Brevard and beyond is such that even those of the same party affiliation who disagree might ridicule and discredit each other.
In my opinion, we should protect our borders and stay out of other countries. As a result of war, families and soldiers’ precious lives are destroyed.
I support President Trump’s decision and agree that killing Soleimani, the most powerful military official in Iran, was the right decision. But I do not agree with getting into another “forever war” in the Middle East.
I believe that Congress should have a say in “matters of war and peace” and that they have a say in military and national security issues.
For the record, I love my country, voted for President Trump in 2016 and will vote for him again in 2020. Stating my concerns on the possibilities of yet another protracted war is not criticizing the president, or being unpatriotic. You can support someone on a lot of issues while disagreeing with them on others.
As a teenager, I participated in American Legion Girls State as well as my high school debate team. During these activities, I learned some valuable information and life lessons. Through Girls State, I became knowledgeable of the democratic process and how government operates at the state and national levels.
Participating on the debate team allowed me to be open-minded and to listen carefully during arguments made or evidence used, while having to support, then oppose, the same position 20 minutes later. Even though debate is an adversarial activity, we were able to civilly debate issues which were of a deep moral or philosophical nature.
This past week I have had the opportunity to speak with many people on both sides of the political aisle throughout Brevard County and have observed that many do not believe a war with Iran is a good idea.
For more than 40 years, Iranian dictatorship has waged war against the United States. The Reagan administration listed the Iranian dictatorship as a state sponsor of terrorism. After Reagan left office, Iranians worked and expanded their terrorist network. It’s important to remember the Iranian dictatorship’s war against America is not restricted to the Middle East.
After Sept. 11, President George W. Bush became absorbed by the Iraq War. Then, when Barack Obama was elected president, he had a vision of an American-Iranian relationship which was supposed to stabilize the region.
With all that in mind, I still do not believe there is a benefit from going to war with Iran due to the cost in human lives likely to come from such a war.
It is almost like the game Whack-a-Mole. When does it end? There will always be another terrorist leader or organization. Al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden. Saddam Hussein. ISIS. Taliban. When you get rid of one they reorganize under a different leader or organization — it’s never-ending.
Hopefully, we focus more on protecting our borders and on a path to ending the 40-year war.
Susan Hodgers is president of the Trump Club of Brevard and precinct committeewoman of the Brevard County Republican Executive Committee.
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