Release – Veterans praise Cawthorn stand against “military industrial complex”

November 18, 2020
 Veterans praise Cawthorn stand against “military industrial complex”
Youngest new Congressman urged to oppose Cheney leadership

BringOurTroopsHome.US, a national right-of-center group of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans and allies, Wednesday praised Congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, for expressing opposition to excessive U.S. military involvement abroad in recent decades and urged him to oppose any attempt by House Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., to remain in a GOP House leadership position.

Sgt. Dan McKnight, the group’s founder who served in Afghanistan with the Idaho Army National Guard, agreed with Cawthorn’s comments reported in Monday’s issue of Jewish Insider.

“Congressman-elect Cawthorn is recognized nationally as a leader for a new generation of Americans going to Washington who can’t remember a time when America wasn’t at war,” McKnight said. “We want him to know that Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans and allies across the nation appreciate his resolve, and we’ll have his six as he carries the fight to Congress to end America’s continued involvement in endless foreign wars.”

Cawthorn told Jewish Insider he believes “our foreign policy positions have just been terrible for the last few decades. You know, we’re wasting our money, wasting our blood, wasting our resources. I think we just need to be more shrewd with our foreign policy positions.” (Read full article HERE)  

“I think the military industrial complex is a thing, and I think that, you know, all life is precious,” said Cawthorn, who had planned a career in the U.S. Navy and was nominated to attend the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis before a 2014 traffic accident at age 19 left him paralyzed below the waist. “When we say, you know, walk around carrying a big stick, speak softly and carry a big stick, we’ve forgotten what it meant to speak softly. If we dug more wells instead of launched more warheads, I think the world would be a much safer place right now, and it would be cheaper.”

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. John Letterman of Granite Falls, 51, served in the Army from 1987-2009, including 38 months overseas, and attended a BringOurTroopsHome.US conference in Washington, D.C. a year ago. He said the group gives veterans a political voice and a way to support their active duty comrades. “This is a group that is of soldier and for soldier. It gives the ones who have come home an option for continued service to military families and active soldiers.”

“We were excited to read Madison’s comments wary of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about, which has profited from sending young Americans to fight in endless trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East,” Letterman said.

Letterman said one of the first ways Cawthorn can put his convictions into action will be among the first votes he’ll cast as a new member of Congress, electing leaders of the House Republican caucus. “Obviously, we urge him not to vote for Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who’s been a mouthpiece for the military industrial complex and one of the biggest roadblocks in Congress to President Trump’s efforts to bring our troops home from endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Letterman said BringOurTroopsHome.US is not an anti-war movement, and its members do not object to military force on principle. “This is not an anti-war protest,” he said. “It’s a movement that believes that some of the policy decisions in the Middle East have led to money, time, and lives not being well-spent.”

Letterman pointed not only to Cheney’s obstruction of President Trump’s attempts to withdraw U.S. troops from involvement in nearly two-decade old wars in the Middle East, but also her support of legislation implementing so-called “red flag” policies that would allow veterans to be denied their 2nd Amendment rights.

“I know Madison ran and was elected as a strong defender of our 2nd Amendment rights, and those rights should not be stripped away from the very people who’ve worn the uniform and sworn an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States for all of us,” Letterman said.

McKnight earlier this year wrote members of the House Republican caucus attacking Cheney’s support for “red flag” language in the National Defense Authorization Act, which he said would “give government bureaucrats the power to forcibly take firearms away from veterans due to accusations from third parties.”

“By applying this ill-conceived concept to veterans,” McKnight wrote, “Cheney supports using veterans as guinea pigs, test subjects in a move to giving the government the power to violate our 2nd Amendment rights and eventually remove firearms from the homes of all Americans without just cause.”

“The first test of Congressman-elect Cawthorn’s convictions will come early,” McKnight said, “in whether he supports giving Liz Cheney a Republican leadership position from which to continue her attacks on veterans’ 2nd Amendment rights and her efforts to keep U.S. troops permanently embroiled in other people’s civil wars in the Middle East. His comments this week give us hope, especially coming from one of the young new Republican leaders in Congress.” 

McKnight said Cawthorn’s comments reflect what multiple polls have indicated over the last two years — strong and growing support among Republicans, military personnel and veterans, and Americans at large for ending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq:

* In April, Concerned Veterans for America released a poll which found that 73 percent of the 1,500 veterans and military families polled supported full and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, where I served for eighteen months in 2005-06.

* In January, YouGov released a poll finding that roughly 70 percent of all Americans surveyed supported withdrawal of U.S. troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq.

* In October 2019, Rasmussen Reports found that 58 percent of likely U.S. voters and 69 percent of Republicans agreed with President Trump’s statement that “it’s time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.”

* In June 2019, Pew Research Center found that 64 percent of veterans and 62 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, while 58 percent of veterans and 59 percent of Americans said the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting.

* In April 2019, Concerned Veterans for America found that 60 percent of veterans and military families supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan – meaning support for that position grew by 13 points from April 2019 to April 2020.

* In January 2019, a Politico poll found that 81 percent of Trump voters supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

* Over Veterans Day in November 2019, a poll by Stars and Stripes magazine found that 84 percent of military service personnel and veterans agreed that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have “been going on too long.”

For more information:
Sgt. Dan McKnight, Boise, Idaho 208-631-0258   
Sgt. John Letterman, Lenoir, N.C. 828-850-1097

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