BringOurTroopsHome.US, a growing nationwide organization led by Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans, Wednesday applauded Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for forcing the U.S. Senate to vote on an amendment to a coronavirus funding bill that would end U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Dan McKnight of Meridian, Idaho, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and active duty U.S. Army who served eighteen months in Afghanistan with the Idaho Army National Guard, is the founder and chairman of BringOurTroopsHome.US, which has supported President Trump’s efforts to withdraw U.S. troops from war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries.
“Over nearly two decades, we’ve spent $8 trillion on endless wars in the Middle East,” McKnight said. “Now as we face a new enemy that some health experts say could kill over two million Americans, it’s critical that Congress join Sen. Paul and end the crippling drain on our economy of pouring more soldiers’ lives and more trillions of dollars into the sand, as President Trump has said, fighting other people’s civil wars.”
McKnight in a letter Sunday urged President Trump to immediately order all National Guard troops deployed overseas to return home to assist state and local government and public health officials in responding to the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
“Nothing would more strongly demonstrate your commitment to put America first, Mr. President, and to keep your pledge to bring our troops home,” McKnight wrote Trump in a letter mailed and e-mailed Sunday to the White House, “than to take the strong and decisive step of ordering all National Guard troops deployed overseas to immediately return home to help protect Americans from a clear and present danger to our public health, safety, and economy.”
“That’s the job the National Guard is supposed to be doing in times of national emergency, Mr. President,” McKnight wrote, “not be off on the other side of the world and unavailable, as you yourself have said, fighting other people’s civil wars.”
McKnight noted in the letter that remaining National Guard units in six states — Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington — were mobilized last week to support containment and testing activities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and mobilization of additional National Guard units is reportedly expected in other states later this week. However, roughly 20,000 National Guard troops from multiple states are currently deployed overseas and unavailable for that emergency duty here at home.
McKnight pointed to recent public opinion polls, one last year by Politico, which found that 81 percent of Trump voters in 2016 support withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and another by YouGov in January which found that 70 percent of all Americans now agree. (See Politico and YouGov Polling)
“Mr. President, that overwhelming public support for bringing our troops home, especially among your own supporters, was before the current public health and economic crisis descended on our country,” McKnight wrote. “Surely support among the American people now for bringing at least each state’s National Guard troops home would be nearly unanimous, as Americans are witnessing the stark and dire imperative of having them home to help keep our own citizens, borders, neighborhoods, and communities safe.”
McKnight informed Trump that BringOurTroopsHome.US is backing bipartisan “Defend the Guard” legislation — introduced in multiple states — to require that state National Guard units in the future could not be deployed to combat duty overseas unless Congress has first fulfilled its Constitutional responsibility to declare war.
The legislation has been endorsed by Vets for Trump, which describes itself as an arm of the Trump reelection campaign numbering over 400,000 veterans (View Letter).
The West Virginia House of Delegates declined to approve that legislation, but did earlier this month approve a strongly-worded resolution urging the President and Congress to withdraw U.S. troops from the Middle East absent a Congressional declaration of war, and threatening that if the federal government refuses to do so, the state may in the future exercise the right it asserts to reject federal actions they deem unconstitutional, such as by refusing future federal orders to deploy state National Guard units to combat overseas.
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