Washington, D.C. – BringOurTroopsHome.US, a national right-of-center group of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans, in a letter Wednesday urged Republican Congressional candidates to disavow any endorsement or contributions from Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., because of Cheney’s obstruction of President Donald Trump’s attempts to withdraw the U.S. from involvement in nearly two-decade old wars in the Middle East.
“I am writing you with a warning and a plea,” former Idaho Army National Guard Sgt. Dan McKnight wrote GOP candidates. “Your campaign for Congress may be approached by or may already have been endorsed by Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject any such endorsement. And if you have already received such backing, I urge that you immediately and publicly renounce it and return any funds she may have sent you.”
McKnight also urged GOP candidates, if elected, “to oppose the election of Rep. Cheney to any position of leadership in the Republican caucus. …Her retention of a leadership spot in Congress is an insult to America’s veterans and all who value their 2nd Amendment rights.”
McKnight said Cheney’s opposition to withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other foreign civil wars “put her at odds with the overwhelming majority of Americans, a huge majority of Republicans, and with President Trump.”
McKnight, who was deployed to Afghanistan for eighteen months over a decade ago, accused Cheney of “team(ing) up with Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats to deny President Trump the ability to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan and prevent the redeployment of American forces in Europe away from Germany, a nation that is wealthy enough to pay for its own defense.”
He also attacked Cheney’s support for “red flag” language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would “give government bureaucrats the power to forcibly take firearms away from citizens due to accusations from third parties.”
“By applying this ill-conceived concept to all veterans,” McKnight wrote, “Cheney has relegated veterans to little more than guinea pigs, test subjects in a move to have government remove firearms from the homes of citizens without cause.”
“I understand the pressure you will face from the entrenched forces in Washington, the major corporations that make billions of dollars every year on her endless war stand,” McKnight wrote. “But I also understand that a significant portion of the people in your district do not agree and are adamant that America end the senseless deployment of our sons and daughters around the world while America burns at home.”
McKnight concluded with some advice…
“Be advised that BringOurTroopsHome.US will be informing citizens of your district if you refuse to renounce Rep. Cheney. We will use all available forms of communication to inform the public whether you side with Cheney’s policies of endless war and increasing abrogation of our Bill of Rights. Please renounce any support you may have received from Cheney or her many political entities. Return any funds you may have received, or publicly donate them to a veterans organization of your choice.”
He cited multiple polls indicating support among Republicans 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.
Last October, 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.”
In March of this year, a Tarrance poll of Trump voters in the three swing states that gave him the presidency – Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – found that 86 percent supported the President’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, 62 percent supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and 58 percent supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
McKnight said that poll appeared to validate a 2017 study by Boston University and the University of Minnesota, which concluded that Trump’s pledge as a candidate to end two-decade old wars in the Middle East and bring U.S. troops home was key to his winning those three states, where researchers found “a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.”
As the University of Minnesota reported:
“If just three states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan – had experienced moderately lower casualty rates, each might have switched from red to blue and sent Hillary Clinton to the White House,” say the authors.
After analyzing election data at both the state and county level, the study – Battlefield Casualties and Ballot Box Defeat: Did the Bush-Obama Wars Cost Clinton the White House? – finds that Trump made significant inroads in parts of the country that suffered disproportionately high casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan. These areas tend to be poorer, less educated and more rural parts of the country.
Among the many implications of these findings are what this means for Trump’s foreign policy.
“Trump’s electoral fate in 2020 may well rest on the administration’s approach to the human costs of war,” Shen said. “Politicians from both parties would do well to more directly recognize and address the needs of those communities whose young women and men are making the ultimate sacrifice for the country.”
“Our statistical model suggests that if three states key to Trump’s victory – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – had suffered even a modestly lower casualty rate, all three could have flipped from red to blue and sent Hillary Clinton to the White House,” the study’s authors concluded. “If Trump wants to win again in 2020, his electoral fate may well rest on the administration’s approach to the human costs of war.”
McKnight last month sent a similar letter to current Republican members of Congress, urging them to remove Cheney as a member of GOP House leadership.
“If you follow Chicken Hawk Cheney over the cliff of blocking President Trump’s effort to keep his campaign pledge,” McKnight wrote Republican House members, “and force American troops and taxpayers to continue endlessly bleeding American lives and treasure into the sands of other people’s civil wars in the Middle East, you may squander your party’s longstanding relationship with veterans and military personnel and surrender any chance you may have of regaining control of the House of Representatives or keeping the White House in 2020.”
“Please chuck the Chicken Hawk,” McKnight concluded, “and thank you for your consideration.”
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