Ron hears Iran war concerns from Oregon veterans

Iraq War veterans told Ron about the deaths and physical injuries suffered by their friends in combat -- as well as the depression and troubling veteran suicide rates back home in America, during a June 29 meeting in Portland.

With those casualties in mind, they urged Ron to continue standing up against Trump and any reckless rush to war in Iran.

“The decision of going to war with Iran should not be taken lightly and should not be determined by only one individual,’’ said Larisa Bloomstrom, a US Navy veteran of Iraq now studying at Portland State University.

Valdez Bravo, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, spoke of war’s longstanding impacts on veterans -- depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness and suicide.  

“It is our responsibility to those who serve selflessly for our country that we not enter a reckless, misguided war without understanding its true costs. While we cannot go back and undo the conflicts of the past, we can look back and learn from them,” Bravo said. “We must not go to war without congressional approval.”

One of just 23 senators to vote against the Iraq war resolution in 2002, Ron said the painful lessons from that senseless Iraq war are especially relevant today as Trump and his advisers cavalierly boast about possible conflict with Iran.

This morning’s message from Oregon to Washington, DC can be summed up in a sentence,” he said. “Donald Trump must not be allowed to blunder our country -- and a new generation of Americans -- recklessly into war with Iran.”

Ron thanked all the veterans for coming and speaking so frankly about the physical and psychological wounds they suffered.

The senator said their experiences will remain foremost in his mind as the debate continues over America’s Iran policy.

“The vote we had yesterday is not the end of the discussion,” said Ron, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “America is not just going to stand aside and let Donald Trump do anything he wants.

“Veterans here today and in every nook and cranny of America are saying no more unauthorized wars,” he said. “No more setting aside the United States Constitution and giving the president a blank check.”