Eyes Wide Open
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) brought their display of boots, one pair for each National Guard member who has died in the Iraq war, to Cedar Rapids for Freedom Fest, adding a somber note to festivities entirely fitting with the theme. It was touching to meet people who had lost family members, who searched among the nearly 400 pairs of boots for the ones tagged with their loved ones.
I have met people formerly with the Iowa National Guard who quit because of the Iraq war. This is distressing, since we depend on the Guard in times of emergencies. They fill sandbags during floods, they ward off looters, they bring in trucks full of drinking water.
In the announcement of my candidacy, I stated, "Using the National Guard in a war of aggression is an abuse of their purpose and the honorable commitment that the Guard members make to our state. I propose that as a state we create a new organization, tentatively called "Iowa Emergency Response Guard", and transition the Iowa National Guard to this "well regulated militia" as defined in the Bill of Rights, to meet the needs that the Iowa National Guard has so capably filled, but beyond the reach of federal authorities who clearly have abused their authority."