GOSHEN — Speculation about a possible war between the United States and Iran brought out a small group of protesters displaying anti-war posters to drivers passing through central Goshen on Saturday afternoon.
“On Memorial Day weekend, this is my way of honoring the dead and calling for no more war,” said Ellen Kennel.
To her, Memorial Day has a personal meaning.
“Six years ago, on Memorial Day Monday, a child that I called my baby, he was part of my school, was shot and killed in Afghanistan at the age of 22. And it was for no reason,” she said.
The protest by the Elkhart County Courthouse received attention from drivers, some honking or yelling out in support, though some passing by appeared to disagree, one person yelling “War is f------ awesome.”
“We’re protesting because of the slow buildup, the getting out of the nuclear accord with Iran and the slow, steady sanctions against Iran,” said Bruce Bishop. “And the aircraft carrier presence. There’s just a steady escalation of tension and lies like they based the Iraq War on.”
He said he is particularly concerned with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton worsening the relationship between the U.S. and Iran.
In April, Pompeo called on Iran to “behave like a normal country,” when explaining why the U.S. is attempting to bring down Iran’s oil revenue through sanctions.
This month, Bolton issued a statement referring to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” from Iran, leading the U.S. to send the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East.
Those moves were not popular with the protesters.
“We’re trying to strangle Iran economically with ultimate sanctions, and so we’re pushing them into a situation where conflict might be possible,” said Bishop.
The protesters looked to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as cautionary tales for the current administration.
“Iran is three times the size of Iraq. It has a very strong military, and it would totally destabilize the area. It would mean the death of thousands of thousands of people, and there’s just no reason to go to war with Iran,” said Bishop.
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