It is with profound grief that we mourn the loss of three U.S. service members, Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, at Tower 22 in Jordan over the weekend. We also send healing and supportive thoughts to the more than 40 injured by this strike. Each of these service members has an entire network of family and friends back home, and this tragic attack has permanently altered their lives. As fellow military families, our SFI community aches with them all, and we stand ready to support in whatever ways we can.
In the face of this senseless violence, our thoughts immediately pivot to “What comes next?” U.S. officials are currently faced with choices that have the potential to impact generations of American service families. And so, as direct stakeholders in these decisions, we want to make clear what next steps should and should not entail.
First: the U.S. must not provoke a war with Iran.
So far, the U.S. has concentrated its military actions toward the specific parties that have been responsible for attacks against U.S. personnel and interests, such as the Houthis’ attacks in the Red Sea. It is paramount that this restraint continues. A military conflict with the nation state of Iran would be tremendously costly to our community. Based on how Iran has positioned itself on the global stage, we have no reason to believe such a military conflict would effectively accomplish the stated goal of deterrence, let alone pave a clear path to victory.
We urge lawmakers on Capitol Hill to cease their warmongering rhetoric immediately. If the U.S. attacks Iran directly, this will only spur us toward another endless war, not deter one.
Second: the U.S. must do everything it can to bring about an enduring peace in Gaza, including an agreement to end all military action.
Violent attacks against U.S. personnel in the Middle East will continue as long as there is continued violence in Gaza. It is incumbent upon this Administration to do everything it can to create the conditions for peacemaking to succeed, to include an immediate stop to the fighting and restoration of humanitarian resources. Until then, every loved one of ours in uniform will continue serving with a target on their back.
On October 20th, SFI publicly urged U.S. government officials to minimize preventable risks to our loved ones, and to insist on just and measurable rationales for any military operations that our service members might be called to support. That clearly has not happened. Israel’s military operations in Gaza have not brought about the stated goals of complete Israeli hostage release, nor the elimination of terrorist threats in the area. Meanwhile, the fighting has brought about appalling harm against civilians, and a spiral of retaliatory violence across the region. Indeed, more than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, and more than 62,000 injured. It is the U.S.’ responsibility as allies to be clear-eyed about these failures and insist upon a much-needed change in course.
In closing, we want to recognize all the service members and families who are being called upon to serve in this moment. The call to duty is heavy and comes with grave risks. One may serve proudly, but the fears are real. From the brand-new recruit gearing up for her first deployment, to the “seasoned” military spouse saying good-bye to his loved one for the ump-teenth time – we see you. We feel your fear, and we demand that these decisions not be made recklessly. You are not alone.