Politics

Iran Deal Has Support From Mothers Who Lost Their Sons In Iraq

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Tea Party Iran Deal ProtesterTea Party Iran Deal Protester

Amidst the protests occurring this week against the Iran nuclear deal, two mothers who lost their sons in Iraq in 2004 are lobbying for the deal to be made.

Karen Meredith of Mountain View, California, and Michelle DeFord of Sumpter, Oregon, are in Washington, D.C., to voice their support of the Iran deal.

"If we had tried diplomacy, perhaps my son would be alive. War is not the answer to everything," Meredith told The Huffington Post.

"That's why God gave us a voice. You're supposed to sit down -- we're not all going to agree, but we should be talking," DeFord added.

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Meredith’s son, Army 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard, 26, died when an unmanned machine gun located on his tank accidentally discharged during combat against the Iranian-backed Mahdi army. DeFord’s son, Sgt. David Johnson, 37, died in a roadside bomb explosion.

Meredith met with Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, who recently announced his opposition to the deal.

Both women met with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry at the White House. They were joined by 10 fellow members of VoteVets -- a group’s whose mission “is to use public issue campaigns to give a voice to veterans on matters of national security, veterans' care, and every day issues that affect the lives of those who served, and their families" -- and the Truman National Security Project.

"The point of the meeting was organized by the White House to thank veterans and Gold Star Mothers for their activism in support of the Iran agreement," retired Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, a member of the board of VoteVets, said.

"It didn't occur to me until just as we sat down in the meeting with the Secretary and the President that I had made a promise to my son when I buried him 11 years ago that I would do everything to stop the war so that no other mothers had to go through this," Meredith said. "This kept my promise to him -- that our country will look at diplomacy before they look at war as a solution in our foreign policy."

Meredith does not blame the country of Iran for her son’s death, nor does she think it is a reason to oppose the deal.

"We weren't fighting a country," Meredith said. "People -- a lot of military, particularly -- [say], 'I hate all those people, they killed my son.' No they didn't. We were fighting insurgents.

"Those families want their children to grow up and raise their babies just like we do. So I'm not mad at the Iraqi people. I'm not mad at the Iranian people. That's not who we were fighting." 

Obama has enough Democratic votes to stop the GOP from blocking the deal but that has not stopped those in opposition from protesting against it.

At a protest rally in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas teamed up to voice their opinions against the deal, reports WUSA 9.

“Never ever in my entire life have I seen any deal as incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran,” Trump said.

“Any Commander in Chief worthy of defending this nation should be prepared to stand up on January 20, 2017, and rip to shreds this catastrophic deal,” Cruz said.

The crowd could be heard shouting, “Yeah!” and “Kill The Deal!”

Under the Iran nuclear deal, the country will limit it’s nuclear program in return for the easing of oil and financial sanctions currently in place on them.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed her support for the deal earlier in the day Wednesday, but she noted that if she becomes president, she would not hesitate to use military force against Iran if they do not follow the agreement.

Sources: The Huffington Post, WUSA 9

Photo Source: Elvert Barnes/Flickr, Amanda Terkel/HuffPost