Gold Star Families to Congress: Do your jobs, on Iran

WASHINGTON, DC – Nearly two dozen Gold Star families are writing an open letter to Congress, today, urging them to reassert their power to slow the march to war with Iran.  The letter, signed by families who lost loves ones from World War II, all the way up to Iraq and Afghanistan, write Congress that they “are urging you to step up, and make clear that Donald Trump, John Bolton, and other neoconservatives do not have any authorization to wage war with Iran.”

The families also urge the Congress to stand up to moves they view as provocation, aimed at a response, that would be a “backdoor to war.”

The full letter, which was organized by VoteVets, is below.  


May 23, 2019

Dear Representatives and Senators,

We are all Gold Star families, who have lost a loved one in war.  Other than the troops, themselves, no one knows the horror of war, and the high cost of war, better than we do.

Recently, we have seen increasingly bellicose language and threats from the Trump administration, regarding potential war with Iran.  We beg of you to step in, and do your Constitutional duty, as the body that has the power to wage war – and stop war.

None of us pretend that Iran is a friend to the United States.  In fact, we are all too well aware that Iran’s proxy forces attacked some of our own family members and their fellow troops, when they were in Iraq.  However, we also are well aware that the Iran Deal, carefully and painstakingly brokered by a coalition of nations and by true American war hero, John Kerry, not only stopped the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions, but opened up lines of dialogue that could be used to settle other matters.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump violated the Iran Deal, and now he and his administration are putting us on the path to all-out war.

Many military experts believe a war with Iran would dwarf the casualties we saw in Iraq, and Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of American sons and daughters would be lost, like our own family members.  To lose those lives in a war not of last resort, but as a first option, would be a betrayal of the trust that military families put in you, to always ensure they’re not deployed for combat, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Therefore, we are urging you to step up, and make clear that Donald Trump, John Bolton, and other neoconservatives do not have any authorization to wage war with Iran.  We urge you to stand up and say unless they can convince the American people, and you, their representatives, that war is crucial to the survival of the United States, they have no authority to go to war.

We also urge you to use your voices to oppose moves by the administration that seem to be aimed at provoking Iran into doing something that could be used as a justification for a retaliatory strike.  Such moves are simply a backdoor to war which, again, has not been authorized.

The pain we have felt, losing loved ones, is not something we would wish on our greatest enemies, let alone our fellow American military family members.  You have been entrusted with the lives of their loved ones.  We urge you to start acting like it.



Christina and James Ayube,
Parents of SGT. James A. Ayube II,
Killed in Afghanistan 

Vickie Castro,
Mother of CPL. Jonathan Castro,
Killed in Iraq

Marianne Cleary,
Mother of 1LT. Michael J. Cleary,
Killed in Iraq

Michelle and Steven DeFord,
Parents of SGT. David W Johnson-DeFord,
Killed in Iraq

Summer Lipford-Mickelson,
Mother of PFC. Steven Frederick Sirko,
Died in Iraq

Laura Samimy,
Sister PFC. Steven Frederick Sirko,
Died in Iraq

Karen Meredith,
Mother of 1LT. Ken Ballard,
Killed in Iraq 

Sue Niederer,
Mother of 2LT. Seth Dvorin,
Killed in Iraq

Diane and Neil Santoriello,
Parents of 1LT. Neil Santoriello,
Killed in Iraq

Celeste Zappala,
Mother of SGT. Sherwood Baker,
Killed in Iraq

Nadia McCaffrey,
Mother of SGT. Patrick McCaffrey,
Killed in Iraq

Michael Aldieri,
Son of SSGT Sisto A Aldieri
Died in World War II

Joan Donaldson,
Mother of SGT Mateo Donaldson
Died by Suicide, Post-Afghanistan

LouAnne Insprucker,
Wife of 1LT. Glenn Insprucker,
Killed in Vietnam

Rinda Pope,
Mother of PFC. Alex Varela,
Killed in Iraq

Kevin, Joyce, and Debbie Lucey,
Parents and Sister of CPL. Jeffrey Lucey
Died by Suicide, Post-Iraq

Kermit L. Carraway, Jr.,
Son of CPO. Kermit L. Carraway, Sr.,
Killed in World War II

Gilda Carbonaro,
Mother of SGT. Alessandro Carbonaro
Killed by Wounds Suffered in Iraq

Stephanie Fisher,
Mother of SSGT. Thomas Fogarty,
Killed in Afghanistan

Tracy Miller,
Mother of CPL. Nicholas L. Ziolkowski,
Killed in Iraq

Gregory Commons,
Father of CPL. Matthew Commons
Killed in Afghanistan