Mid-Missouri responds to Iraq airstrike
COLUMBIA - Saturday morning, Columbians gathered to advocate for peace following the airstike in Iraq which killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation held its weekly peace vigil at the downtown post office. Members held signs saying "honk for peace," "not another war," "with each bomb we earn more enemies" and other sayings.
Carolyn Doll has been at the vigils every weekend for years.
"It's particularly important today because it looks like another war is starting, and we don't need any wars," she said.
The group is a pacifist organization "committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change," according to the group's Facebook page.
Jeff Stack is the group's coordinator. He said the strike violated Soleimani's rights.
"I'm not saying General Soleimani was an ideal human being, a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize or anything like that," Stack said. "But he was a human being who had a right to life."
Missouri politicians did not express similar sentiments.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted Friday, saying, "Glad he's dead. Soleimani has murdered American soldiers and terrorized innocents for long enough."
Missouri's other senator, Republican Roy Blunt, said "Soleimani led Iran's worldwide terrorist efforts. Hopefully his death sends a message to those in control of Iran that there is a price to be paid for being the number one state sponsor of terrorism."
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 3rd Congressional District. He released a statement Friday, saying in part, "I'm grateful our Commander in Chief has shown the leadership needed to eliminate this threat to the world and for the bravery of our nation's military who executed this mission and continue to keep us safe."
KOMU 8 News has reached out to Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, for comment but has not heard back.
At the protest, with tears welling in her eyes, Doll said the U.S. hasn't learned lessons from previous wars and conflicts.
"When I look at the devastation that's being created around the world, I can't believe that we can't learn," she said. "We've been wasting money and lives that we did not need to do."
She said she had one goal Saturday: raising awareness.
"I want people to be reminded that there aren't any winners in war," Doll said. "Everybody loses in a war."