Boise Group to Hold Anti-Urban War Event Thursday, Dec. 6 

In November, Mountain Home Air Force Base released an environmental study of proposed training exercises that would take place in and over the City of Trees, but a group of Boiseans is having none of it.

"Most people would be unaware that it was going on [during the exercises]," said Max Shue, a Boise-based organizer for the Party for Socialism and Liberation. "Military personnel would be wearing plain clothes and we would be, basically, silent collateral damage. We wouldn't know this is happening around us. That's a disturbing factor about it as well."

Mountain Home AFB is set to begin conducting what it calls Urban CAS Air and Ground Training in and around several cities across southern Idaho, including the air force base itself, Bruneau, Glenns Ferry, Grand View, Hammett, Twin Falls and Boise.

Those exercises would entail air crew training in urban warfare scenarios for an undetermined period of time: F-15 fighter jets conducting night- and daytime exercises set up by plainclothes ground crews. The training would be different from previous military aircraft exercises in the Treasure Valley in that they would involve extensive on-the-ground setups designed to simulate combat zones in and over cities, which Shue said could have unintended consequences in the City of Trees.

"The expansion of the bombing range and expansion into our airspace is our objection. Specifically the noise would have an effect on our quality of life and on wildlife," he said.

Part of the Party for Socialism and Liberation's longstanding position against what it sees as the overreach of the U.S. military, it will host a forum entitled "U.S. And Urban War: A History of Devastation," featuring a presentation by an anti-war veteran, Mike Prysner. A veteran of the war in Iraq, Prysner is the co-producer of The Empire Files and a podcast, Eyes Left, Prysner will discuss how the exercises are an example of military encroachment.

"He's been very active in the anti-war movement and speaking out against increased militarism," Shue said about Prysner. "This plan is just an expansion of U.S. militarism within our own borders."

According to Katie Fite, the director of public lands for Wildlands Defense, little is known about how conducting these exercises might impact people in Boise. The air force base's environmental assessment concluded that there will be "no significant impact" on air quality or noise levels in the Treasure Valley, but Fite said that document is vague, and pressed for a more thorough environmental impact statement that would address the possibility of an accident, the use of training lasers in urban areas, and other aspects uncovered in the assessment.

"We don't have any city to use as an information source because this hasn't been taking place on a regular basis that the military has admitted to anywhere in the country," she said. "The lived experience is a huge unknown, which points to the fact that they need to prepare an environmental impact statement."
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