Urge on Vermont: Bring the Guard home!

Democratizing Defense Network
What's happening: 

The movement to bring home the National Guard is growing.  State representatives and senators in Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island have joined Vermonters in drafting and introducing legislation to keep their state Guard units where they belong.  With the latest news out of Iraq and Washington D.C. -- that the troop escalation has failed to end the violence and that the Bush administration will attempt to issue additional call up orders for Guard units this summer and fall -- the time is ripe for state action to keep the Guard in the United States.

This campaign began earliest in Vermont, and it is in Vermont that the effort has made the most progress.  The Vermont Senate held hearings on the legislation last month.  The Vermont public is debating the issue.  Media outlets from the Topeka Capital Journal to CBS national news to the Houston Chronicle have covered the debate.  For the first time, Americans are becoming aware of the illegality of National Guard deployments to Iraq.  The Vermont debate is educating all of us; we are learning that:

  • The President may only call the Guard into National Service after Congress has granted him/her that authority; otherwise, the Guard remain under the command of state officials.
  • The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq (2002 AUMF) was the act of Congress under which National Guard call ups for deployment to Iraq have occurred until now.
  • The 2002 AUMF set a clear mission for the invasion of Iraq, and that mission is over.  Saddam Hussein and Iraq are no long a threat to the United States or the region (if they ever were), and the UN Security Council resolutions on which the 2002 AUMF was based are no longer relevant.
  • Some state elected officials are willing to stand up and defend the constitutional guarantee of a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, a military designed for national defense and not empire, and a government of laws and not of men!

All of this is already coming to light with a simple legislative push that doesn't even challenge the unconstitutionality of the war itself, or challenge the deployment of the Guard for purposes other than those spelled out in the Constitution.  All this legislation says is, "Federal government, we're not even telling you that your laws are unconstitutional, we're just insisting that you to obey your own laws."  Is that such a radical thing to ask?  Let's find out.

What you can do: 

The Vermont legislation is important precisely because it opens a new debate over the war in Iraq.  It gives Americans an opportunity to go the government closest to them -- their local and state government -- and to insist that the states hold the federal government to account. 

The Vermont sponsors need to hear from you that you support their efforts.  Please contact Vermont Senator Peter Shumlin today and let him know that you support the Vermont Guard legislation and that time is of the essence:

Peter Shumlin
Senate President Pro Tem
Vermont State House
115 State St
Montpelier, VT 05633
Phone: 802-828-3806


Please spread the word, especially to friends and family in Vermont, but also far and wide.  The Guard will be that much closer to coming home if you act now.

For more information: 

For background information, please check out Liberty Tree's extensive National Guard resource page at http://www.libertytreefdr.org/guard.php