Defense Reform

Campaigns and reforms designed to democratize our system of national defense.

STUDY GUIDE: Benson Scotch on war powers, defense policy, and the National Guard

March 22, 2009

RESTORING THE RULE OF LAW WHERE IT MATTERS MOST:

The new debate over war powers, defense policy,
and the National Guard

This study memo–maybe more dependent on computer literacy than on a knowledge of Latin legal maxims–consists of three features: The author’s narrative, documents or parts of documents integrated into the syllabus for easy reference, and links to the full texts of these documents as well as to other documents.

Many, many thanks to Ben Manski of the Liberty Tree Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Law School for creating this opportunity for dialogue.

BURNS: The strategy behind the Guard Home movement

October 14, 2009
Steve Burns

"Bring the Guard Home - It's the Law!" is a national campaign, now active in more than 20 states, that is raising a legal challenge to the Federal Government's use of our National Guard troops for deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Wisconsin, the campaign is promoting AB 203, a bill in the Wisconsin state assembly which would give the Governor the authority to examine the legality of any federal order for deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard and to challenge in court any orders determined to be unlawful.

Additional Information: 

Steve Burns, Outreach Director
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice

FIRST VIDEO: Who Decides About War?

October 3, 2009

Location:
Georgetown Law School

You don't have to wait any longer: The initial video is in from Who Decides About War?, the National Conference on War Powers, Law, and Democracy. This exciting conference took place on October 2nd and 3rd at the Georgetown School of Law, and featured over one hundred participants from 18 states.

Participants included veterans, military family members, journalists, lawyers, law students, professors, and other advocates of a more democratic, peaceful system of national defense.

SWANSON: Who SHOULD Decide About War?

October 3, 2009
David Swanson

Location:
Georgetown Law School

Remarks at http://whodecidesaboutwar.org conference

Who actually does: the media, weapons companies, the permanent government, presidents (including simply by decreeing a "war on terror", through misspending, lying, simply acting, signing treaties), political parties, culture (the one Biden lives in, in which Israel's sovereign right to attack Iran is uncontroversial), soldiers who obey illegal orders and the culture that leads kids to that place.

Who should decide: we the people of the world, through democratically created and enforced international and national and state laws.

Antiwar Radio interviews Ben Manski

June 18, 2009

Antiwar.com's Scott Horton interviews Ben Manski, Executive Director of Liberty Tree. They discuss the Bring the Guard Home! campaign that, "seeks to end the illegal use of national guard units deployed abroad, the historical U.S. change from a republican system of state militias to an imperial army, and the reassertion of state control over the guard."

Additional Information: 

To listen to the interview, go to http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/06/12/ben-manski/

Update on Efforts to Block Deployment of National Guard Troops to Iraq and Afghanistan

May 29, 2009

KBOO's public affairs host William Seaman interviews Dan Handelman about the campaign to keep Oregon's National Guard troops from deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan ... how close is the vote in the Oregon House and Senate on legislation aimed at challenging the federalization of the Oregon Guard? Also in the conversation by telephone is national campaign coordinator, Ben Manski, with an update on other state campaigns challenging guard deployments.

Additional Information: 

The interview can also be found at http://kboo.fm/node/14360

Democratizing Defense: A Discussion from the Liberty Tree Journal

May 1, 2009

A former congresswoman, a radio host, a military spouse, and a historian make up the participants of this Forum’s discussion on “Democratizing Defense.”

Stacy Bannerman is a prominent contemporary anti-war activist whose husband is an active duty member of the National Guard. We connected with Bannerman on the Troops Home Now! Tour of 2006, which Liberty Tree co-sponsored.

Paul Buhle is a historian, a veteran of the 1960s era SDS, and a mentor to the new SDS. Buhle is also known as a widely published cartoonist and author.

CCR: Restore. Protect. Expand The Constitution: Amend the War Powers Resolution

April 9, 2009

Executive Summary

At the heart of American constitutional democracy is the concept of checks and balances: limits on the reach of each branch of government so that none can act unilaterally or exercise power without accountability. The power to initiate warfare, because of its grave and potentially long-term consequences for the entire republic, is rightly assigned to the entire Congress under the American system, rather than to the President, a single individual. Wisely, the Constitution provides that the decision to go to war should be debated thoroughly and openly in Congress, rather than carried out by a secretive order, on the judgment of one person.

Additional Information: 

centerforconstitutionalrights
666 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10012
Phone (212) 614-6489 Fax (212) 614-6422
ccrjustice.org

Manski: From Liberty to Empire -- The Demise of American Defense

April 1, 2009
Ben Manski

All you have to do is remember that anti-imperialism is only another name for old-fashioned Americanism, and all will be clear to you. An American who has a settled body of convictions . . . who with his inherited ideas has an inherited courage, an inherited love of equality and justice . . . why, he is a natural born anti-imperialist, and it is simply his Americanism that makes him think and act as he does . . . .
~ New York Evening Post, May 3, 1902

Additional Information: 

Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the editor of the Liberty Tree Journal.

Your Time Is Up, Mr. President -- the National Guard Is Coming Home

February 5, 2008
Karen Dolan and Ben Manski

Guess what, Mr. President? Your authority to keep state National Guard troops in Iraq has expired. So says a new bill introduced this week to the Vermont Legislature by Rep. Michael Fisher and Sen. Peter Shumlin. It is supported by 30 of their colleagues.

"It is clear that the mission that Congress authorized no longer exists," said Fisher. "Unless Congress grants a new authorization, the Vermont Guard should revert back to state control." The Vermont bill states:

Additional Information: 

Karen Dolan is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus. Ben Manski is a Wisconsin attorney and the executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution.

Bring the Guard Home!

From: 
Liberty Tree
What's happening: 

The debate over the Iraq War changed last week in a simple, but profound way. A bill introduced on Tuesday in the Vermont State Legislature declares that the 2002 federal authorization to call up the State National Guard has expired, and would set in motion steps to recall members of the Vermont Guard. Rep. Michael Fisher, lead sponsor of the Vermont bill says that:

It is clear that the mission that Congress authorized no longer exists. The President has no current or permanent legal authority to keep Guard members in Iraq. The Governor as Commander-in-Chief of the Vermont National Guard should take necessary steps to bring them home.

In addition to the Vermont legislation, sponsored by Rep. Michael Fisher and Senate President Pro-Tempore Peter Shumlin, legislators in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island plan to sponsor similar National Guard legislation in the current legislative session.Legislators in six other states, notably Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin are working on the issue and considering following suit.

In recent years, twelve state legislatures and over 300 communities have passed resolutions protesting the Iraq War and calling withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This new legislation is something very different. This legislation actually ends the deployment of the Guard from Iraq.

News media from public radio, to CBS News, to Pacifica and AlterNet have already picked up the story. This new campaign to inject some democracy into our system of national defense is building.

  • Intrigued?

Please take a moment to read more. We've provided you with a copy of the Vermont legislation itself, an FAQ, media reports, and several articles by Liberty Tree's Ben Manski and IPS' Karen Dolan. Just go to our resources page at: http://www.LibertyTreeFDR.org/guard.php

  • Compelled?

Once you are done reading, it's time for action. Please see below for what you should do.

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