Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Bring the Guard Home Movement

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 9/23/09

In the days of the Vietnam War, journalist opposition approached the edge of fearless. The New York Times, leading the way, was not brave at first about Vietnam, nor was anybody else besides the soldiers. But as in Vietnam, a great wave of protest eventually rose up against the war in Iraq. Then it quickly dissipated with the election of the popular new President although he pushed a similar agenda in Afghanistan. In Iraq, the Times never got brave nor did most of the others, although after “Mission Accomplished” day, they did publish an op-ed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. War is bad. We can all nod vigorously to that.

The problem with quisling journalists, blogging hordes and vast demonstrations with hundreds of thousands of people (in the Vietnam era, exposing their breasts and urinating against the walls of the Pentagon) is that the energy leaves like vapor. They simply vent anxiety and are expedient and unsustainable.

But they have a new approach in Wisconsin. The Bring the Guard Home movement brings state-based opposition to the Cheney/Bush/Obama/Biden war now meandering through Afghanistan.

Bring the Guard Home is a national movement of state campaigns to end the unlawful overseas deployment of the National Guard, their web sites states. “It’s the law,” reads their heading.

The idea was first broached up here in northern New England at the beginning of the war on Iraq. Loosely based on Jefferson’s vision of the Constitution, the claim was then that the feds had no right to engage National Guards in foreign wars. At least, not without permission of our Governors or State Legislatures.

As Duane Techsler writes in an opinion piece in the La Crosse Tribune, the current deployment of the Wisconsin National Guard is illegal, “ . . . and perpetrated by lies and deceit of the Bush regime and is being followed by the current administration.”

“We need the Wisconsin National Guard in Wisconsin to serve us in times of disaster at home, such as when we had such massive floodings around the Dells and Vernon County,” he writes.

He requests public support for Bill 203, a bill which will require the Governor to ensure that no Wisconsin Guard unit is unlawfully released into national service. It directs the governor to review every federal call-up of the National Guard for its legality, and where there is no lawful basis for Guard federalization, to take action to keep the Wisconsin Guard at home.

State campaigns are active in Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Washington D.C., Washington, Wisconsin, and new states are joining all the time, they say.