2009/04/03:WI State Journal: Three days of events will support bill on proper federal activation of state Guard - WI Bring the Guard Home Campaign

Three days of events will support bill on proper federal activation of state Guard
By STEVEN VERBURG
Wisconsin State Journal

April 3, 2009
608-252-6118
sverburg@madison.com

A national movement opposing war in the Middle East on legal grounds will attempt to build support in Wisconsin over the next three days.

A series of public events starting at noon today will explore the idea that the 2002 congressional authorization for military force in Iraq is no longer a legal basis for sending Wisconsin citizen-soldiers to war.

Wisconsin is one of 31 states discussing "bring home the troops" bills. Some are aimed at deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan. Wisconsin is among others weighing broader scrutiny of the legality of any orders to turn National Guards over to federal command, said Ben Manski, a Madison attorney and executive director of Liberty Tree, a nonprofit pushing for the reforms.

The Wisconsin bill would require the governor to rule on whether federal activation of the state Guard has been done properly and legally, with an act of Congress. State Rep. Spencer Black and seven co-sponsors this week introduced the bill.

"This wouldn’t affect the current deployment to Iraq," Black said Wednesday. "It will be valuable to establish an orderly process so that anytime our brave men and women are deployed to an overseas conflict, that it’s done properly."

Some 3,200 Wisconsin National Guard members are now training before spending a year in Iraq.

Current reform efforts can be traced to Vermont in 2005, said Benson Scotch, a 75-year-old Montpelier, Vt., attorney, former Army recruiter and recently retired director of his state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

When a "bring home the troops" bill failed in Vermont, a state representative asked him to write an improved version.

Other states have joined the cause, said Scotch, who will take part in events in Madison and Milwaukee.

"It’s a follow-the-law movement," Scotch said. He acknowledged that any state defiance of a presidential order would likely spark a court battle.

"War is the most serious and far-reaching step that can be taken by a government or a culture," he said. "War should not be casually started."

If you go:
WHAT: Bring the Guard Home kickoff
WHEN: Noon Thursday.
WHERE: UW Law School, Lubar Commons, 975 Bascom Mall, Madison

More information: www.libertytreefdr.org/events