2009/04/03:Daily Cardinal: Campaign to ‘Bring the Guard Home’ kicks off in Madison - WI Bring the Guard Home Campaign

Campaign to ‘Bring the Guard Home’ kicks off in Madison
By: Steven Rosenbaum /The Daily Cardinal  - April 3, 2009

The national Bring the Guard Home campaign launched a slew of events in Madison Thursday, with activists questioning the legality of the Wisconsin National Guard’s participation in foreign wars.

A campaign to keep National Guard members from being deployed in foreign wars kicked off in Madison Thursday.

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice is joining a growing national campaign called Bring The Guard Home. This week marks the beginning of local activism regarding the issue.

The group’s mission in Wisconsin is to promote a bill recently proposed by state Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, which would give the governor de facto veto power to any federal order that places the Wisconsin National Guard on active duty.

This bill was written in response to the impending deployment of 3,200 Wisconsin National Guard members to Iraq. Similar bills are either being written or are circulating through state legislatures in 21 other states.

Benson Scotch, a national spokesperson for Bring the Guard Home, along with John Nichols, associate editor for the Capital Times and local writer specializing in constitutional issues, held a teach-in Thursday at the Pyle Center to discuss the bill and rally grassroots support.

The Bring the Guard Home campaign claims there is no legal basis for the Wisconsin National Guard to be deployed overseas. The authority for them to go to Iraq was granted in the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which Congress passed in 2002.

According to Scotch, AUMF was meant to “safeguard the United States from threats posed by Iraq and its supposed weapons of mass destruction and to enforce all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”

The campaign believes that the AUMF should have expired when Saddam Hussein was removed from power and when no weapons of mass destruction were found, and that no National Guard troops should be in Iraq.

Nichols said he hopes this bill will allow the National Guard to return to its original purpose.

“This is the restoration of a well-regulated militia,” Nichols said. “It is a way for Wisconsin to say ‘no.’”