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Bill to Keep Maryland National Guard at Home Pending in Annapolis, Supported by Citizen campaign

by: franpollner

Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM EST


by Fran Pollner, PeaceAction/Montgomery

Annapolis--Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) is introducing a bill that would limit the deployment of the Maryland National Guard into federal service only for legal purposes.

While that demand for legality sounds so obvious as to be unnecessary, in practical terms, it challenges the legal basis for sending members of the Maryland National Guard to Iraq.

“The legal rationale for the use of the Guard is no longer valid given what was included in the original authorization for the use of military force,” says Madaleno, whose bill would direct the governor to “withhold approval of transfer of the National Guard to federal control” in the absence of renewed explicit Congressional authorization or a declaration of war.

franpollner :: Bill to Keep Maryland National Guard at Home Pending in Annapolis, Supported by Citizen campaign

The bill further states that the governor may request thereturn of currently deployed Guard units if an authorization for the use ofmilitary force “has by its terms expired or is no longer valid authority forfederal control. . . .”

Madaleno is joined in this effort by bill co-sponsor Sen.Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20) and by Del. Jill Carter (D-District 41), who willintroduce a similar bill in the House of Delegates.

There is also a statewide citizen Campaign to Keep theMaryland Guard at Home, a coalition of 22 broad-based groups prepared to spenda lot of time in Annapolis this session lobbying for Madaleno’s bill.  The Campaign argues that GovernorO’Malley has an obligation to prevent any more Maryland Guard members frombeing federalized under the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force(AUMF), the law passed by Congress that provided authority for military servicein Iraq — including the federalization of the state national guards.

The 2002 AUMF authorized military action for two specificpurposes: defending the national security from weapons of mass destruction andenforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions related to the 1991 Gulf War thatrevolve largely around weapons of mass destruction.

“Those purposes have been achieved,” says Jean Athey,coordinator of PeaceAction Montgomery, a member of the Campaign coalition.“There never were any weapons of mass destruction, and all U.N. SecurityCouncil resolutions have been met or are irrelevant. Thus there is no legalbasis to send the Maryland Guard to Iraq and they should stay home,” Atheysays.

More than 1,300 Maryland Army National Guard and 250Maryland Air National Guard personnel were deployed to Iraq last year, bringingto 5,900 the total number of the Maryland Guard cohort called up sinceSeptember 2001.

The goals of the Campaign to Keep the Maryland Guard at Homeare even broader than its name suggests, says Steve Lane, a member of theCampaign from Bethesda.

Since the now-expired AUMF is the basis for all deploymentto Iraq, not just that of the state national guards, the same principles thatwould bring the guard home would also bring the rest of the troops home, absenta new AUMF to justify their continued presence.

“The military has continued its operations in Iraq foryears, in the absence of any legal authority to do so,” Lane points out. Beyondthe practical effect of ending the war in Iraq, he adds, the success of theCampaign would have the corollary effect of helping to restore theConstitutional sharing of war powers between the executive and legislativebranches of the government.

Maryland is one of many states that together comprise anational movement to keep the guard home: At least 12 other states areconsidering similar legislation this year, and legislators in 11 others haveexpressed an interest in bringing the issue before their colleagues.

For more information on the Maryland Campaign, go to To join thelobbying effort that begins January 26, contact Steve Lane at [email protected].



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Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home (0.00 / 0)
This is a great campaign! It is very important to have the National Guard available in the State when we need it. And we must ensure that the government follows the law itself! Please, everyone, support this campaign!!!

National Guard Bill (0.00 / 0)
This bill is a great example of citizens organizing to mitigate a gross wrong.  The National Guard should never have been sent to Iraq by the Bush administration and it is up to individual states to get them home and prevent this from happening in the future.  The National Guard is exactly what its name says and should never be used (and it has been so badly used) to fight a war, especially an illegal one.  Thank you to Sens. Madaleno and Raskin and Del. Carter for your leadership on this.  We are looking forward to working with you and our legislators on this most important issue.  Bring the Guard Home Now and Keep It Home!
Maria Allwine
Co-Chair, MD Green Party

Change in Lobby Day (0.00 / 0)
Lobby Day to Keep the Maryland Guard at Home has been changed to February 23. There's plenty of time for you to sign up and join us when we tell  our legislators not to send our soldiers to Iraq without a legal reason.  

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