February 04, 2009

Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home

Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard at Home


from Steve Lane, atticlane@yahoo.com; Rossana Baptista, rossana4444@yahoo.com;  Fran Pollner,  franpollner@yahoo.com; Scott Tsikerdanos, STsikerdanos@senate.state.md.us

Bill to Keep the Maryland Guard at Home Introduced in State Assembly
Grassroots Coalition Urges Quick Approval

Olney--A coalition of 24 organizations across the state of Maryland is urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation requiring that the Maryland National Guard be used for legal purposes, and no other. The legislation, introduced by Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) in the Senate and Delegate Jill Carter (D-41) in the House of Delegates, states that the governor shall refuse to release the Maryland National Guard into federal control without either a legal justification or a declaration of war. If the Guard is called into federal service for a legal reason, and that reason expires, then the governor shall request return of the Guard to his control.  Cosponsors in the Senate include Jamie Raskin (D-20), Paul Pinsky (D-22), David Harrington (D-47), Catherine Pugh (D-40), and Michael Lenett (D-19).

The legal basis for calling the National Guard to serve in Iraq is the 2002 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was limited to the purposes of defending the national security from Iraqi threats and enforcing UN Security Council Resolutions left over from the 1991 Gulf War. The purposes set forth in the AUMF have been achieved: Clearly, Iraq does not pose a threat to our national security, and no UN Resolutions remain to be enforced.  Neither the AUMF nor any other law authorizes an indefinite assignment of State Guard members to the National Guard of the United States. Thus, there is no legal basis for sending any National Guard members to Iraq.

"With the war in Iraq, the President unilaterally changed the basic mission of the National Guard, from protection at home to military adventurism abroad," commented Jean Athey, coordinator of PeaceAction Montgomery, one of the Campaign member groups. "This change came at a steep price, for National Guard members and for the state of Maryland. Guard deployments have caused financial and emotional disruption to many Maryland families. Multiple deployments have made the situation worse. Moreover, we believe that Maryland's civil defense and emergency response capabilities have been severely undermined by requisition of the National Guard. We also believe that the National Guard should not take the place of regular soldiers. The primary purpose of the Guard, in our view, is to defend the state of Maryland, not serve as a back-door draft."
The bill, SB 501, has been assigned to the Judicial Proceedings Committee and will be considered in February. The Maryland Campaign to Keep the Guard Home is organizing a Lobby Night for Feb. 23. Information on the the bill's status is available at http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/billfile/SB0501.htm. Until the text is included on the State's Web site, it may be read here: http://www.mdguardhome.org/legal.html
For more information: www.MDGuardHome.org

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