Vermont Wants Their Guard Troops Back

In what is hopefully the first salvo by the states against the power of the federal war-making machine, Vermont lawmakers from both houses of the legislature are pushing bills to pull the state’s national guard troops from Iraq.

State Rep. Michael Fisher, D-Lincoln, said the authority to call up Guard members for Iraq duty has expired because that country no longer poses a threat to U.S. national security.

“The mission authorized in 2002 does not exist,” said Fisher, who plans to introduce a bill backed by 30 colleagues Wednesday that calls on Gov. Jim Douglas to join the effort. “Unless Congress grants a new authorization, the Vermont Guard should revert back to state control.”

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin said the Senate would take up similar legislation.

“Bottom line is, if the politicians in Washington aren’t going to do the right thing for our troops, let’s do the right thing by bringing our Vermont Guard members home,” he said. “If Vermont can make one small step forward, I believe others will follow.”

Similar proposals are being considered by lawmakers in Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Let’s take their proposals to the other states and make this an issue in state legislative election this year.

42 thoughts on “Vermont Wants Their Guard Troops Back”

  1. I would like to see someone spell out the implications of this. Since the Iraq war was likely started by way of corporations in America assuring for themselves oil resources, does this mean that the community by way of states rights has a way to fight back?

    1. The American taxpayers pay for the national guard troops in Iraq, along with everything else.

  2. Ethan Allen would be proud. A town called Brattleboro has also declared that they will arrest Bush and Cheney if they ever enter the town. I sometimes think Vermont is a cool place!

    1. I agree with your sentiments towards Vermont. New Hampshire and Vermont are my two favorite places on Earth at this point (I live in PA) given the recent news stories of dissent in Vermont, and my recent discovery of the Free State Project in New Hampshire. I’m considering moving north!

  3. If I can remember correctly I believe it was Massachusetts that refused to send its soldiers to fight against the British in the War of 1812. When the British invaded in 1814 they took up arms against them, but they still refused to put their soldiers under National control. I would be nice for States’ to begin to assert that kind of authority again, especially when a war is unconstitutional like the one we are in now.

    1. Massachusetts seriously considered secession from the Union over the same issue, and earlier, in 1804, had threatened secession.

  4. So all of a sudden liberals are all for states rights and federalism? lol.

    I mean if you want the government to have a great deal of control over the states, how can you then say that they don’t have control of their national guard units?

    As a matter of fact, the President is the Commander in Chief of all military forces, including the States. A state Govenor has authority over the state’s national guard, unless or until the President decides to federalize them.

    For example, in 1956 Pres. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas national guard and ordered them to assist young black students who were trying to register for high school. Bottom line is the President does, indeed, have the last word on this.

    1. I shouldn’t have to point out here that many of the sites regulars and contributors are libertarians, not liberals.

    2. “So all of a sudden liberals are all for states rights and federalism?”

      Just how long will neocons continue this lie that only liberals oppose the war and the president? It’s a non-argument and out of the gate, it reduces your credibility.

      “I mean if you want the government to have a great deal of control over the states, how can you then say that they don’t have control of their national guard units?”

      Oh I see: you use that canard so you can use your stock response. How about those of us (some of us being conservatives) who DON’T want “the government to have a great deal of control over the states”?

      “As a matter of fact, the President is the Commander in Chief of all military forces, including the States. A state Govenor has authority over the state’s national guard, unless or until the President decides to federalize them.”

      This is true. That doesn’t imply that it’s constitutional; there are all sorts of unconstitutional laws in the books. I think you and I can agree that we don’t want activist courts making laws, and I also don’t need laws that enable unitary executives to usurp powers they were never meant to have. The one positive to come from what may be another Clinton presidency will be to watch the neocons outrage as she uses the same powers that the neocons thought were a-ok under Bush.

      “For example, in 1956 Pres. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas national guard and ordered them to assist young black students who were trying to register for high school. Bottom line is the President does, indeed, have the last word on this.”

      It happened before, therefore it is right. The point is, the “emergency” that was a lie was a faulty premise for the president seizing control of the guard. The initial lie, even it it were true is true no longer. Vermont may have a point.

      1. The only credibility Neo-Cons are interested in is the sort Goebbels mastered.

        I say that strictly from observing them closely.

        It is the essence of Straussianism that everything presented esoterically be no more than an ad hoc and persuasive lie.

        That is also the Straussians’ and Neo-Cons’ only interest in conventional religion, that is, as a tool.

    3. Liberal? I’m a Republican, buddy, a conservative one. Bite your tongue. I want no control over my life by a centralized power, Democrat or Republican.

      To hell with King George. Yes, he is the commander in chief, however, this war is undeclared.

  5. On a higher level the states actually have the last word in this matter, if they choose to use it. This is because a minimum of two-thirds of the states have always had the power to call for a second constitutional convention to propose amendments, each of which would then have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states to take effect. The Congress, and especially the President, cannot prevent this process. The states acting in this capacity could unilaterally alter what powers the federal government has, even to the point of abolishing it. I do not think this is likely to happen now. But after a few more years of federal power grabs, diminishing liberty, more wars, more debt, and more taxes to pay for the debt, who knows?

    As to the commander in chief clause, the President is only commander in chief of the armed forces when they are engaged in military operations pursuant to authorization from Congress. Technically, only the operation in Afghanistan has been explicitly authorized. On the matter of Iraq, Congress unconstitutionally ceded its war making authority to the discretion of the President and later ratified what the President did by funding the operation.

    1. To Eric L.

      Everything you wrote, at least in your first paragraph, is absolutly true. The States could, indeed, utilize Article 5 of the US Constitution and call for a Constitutional Convention. They could then pass an Amendment to the Constitution and strip the President of his power to use the national guard–but all that would be highly unlikely.

  6. I asked my Congressman, Tim Walz (D-MN), to introduce a bill in the House prohibiting the President from deploying the National Guard outside the US without a formal Declaration of War. You’d think that being a Guardsman himself and supposedly against the Iraq War, he’d have jumped all over that one. No. He’s of the bipartisan interventionist persuasion, voting twice to fund the war and also voting for warrantless wiretaps.

    1. Good for you, Bill Rood. Shame on Congressman Walz, living off our tax money and stabbing us in the back.

  7. Here’s another thought on what Congress COULD do to rein in the power of the Presidency. It has no more chance of happening than the bill prohibiting overseas deployment in the absence of a Declaration of War, but here it is anyway:

    Congress should propose a Constitutional Amendment making it easier to impeach and remove the President from office. As things stand right now, if it’s not possible to impeach and remove Bush, it won’t be possible to remove ANY President no matter how many statutes, treaties or Constitutional clauses (s)he has explicitly violated. Note that an Amendment does not go to the President for signature. It goes directly from Congress to the states for ratification.

    1. Impeachment is a simple process constitutionally. The House votes to impeach. The Senate tries. The proceeding is specifically exempted from what is required in jury trials. No court can intervene. The penalty is removal from office.

      The House and Senate make their own rules.

      Constitutionally there need not even be an investigation.

      If the House really wanted to impeach Bush or Cheney it would take all of a day. The Senate could try and convict in another day.

      No court can review the procedure and it is not subject to appeal.

      So what is Congress waiting for? And why are Paul and others hiding behind supposed procedures which do not exist constitutonally?

      Or saying that it is too “late” in Bush’s or Cheney’s term to impeach?

    1. Just so you don’t think the President has all the power, Congress could, most certainly, stop the war if they really wanted to. First of all, the House of Representatives could simply vote defund the war, cut off all funding, but they have not done that.

      Also, since under Article One of the Constitution the Congress has power to declare war, they could simply revoke their initial 2002 authorization to use force( it was not a formal declaration of war because Congress has abdicated their responsibility in that regard. they have not formally declared war on anyone since 8 December, 1941) But they could certainly revoke the President’s authority. They could also invoke the War Powers Act which specifically gives Congress the power to order troops home. So it seems like Congress could do a lot of things but they have not.

      So stop blaming President Bush. He is only one branch of government. If you are angry about the war in Iraq, fine. But you should be just as angry at the Congress.

      1. I could not agree more–most of the Congress are as clownish, vicious, and incompetent as the Bush and Cheney administration, including the Neo-Cons and Born Again Zionists as well.

        The Democrats were specifically elected to end the war and they do nothing but stand around and delay.

        Kucinich introduced a measure to impeach Cheney, which one recent poll shows eighty-five percent of the electorate wants done immediately.

        Pelosi meanwhile says she will not compass any impeachment motions at all.

        Even Paul, whose anti-war credentials I do not question, seems to be lukewarm about the only constitutional remedy, impeachment.

        Bush and Cheney are criminal, unconstitutional tyrants and most in Congress seem to be passive and fearful place-servers who do not have the courage to remove them.

        The United States in on the verge of financial collapse directly because of the Iraq War.

        The US military is stretched to the breaking point.

        As it stands, and without impeachment, there seems little in store save more or the same, and much worse.

        At this rate, the US will come to its end in Mesopotamia, not only as so many other empires, but possibly even as a viable state.

        Glad we are in such agreement on that issue.

      2. Nuts. While I wholly agree that the Congress is mostly made up of war-loving, vacuum-headed knaves and cowards, I still blame Bush. Look at it this way: if a bank’s guard falls asleep, is the bank robber then justified in robbing it?

        Even were Congress totally useless (and it’s coming close), a moral, decent president wouldn’t take advantage of it to press for tyranny.

        1. Part of the responsibilities of Congress is to protect the Constitution, and especially against criminals in office, including in the offices of President and Vice President.

          That is why impeachment is a such a simple and direct process, and without the protections of jury trial.

          The criminality and unconstitutional conduct of both Bush and Cheney are so blatant as to be insulting, even to selectively blind and clownish Congressmen.

          Not impeaching immediately is implicitly to approve of and indeed participate in the criminality, and to shirk Constitutional responsibility.

          Your prescription for moral and decent men as president sounds plausible on the surface but is totally absurd when examined.

          Indeed, it sounds exactly like the Born Again nonsense about choosing a “good steward”, or the Straussian appeal to Platonic philosopher-kings.

          And if that is part of the Paul program, you can count me out. Not that Paul is not a decent and moral fellow, but that is irrelevant.

          Presumably an ideal Constitutionalist would make an ideal President, but then neither the Constitution nor impeachment would be necessary.

          In fact, you are making a very concealed appeal for a government of men rather than of law.

          The framers of the Constitution were not contemplating only good and decent men in office of any kind. Indeed, they likely thought the best they could do were men like themselves, and were frank enough to acknowledge that each of them would not want any other of them as king.

          Moreover, impeachment of both President and Vice President would not even be part of the Constitution if it were not contemplated that outright criminals would now and then gain office, or become criminal while holding it.

          As it stands, Bush and Cheney are clearly criminals, while any Congress that stands by and does nothing is complicit in the criminality and guilty of it in the same or similar degree.

        2. Actually I was replying to Tim R. I don’t know why the post ended up down here.

          Anyway, none of the above changes the simple observation that a moral president, which Bush is not, would not take advantage of congressional buffoons. I don’t see how my two-pronged criticism of Bush and the Congress can be turned into a disquisition on philosopher-kings.

        3. It was no disquisition on “philosopher-kings”.

          It was a reference to the Born Again nonsense of “good steward” as president, which by the way they think Bush is, and the Straussians’ perversion of the Platonic “philosopher kings”, which in fact the Neo-Cons consider themselves to be.

          You posit a hypothetical about a “moral president” and at the same time say you don’t follow a reference to “philosopher kings”?

          My dear fellow, there is clearly some sort of disconnect here, and it is not mine.

  8. Lawmakers in Vermont want their troops out of Iraq? Seems kind of odd. Didn't these same people gleefully reward Joe Lieberman for kissing Chimp's ass even before he called himself and 'independent?' I bet that if asked, the people of Vermont would vote to continue with Bush's genocide in Iraq – just like they did last election.

    1. No, Ed March. That was the dumbocrats of Conneticut, who sent crazy freakozoid to Congress beside the lovely Sen. Dodd.

  9. I have written the Selectboard in Brattlesboro, applauding their decision to vote on whether to impeach Cheney. Am definitely now going to write both of the chambers of Vermont’s legislature to give encouragement and tell them that we are asking others to vacation in Vermont, and otherwise help the economy of Vermont. Uplifting news, Eric Garris. Thanks.

    And re Eugene Costa’s second to the last full sentence, would you explain?

  10. I would like to suggest that israel should send it’s own troops to replace ours in Iraq. Since this war is actually being fought for them, they should now replace our troops with their own and start fighting their own wars.

    1. Gary, other than personal feelings, do you have any concrete and verifiable evidence that the Iraq war was fought for Israel? Secret tape recordings of Bush and Cheney talking things over with AIPAC, for instance?

      1. While the Israel lobby is only one of the factors to consider, the case was more than adequately made in The Israel Lobby by Walt & Mearsheimer. The argument is too lengthy to replicate here, but it is about as well researched a book as you will find on the topic of the Israel lobby’s undue influence over American foreign policy (which is why its critics have to resort to absurd logical fallacies to try and smear the book instead of dealing directly with its facts).

        As everyone here knows, there is no possibility whatsoever you will read the book, so this response is not directed at you. It’s for others who are looking for an excellent resource on this important topic.

  11. I believe the National Guard should be just that National. I have never understood why it should be used outside of the US. Isn’t that what the reserves are for? We are now hearing reports that the US would not be ready in case of an attack. Why isn’t the Guard here guarding us? I have been in combat twice. I might have even stayed in and joined the Guard if I new I would be protecting the US. But there was no way I was going to be deployed again for wars which are not for the protection of the US.

    National Guard enrolment is down all over the US. No doubt because of the deployments. Somehow, Someway a law needs to be past that makes it manditory for National Guard troops to stay and protect our country. Not only would this increase the amount of young people willing to join the Guard but it would also help with the retention of Soldiers like myself who the Military has already spent endless amounts of money training. Furthermore, this would make the US safer not just from invasion but also from national disasters.

  12. I hope old Calvin Coolidge was right—

    “If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the Union and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.” — Speech, Bennington, VT, 9/21/1928

  13. I was wondering when State Governors would object to having their Guards used in an illegal war.

  14. Anyone today who still thinks there is such a thing as States Rights” is living in a dream world. The final outcome of Lincoln’s War to Prevent Southern Independence settled that question, at least for the present time. I live in a Southern state that, like virtually every other Southern state, became occupied US territory following the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s forces at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. While it is true that Southern States are no longer physically occupied by US military forces, it is also true that every State both North and South exist today as de-facto military districts of the United States. The people of Vermont and every other state need to understand the fact that they have no “States Rights.” Vermont will get “their” troops back when Uncle Sam decides to send them back.

    1. By the way, long before the Civil War certain states threatend to leave the Union, South Carolina and John C. Calhoun come to mind. But President Andrew Jackson told him that he would send in the military to repress such a rebellion against the Union. Federalism means that states share power with the governmennt and have exclusive control over certain things, education and gambling for example. But ultimatly Article Six Sec. 2 of the Constitution says that the Fed. Gov. is in charge.

  15. Tim R. & others must be very young. Eisenhower was absolutely criminal when nationalizing the state militias. Totally outlaw. State militias are constitutional with the single purpose of defending the states from a federal government which gets too big for its britches. There was never any such thing as a “national guard” until Eisenhower’s criminal usurpation. The federal government is simply an employee of the sovereign states to do certain enumerated chores the states felt better done by them in concert than by each alone. The states are, by law, separate nations, the federal government is, again by our law (the constitution), merrily an agent – the child of the parent states. Usurpation, even when condoned by a dumbed down population, is still outlaw and the perpetrators (perpetraitors) are not heroes but criminals who must be brought to justice if there is to be any justice. We live under a totally outlaw government which ignores the constitution claiming that any damned statute they wish is law – while, by true law, every statute must adhere to the constitution or it is null and void. There hasn’t been a constitutional statute passed in congress since before WWI, is my guess. Tim & co. may like living under a criminal cabal but when criminals are allowed to function without paying for their crimes the whole nation soon becomes a corrupt hell. Look around you.

  16. Pingback: fe8fb4413fd9

Comments are closed.