Vermont Lawmakers Seek To Pull National Guard From War

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 8:03pm.

Fed up that Washington hasn’t done more to end the war, a group of Vermont lawmakers said Tuesday that the president no longer has the authority to use Guard troops in 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.”

A Douglas spokesman said the governor can’t stop the use of Guard troops in the war.

“It’s clear that’s there’s no legal basis for stopping the federalization of the National Guard when Congress has authorized and continues to fund a war,” said Douglas’ spokesman Jason Gibbs. “The bottom line is this is a federal issue.”

He said Douglas would rather see Congress develop an exit strategy to bring the troops home as soon as possible.

Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, head of the Vermont National Guard, refused to comment until he could read the bill.

Fisher said similar proposals were being considered by lawmakers in Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

“Most of us standing here, maybe all of us, have made objections in the past about the morality or wisdom of this war,” Fisher said. “Today, we are limiting ourselves to one vital principle: the rule of law.”

“Questions about whether the war is going well or the surge is going well, should be left for other days,” he added. “We have a special interest in the welfare of the Vermont National Guard.”

By Lisa Rathke - The Associated Press - January 31, 2008 - www.ArmyTimes.com

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 01/31/2008 - 8:03pm.