The Bring the Guard Home movement held a reception and a march from Library Mall to the State Capitol Saturday to help gain support for their cause and honor the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Riverside Church Address, which expressed his opposition to the Vietnam War.
Bring the Guard Home is a national movement whose aim is to “end the unlawful overseas deployment” of the National Guard, according to their website.
The movement was initially inspired by the actions of President George W. Bush during the War in Iraq, according to Benson Scotch, national senior counsel to the organization.
Scotch said though Congress must authorize the president to go to war, Congress has a difficult time stopping the authorization. This is because of a recent lack of involvement by the federal court system, Scotch added.
“A lot of people have believed the myth that war powers only belong at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,” Scoth said. “We want to bring people back to thinking of war as a local issue. This is not an issue that is about getting the right president; it’s about getting the right system.”
Supporting their efforts is a newly introduced bill by Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, which would allow the governor of the state to stop the deployment of national guardsman if he or she deems the deployment unlawful.
“This bill is to help prevent against future illegal ventures in the use of National Guardsmen by the president,” Black said.
Scotch and fellow supporters said while they could not bring back the guardsmen already deployed, the bill would help prevent the deployments if the war falls outside of the parameters of authorization.
According to Scotch, starting war is easy but stopping it is hard. This bill attempts to make legislators think twice before calling for military action.
“If we reexamine how we make war and make peace, I think there will be a lot more peace and a lot less war,” Scotch said.
While the bill is still new, many have expressed their enthusiasm for it. After seeing the turnout at the events on Saturday, Ben Manski, national coordinator of Bring the Guard Home and Liberty Tree’s executive director, said he sees a great future for the bill and the Bring the Guard Home movement in Wisconsin.
“We’ve seen a lot of support for it so far, from all the major political parties, and we’re still early in the process,” Manski said. “I’ve worked on a lot of issues and this one feels like a winner.”
However, though the bill received initial support, mostly from Democrats, many people are in opposition, including Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater.
According to Nass’ spokesperson Mike Mikalsen, Nass thinks the bill is an attempt to take away the powers reserved for the national government and commander in chief in the constitution.
“While we appreciate that people are trying to participate in the process, Rep. Nass thinks that this bill would take us in the wrong direction,” Mikalsen said.