This month about 1,000 Men and Women in Minnesota’s National Guard will head for Iraq. For some this is a second or third tour of duty that won’t end until February of 2010. For 22 of them this is their 4th tour of duty.
Peace supporters, troops supporters, Iraq war veterans, Afghanistan war veterans and members of military families sent Minnesota’s Governor Tim Pawlenty a letter asking him to do whatever he can to stop what the group calls the illegal deployment of Minnesota’s National Guard. The group says the National Guard was authorized to be deployed because Iraq was a threat to the United States and that is no longer the case.
On Thursday, the group protested outside the Governor’s mansion in St. Paul. Speakers included an Iraq war veteran, a military family member (although not a family member of one of the Minnesota Guard being deployed) and Women Aganist Military Madness member Marie Braun who read a letter from rom Iraq’s Muslim Peacekeeper Sami Rasouli.
Below is the letter the group sent to Governor Pawlenty:
Dear Governor Pawlenty,
It recently came to our attention that on February 13, more than one
thousand Minnesota National Guard troops will be mobilized to go to
Iraq. This deployment occurs even as there are plans for the U.S.
military to start drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.
We are very concerned about the deployment of these troops. The
people of Minnesota, the people of the U.S. and the people of Iraq
want an end to the U.S. war and occupation, not an endless
continuation of U.S. military involvement. These National Guard
deployments will prolong an unpopular war and occupation, cost
millions of dollars, and cause great hardships to the Minnesota
families and communities involved.
The President may only call the Guard into National Service after
Congress has granted him/her that authority; otherwise the Guard
remains under the command of state officials. The October 2002
Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq (2002 AUMF) was the act
of Congress under which National Guard call ups for deployment to
Iraq have occurred. It states that the President is authorized to
use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be
necessary and appropriate in order to 1) defend the national security
of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq and
2) enforce all relevant UN Security Council resolutions regarding
Iraq. Iraq does not pose a threat to the security of the United
States or the region and the UN Security Council Resolutions on which
the 2002 AUMF are based are no longer relevant. In the absence of
any authority to keep the State Guard in Federal service, the
authority over them should revert back to the State.
Therefore, the coalition is calling on you as the Governor of the
state of Minnesota to 1) immediately pursue and exhaust every avenue
to stop future deployment of Minnesota National Guard troops to Iraq,
and 2) pursue and exhaust every avenue to bring Minnesota National
Guard troops currently in Iraq home without delay.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Wes Davey, Iraq Veterans Against the War; Larry Johnson, Veterans for
Peace; Mike Perkins, Military Families Speak Out; Mary Beaudoin,
Women Against Military Madness; Meredith Aby, Anti-War Committee;
Marie Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq