Well Tonight, Your National Guard Is…….Overseas?
I was a teenager when America sat at the brink of nuclear war,
with President Kennedy positioned nose-to-nose with the Russians
over the missiles stored at the Bay of Pigs. In my home my father
tried to prepare a 'safe room' of sorts, stockpiling water and
canned food. In the event of a nuclear attack, he planned for us
to go to that room, where we would, hopefully, survive.
At school we constantly
discussed the possibility of destroyed futures – no graduations; no relationships; no lives. For me there
was but one point of comfort, and that was the nightly public reminder, "Sleep
Well Tonight; Your National Guard Is Awake."
It may have been my
youthfulness that allowed me to put such faith in that phrase,
but I really did sleep better. I pictured the National
Guard members at their posts; spending those nights watching the
sky; protecting me from harm. Now, however, when I hear that National
Guard units have been deployed overseas, I do not sleep well – in
part because that very action angers me so deeply.
deployments infuriate me because I believe it is unlawful to
send any members of state
militias, i.e. 'National Guard,' beyond
the borders of this country, and that doing so exceeds the privileges
of the President, and violates the trust, and the earliest traditions,
of the American people – in citizen militias, minutemen, non-interventionist
philosophies, Constitutional limitations on the powers of the executive
branch of the government.
militias began in 1636 when settlers organized armed men to protect
General George Washington later proposed
the establishment of a formal militia "to maintain peace and protect
us from foreign invaders." The Guard considers its charter to be
the Constitution of the United States, specifically Article I,
Section 8, Clause 15. "Clause 15 provides that the Congress has
three constitutional grounds for calling up the militia – 'to execute
the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection and repel invasions.'
All three standards appear to be applicable only to the Territory
of the United States" (from
Constitutional charter of the Guard).
I, Section 8, recognizes the States' rights in retaining militias
and reserves the appointment of militia
officers and training to the States. Article IV, Section 4 provides
that the federal government "shall guarantee to every State in
this Union a republican form of government," protects each State
against invasion and, at State request, the federal government
is to protect the States in the event of domestic violence (from
charter of the Guard, Article IV, Section 4).
Militia Act of 1792 placed certain requirements on the militia:
men between the ages of 18 and
45 had to serve; to equip themselves; to attend annual practices,
or musters. The act also arranged for the militias to be organized,
as directed by the State legislatures, into divisions, including
regiments, battalions, companies. Note that the States still
held supervision and control over the militias, and that the
act of 1792 continued in force for 111 years.
1867, Lincoln's Congress took the unconstitutional step of suspending
of the Southern States to organize
their militias, and used the U.S. Army to enforce martial law
over the South during Reconstruction. Public anger and reaction
to the expansion of the military's role in civilian life brought
about the Posse Comitatus in 1878, which was designed to limit
federal powers over the militia being put in use against the
population, by stating, "…it shall not be lawful to employ any
part of the Army of the United States…for the purpose of executing
the laws, except on such cases and under such circumstances as
such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by
the Constitution or by any act of Congress…" (Guard
history – Posse Comitatus).
have interpreted "…except…expressly
authorized by…Congress…" as an open invitation to eventually
modify the entire character of the State militias. Woodrow Wilson's
National Defense Act of 1916 mandated the use of the term "National
Guard" in place of the historical names that identified each
militia with its own individual State – Michigan Militia, Ohio
Militia…; expanded the Guard's role as the primary reserve force;
dictated the number of drills; and gave the President greater
powers. The Constitutional intent for the militias was further
compromised and violated with each successive piece of legislation:
The National Defense Act Amendments of 1920, The National Guard
Mobilization Act of 1933, and finally with The Total Forces Policy
of 1973, which also saw the end of the draft.
Now we find ourselves 'home alone,' while our Constitutional
State militias are withdrawn from our States and sent abroad
to provide foreign aid, build hospitals and schools in foreign
lands, and be a first line of defense in foreign wars, rather
than a last line of defense to protect the States and the national
borders from foreign invaders. I am appalled.
I consider any Congressional legislation that changed
the intent, organization and control of State militias, to be
unlawful acts that have unconstitutionally allowed for unintended
expansion of Federal powers. I find it disgraceful that Congress
would violate the original intent of Article I, Section 8, Clause
15, and enact legislation that has forced State citizen militias
to 'metamorphosize' into a national organization that is now
deployed outside of the United States.
Our Founding Fathers did not even want a standing
army, and they surely would not approve of our armed forces being
sent far and wide, becoming involved in international situations,
various and sundry. I believe that these wiser men would be especially
angry and offended that state militias are being sent abroad,
National Guard now has a tradition of deployment in several wars
but it is wrong, and I, for one, do not like
it. Neither do I approve the loss of their protective presence,
as they travel around the globe serving international 'humanitarian'
purposes, such as distributing food and building schools and
clinics. I certainly do not want them deployed as an early and
strategy of war in foreign lands.
The National Guard units belong in their respective
States; protecting the people of their respective States; available
to their States in the event of emergencies. Exceptions to those
limitations would be emergencies that are extensive, cross state
lines, or threaten our borders.
I believe that governors have a responsibility
to dispute and refuse to obey unconstitutional laws, and thus
the responsibility to prevent our Guard members from deployment
overseas. Such prudence is especially vital now, with terrorist
alerts, and with 'homeland security' the buzzword of the administration.
I believe that every governor should demand that every National
Guard member be immediately returned to the States.
that we should insist that the President and Congress use the
national armed forces for their interventionist
plots and ploys. Our federal taxes pay for military bases and
active military personnel. There is no Constitutional right,
and certainly no common sense, in forcing NG members – college
students having to quit classes mid-semester; fathers and mothers
having to leave young children – to be deployed overseas! Send
the active duty military, if you must, but leave our National
Guard at HOME.
I want to sleep well tonight, and every night.
For any number of reasons, we citizens of individual states could
find ourselves in need of assistance and protection. We must
be able to depend on our citizen militias. We should insist that
Congress reverse any and all legislation that illegally allowed
a federal takeover of the State militias.
Governors, please take your Constitutional powers,
as well as your Constitutional rights, seriously. The 'united
States' of America is the goal for which our forefathers fought
and died. They did not sacrifice lives and homes so that we would
have an all-powerful Federal STATE. They sacrificed so that each
individual State could retain its powers, including the power
to maintain and control their militias. Based in each state.
Awake and on-guard.
us as we sleep.
Linda Schrock Taylor [send
her mail] lives in northern-lower
Michigan, where she is a special education teacher (in Room 18),
a free-lance writer, and the owner of "The Learning Clinic," where
real reading, and real math, are taught effectively and efficiently.
© 2003 LewRockwell.com