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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Vermont Resolution

Resolution of [the Town of                      ]
Concerning the Vermont National Guard and the War in Iraq

Whereas, in October 2002 the United States Congress adopted a Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, relying on statements that were untrue, when in fact the United States:

* was not threatened with attack by Iraq,

* Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction,

* Saddam Hussein had no role in the 9/11 attacks.

Whereas, in going to war, the President did not meet the conditions imposed by Congress, failing to show Congress why he:

* decided that diplomatic or peaceful means alone would not protect the national security of the United States or lead to enforcement of Security Council resolutions on Iraq,

* why he decided that going to war was a necessary action against Iraq on the theory -- never proven -- that Iraq authorized, committed, or aided in the 9/11 attacks.

Whereas, the war has resulted in serious and potentially long-lasting consequences for the United States and for the chances for a just and durable peace in Iraq and the Mideast;

Whereas, the United States Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to

"provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, to suppress insurrections and repel Invasions," and the Vermont Constitution provides for the General Assembly to direct the training and arming of members of the Vermont National Guard for defense of the State;

Whereas, at least since 1986 the President and the Congress have had nearly total control over state militias, including the Vermont National Guard;

Whereas, the costs of the call-up of Vermont National Guard members for deployment in Iraq has been significant, as reckoned in lost lives, combat injuries, psychic trauma, disruption of family life, financial hardship for individuals, families, and businesses, interruption of careers, and damage to the fabric of civic life in many Vermont communities;

Whereas, these are costs which would be suffered willingly were there a threat to our nation, but which are not tolerable where there is none;

Whereas, Vermonters have joined the Guard thinking that they would be serving their neighbors by helping with Vermont-based emergencies, unless there was a danger to America requiring transfer to active duty;

Whereas, stop-loss orders violate the mutual understanding between Vermonters in the Guard and the state and nation they agreed to serve; and

Whereas, there is reason to believe that the federalization and deployment of Vermont National Guard members has rendered the remaining Guard force unable to carry out its state activities effectively;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY:

Resolved, that the Town requests the members of Vermont’s Congressional Delegation to urge Congress to restore the balance between the federal government and the states, limiting the nearly complete federal control over State National Guard units to cases:

* where there is reasonable evidence that war powers are requested in order to protect against a threat to the territory of the United States,

* where there is an insurrection or a plausible threat of insurrection; or

* where there is a declaration of war under the United States Constitution;

Resolved, that the Town requests the General Assembly of the State of Vermont, exercising its powers under Ch. II, Sec. 59 of the Vermont Constitution, to:

* investigate and discuss whether members of the Vermont National Guard have been called to active service and assigned to duties relating to the war in Iraq in conformity with the U.S. Constitution and federal laws, including the 2002 Congressional Resolution on Iraq; and

* create a commission or other body to collect statutory, historical, and statistical information about the role of the National Guard in serving the State of Vermont and to study the impact of the federalization and deployment of its members on the ability of the Guard to perform its mission in Vermont;

Resolved, that the President and the Congress take steps to withdraw American troops from Iraq, consistently with the mandate of international humanitarian law; and

Resolved, that the Town Clerk send a copy of this Resolution to each member of the Vermont Congressional Delegation, the Vermont Governor, the Speaker of the Vermont House, the President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate, the Adjutant General of Vermont.

Whereas, the Town and its citizens strongly support the men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces in Iraq and recognize the sacrifices that each of them is making. The Town and its citizens stand ready to help these Vermonters in any way they can.

You tell 'em, Vermont.  About 20 municipalties have passed this resolution.  6 or 7 have failed to pass (or "tabled") it.

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