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Bring the Guard Home


From Magic City Morning Star
Letters
Bring the Guard Home
By G. Scott
Sep 9, 2005, 09:50

Before and after Hurricane Katrina I was concerned about the fact that our Maine National Guard troops were serving prolonged deployments overseas instead of for the protection of the citizens of Maine from natural disasters or threats of violence, etc. I grant you that part of the charter of the National Guard is also to protect the sovereignty of US borders. I doubt that Iraq is now or ever was a threat to our borders, but let's say they were. Would it not be smarter to use these troops as local security forces, much the same way as forces were used in World War 2 to patrol the coast line for saboteurs, etc? What about local strategic targets? who is protecting them? I fear they are not well protected.

State politicians have a duty to their constituents to respond, and I’ve written to Governor Baldacci on more than one occasion asking him to take action on this matter, and I have never received so much as an acknowledgement. Nothing! I guess he doesn’t care about this issue, or our troops or, for that matter, the needs of the State of Maine, should we need these troops. If he does care, then he should have told me so. I’ve also written to Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan M. Collins and others, and they have failed to reply as well. What is going on when the whole of our elected officials seem to be marching in lock step on this? The fact that there may not be something they can do directly doesn’t mean there aren’t things they can do to advocate for the return of their National Guard to try and change the minds of the policymakers in Washington, D.C.

National Guard troops have been poorly equipped and have received only rudimentary training for service in these wars, and are therefore suffering casualties at rates higher than those of regular Army troops. National Guard troops are being subjected to unfair and involuntary extensions of duty well beyond the terms of their enlistment contracts and this has put a terrible hardship on their families.

Is it not a part of the constitution to provide for the common defense? Well, I ask you, with the insane pace of base closings and the sending of our Regular, Reserve and National Guard units all over the world, how would this nation, this soil - our land - be protected in the event it needed to be? Not very well, I’d say so. I also take issue with our Federal Government of being in breach of the U.S. Constitution by NOT providing for our true national defense in the way the framers of the Constitution intended. This is especially true in light of the Downing Street memo. And if the absurd failures of the Katrina disaster is any indication of how they plan to provide for our defense and safety than I would say we are in trouble, big trouble.

Over a third of the National Guard troops were deployed overseas in those states hardest hit. With just a third of those forces missing their absence as peace keepers to prevent looting and other services normally done by the Guard was certainly felt. As recruitment continues to falter the ranks of National Guard will no doubt continue to thinned out by further deployments to compensate. We must prevent this now and I urge all Maine citizens to stand with this veteran and call, write or email on any and all your representatives to bring this to an end now. It can and should start with the National Guard because they are needed here, in Maine, the state they primarily signed up to protect, the state where their families live and where their jobs are.

I call on Governor Baldacci to exercise his power as Commander of the Maine National Guard to immediately bring home all Maine National Guard troops presently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Furthermore, I call again on Olympia Snowe, Susan M. Collins and Rep. Michael H. Michaud and Tom Allen to take action to help bring not just our National Guard troops home but all our troops home by immediately enacting an meaningful timeline for a swift exit out of this Vietnam for a new American century.

G. Scott
Aroostook County, Maine

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