Supporters of Guard resolution prepare for Town Meeting Day

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(Host) This year at Town Meeting many Vermont towns will consider a resolution calling into question the use of National Guard troops in Iraq. The campaign’s organizers, a statewide network of antiwar groups, say 53 towns will vote on the non-binding ballot item.

On Tuesday night, Ellen Kaye of the Brattleboro Area Peace and Justice Group talked about the resolution at a pre-town meeting gathering. She said almost half of Vermont’s National Guard is now under federal jurisdiction. The groups find that cause for concern.

(Kaye) “It is true that the Guard can be federalized and deployed by the United States, by the federal government in three cases: to repel invasion, to suppress insurrection – and we’re talking domestic insurrection, not insurrection in Iraq – and to otherwise defend the laws of the country, like, one good example is desegregation in the south.”

(Host) Kaye says the resolution urges specific actions. But it’s also aimed at getting people talking about the costs of the war in their own towns.

(Kaye) “We’re asking the state Legislature to establish a commission to travel around Vermont, hold hearings, collect data, investigate the use and also look at the effects of deployments on our communities. And we also feel that that is a perfect way to continue the discussion statewide, to really register what people are thinking about this.”

(Host) Kaye says in most towns the resolution begins with a statement of support for the men and women serving in the military. It also asks Vermont’s congressional delegates to work for more state control over Guard deployments. And it calls on the president and Congress to ‘take steps’ to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

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