The Idaho legislature must pass, and Governor Brad Little must sign, the Defend the Guard Act. This crucial piece of legislation would keep our Idaho National Guard out of any unconstitutional wars.

Since the start of the Global War on Terror, roughly 45% of the U.S. service members deployed into combat zones like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere have been National Guardsmen. And after more than two decades of continual fighting, their units have incurred over 18% of the casualties.

Why are our National Guardsmen fighting and dying in foreign wars that Congress hasn’t voted to declare? In 2001 and 2002 Congress passed Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs), open-ended blank checks intended to empower the president with the final authority to make war.

These resolutions pass the buck from the people’s representatives to the president and are a clear violation of Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution which stipulates only “The Congress shall have Power…To declare War…”

In truth, Congress has not voted to declare war for almost 75 years.

By passing the Defend the Guard Act, Idaho and other states can obligate the federal government to follow federal law, our Constitution. This is not a state government involving itself in foreign policy, it is a state government using its sovereignty to enforce the checks and balances in our federalized system as designed by our Founding Fathers. Congress must be forced to reclaim its prerogative.

It is proper that our National Guard form the backbone of our Armed Services and be utilized in times of war when necessary. What is not proper is using the National Guard to fight unconstitutional wars abroad without a conceivable end and without a direct vote by Congress.

This legislation has been introduced in half the states in the union. Whenever it has, the U.S. Department of Defense has threatened repercussions on its supporters because this bill would disable Washington DC’s ability to wage endless war without accountability to voters. Intimidating elected representatives is not a position, it’s thuggery. 

A bill of this importance deserves full consideration by the Idaho legislature and a public up or down vote. When the Defend the Guard Act moves forward this winter, please call to tell your representative and your senator that you support defending Idaho’s National Guard.

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