by Peter Freyne
To pull off the current quagmire in Iraq, this White House didn't have the draft to rely on.
Instead, President Bush, who "dodged" the Vietnam-era draft by getting a special placement in the Texas Air National Guard, had to count on the Reserves and the weekend warriors of the states' National Guard forces.
National Guard troops can be federalized to protect the nation's security, but as Sen. Peter Shumlin pointed out on "Charlie & Ernie" this morning [see item below], the reasons President Bush cited to do so were bold lies and hold no water whatsoever. The nation's security was not being threatened by Iraq,
At his official weekly presser today, Gov. Scissorhands was informed of Shummy's comments on the morning radio and their connection to the bill, H.746, that Rep. Mike Fisher (D-Lincoln) and 27 co-sponsors introduced in the House on that point. Said Vermont's reigning and apparently invincible King James:
"I share every Vermonter’s concern about the continuation of the war. I hope that we can find an exit strategy. That is the responsibility of our national leaders so that no one from Vermont or any other state is called upon to serve.
"But in the meantime, the Congress not only authorized the use of force, but continues to fund the war efforts and it’s really a question that’s best put to those who represent us in the Congress.
"I think it’s important for the Legislature to focus on the agenda they can affect, because they can’t affect the power, constitutionally and statutorily, of the President to federalize the National Guard. It’s been clarified by the Congress. It’s been litigated throughout the centuries and that power is quite clear.
"I hope the Legislature will focus on economic growth, on housing, on healthcare, on reducing property taxes, on matters that are within their provence."
Q. Do you think there's justification for Vermont Guard members to continue to be on the firing line in Iraq?
Douglas: "Well, the President has that authority."
Q. And you don’t question that?
Douglas: "No. It’s been resolved by the court system repeatedly."
Informed afterward of Douglas' remarks, the bearded Rep. Fisher told yours truly:
"I think when his staff does take a look at it, they’ll realize there is a role for states to play with respect to the governing of the Guard."
One thing's clear: these guys are worlds apart on this one!