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  Peace and Justice Works
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065

Governor Kate Brown
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047

October 5, 2017

Governor Brown:

As the war in Afghanistan enters its seventeenth year on Saturday, we are writing to you once again to raise concerns about the potential use of Oregon's National Guard in unauthorized military adventures abroad. Many of us who signed onto this letter contacted you in September 2015. We also sent a similar letter to you and other candidates for governor in July 2016 on this issue.*-1 Many were involved in the 2009 effort to Keep Oregon's Guard in Oregon, hoping to prevent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan under the then- and still-outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force from 2001-2002. We gathered over 7000 signatures from all over the state. We have urged Governors Kulongoski and Kitzhaber, and now we ask you, to deny the use of our state militia for undeclared combat. We still need Oregon's National Guard to stay stateside, as evidenced by your deployment of troops in August to handle the onslaught of tourists visiting for the eclipse. As of mid-September 600 Oregon Guard members volunteered and 125 were called to active duty to train to fight the wildfires.*-2 With climate change, such fires will become more of the norm in the coming years. Should a tragedy like Hurricane Harvey visit upon Oregon, we cannot afford to have our Guard overseas.

While the country has become numb to the ongoing war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Syria, Libya, Somalia and Pakistan, President Trump is threatening to militarily intervene in more countries including North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. The current engagements in Iraq and Syria involve at least 5000 troops on the ground*-3, and are ostensibly being waged to combat the Islamic State/ISIS. The US also has "boots on the ground" in Somalia, Yemen and Libya.*-4 However, there has been no Congressional approval despite being active far more than the 90 days envisioned by the War Powers Resolution. As we have noted in the past, ISIS is not the same organization as Al Qaeda-- the two even fight each other. Thus, the 2001 AUMF does not cover any deployments to Iraq or Syria. Also, because the US claimed it would have all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, any troops sent there after that time should specifically be authorized by Congressional action. The President gave authority to send about 4000 more troops, even though the official count of 8400 did not reflect the actual numbers stationed there.*-5

We sent two letters to Governor Kitzhaber, in January 2013 and April 2014, and received no reply, while roughly 1000 Oregonians were dispatched to Afghanistan and, thankfully, most of them made it back alive.

Once again, we hope to meet with your or your staff about this issue, and would be encouraged to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Thank you,

Dan Handelman for
  Peace and Justice Works (Portland, OR)

Michael Carrigan
  Community Alliance of Lane County

Michael Taylor and Linda Marshall, parents of Iraq combat Veteran
  members Military Families Speak Out* (Portland)

Ed Pool
  Veterans for Peace, Chapter 141 Bandon, Oregon

Allen Hallmark
  Veterans for Peace Rogue Valley Chapter 156 (Medford/Grants Pass/Rogue River)

Bart Bolger
  Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132 (Corvallis)

S. Jenika, President
  Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 (Portland)

Dan Shea, board member (from Oregon)
  Veterans For Peace (national organization)

Kelly Campbell, Executive Director
  Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Leah Bolger
  Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-Corvallis

Elizabeth Hallett, Chair
  Peace House, Ashland Oregon

Yamhill Valley Peacemakers (McMinnville)

Brenda B. Gould for
  Citizens for Peace & Justice (Medford)

Our Revolution Southern Oregon

John Grueschow
  War Resisters League--Portland

Pastor Mark Knutson
  Augustana Lutheran Church (Portland)

Recruiter Watch PDX

Gerry Foote
  St. Luke Lutheran Church Peace & Justice Group (Portland)

Rob Ranta
  Portland Peaceful Response Coalition

and others

For the previous letters, see:

* organization listed for identification purposes only

*1- Ultimately five of the eight candidates/parties expressed philosophical or outright support to keep Oregon's Guard stateside; the only candidates/parties who did not reply were from the Republican, Democratic and Working Families parties; respondents were from the Libertarian Party, Constitution Party, Independent Party, Oregon Progressive Party, and Pacific Green Party.
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*2--Oregon National Guard supports firefighting efforts for Chetco Bar Fire (US Army 9/11/17)
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*3-US Is Sending 400 More Troops to Syria (NY Times 3/917)
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*4-(a) US troops are on the ground in Yemen for offensive against al-Qaeda militants (Wash Post 8/4/17)
(b) The Pentagon wants to keep ground troops in Libya and go on offense in Somalia (Military Times 3/24/17)
(c) Dozens More US Troops Deployed to Somalia (VOA 4/14/17)
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*5-US Has Thousands More Troops in Afghanistan Than the Pentagon Admits (NBC 8/23/17)
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2016 letter
  (to gubernatorial candidates)

2015 letter  

2013/2014 letters  


Peace and Justice Works
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065

Page posted October 5, 2017


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