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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, 2020

To: Governor Kate Brown

Re: Deployment of Oregon National Guard and its equipment

Governor Brown

On September 10, Newsweek reported that 6 of Oregon's 13 helicopters that can be used to fight wildfires were deployed in Afghanistan*-1 as the state faced what you called an unprecedented fire season. A number of organizations sent you letters in 2017 and 2019 asking you to keep Oregon's National Guard from being deployed to undeclared war zones, noting that we need the Guard here to, among other things, fight wildfires. The undersigned Oregon-based organizations urge you to take action to bring those helicopters (and any associated Guard members) home and prevent further misuse of our local military for ongoing and looming US wars. We support your efforts to avoid deploying the Guard to attack Black Lives Matter protestors this summer, and your 2018 statement that you would not send the Guard to the border to support President Trump's xenophobic immigration policies.*-2

Despite President Trump's stated goals to end America's endless wars and bring the troops home, the plans for removing service members from Iraq and Afghanistan both include leaving significant numbers of military personnel in each country.*-3 We are sending this letter to you on October 5, two days before the 19th anniversary of the beginning of the Afghan war. Children born after 9/11 are now old enough to serve in that never-ending conflict. The Iraq war's 18th anniversary is coming up in March. Oregon should not help perpetuate these or any other wars that are being waged on dubious grounds.

At least since 2008, peace groups in Oregon have been urging our Governors not to send the Guard overseas for apparent unconstitutional combat. Many of the groups were also involved in the 2009 effort to Keep Oregon's Guard in Oregon, hoping to prevent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan under the outdated 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force. That campaign included the submission of over 7000 signatures from all over the state urging the legislature to pass a resolution about keeping the Guard home. Because the 2001 AUMF was specific to those responsible for what happened on 9/11, and the 2002 AUMF was about ousting the now-long-dead Saddam Hussein from power, there is no authority for the US to maintain troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, or for that matter in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria or Pakistan.

Oregonians still need to rely on Oregon's National Guard to fight wildfires, conduct search and rescue missions, and handle unexpected events such as setting up temporary medical facilities for the coronavirus pandemic. Natural disasters will continue to multiply as climate change keeps threatening our planet.

We hope that this year's wildfires have convinced you that it is time to take action on this matter. If not we hope you will set up a meeting where we can speak to you or your staff about keeping the Guard-- and their needed equipment-- here in the United States where they are needed.

Thank you,

Dan Handelman for
Peace and Justice Works (Portland)

Leah Bolger, CDR USN (Ret) for
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Corvallis)

Rick Staggenborg, MD, President for
Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132 of Corvallis-Albany

Daniel Shea, President for
Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 Portland

Nancy Greenman for
Albany Peace Seekers

Wes Brain for the
Rogue Valley Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Team

Elizabeth V. Hallett, Executive Director, for
Peace House (Ashland)

Will Layng for
Portland Jobs With Justice

Nathalie Paravicini for
Pacific Green Party of Oregon

Laura Golino de Lovato for
Oak Grove Peace Vigil

Gerry Foote & Cyndy Flock for
St. Luke Lutheran Peace & Justice Group (Portland)

John Grueschow for
War Resisters League Portland

Jack Herbert, core team member for
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee

Natasha Beck for
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Portland)


*1- deployed-afghanistan-1531135

*2-In 2018, Peace and Justice Works followed up to the 2017 letter supporting your decision not to send the Guard to the border and connecting it to the broader issue of keeping the Guard in Oregon.

*3- Iraq-3500 troops to remain troop-presence-in-iraq-to-where-it-was-in-2015
Afghanistan-4500 troops to remain risks-success-of-afghan-taliban-talks/ar-BB18VYrC

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2019 letter

2018 letter

2017 letter

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, 2020


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