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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

November 5, 2021

To: Governor Kate Brown

Re: Deployment of Oregon National Guard to undeclared war zones

Governor Brown

At least since 2008, peace groups in Oregon have been urging our Governors not to send the Guard overseas for combat and support missions in countries against which Congress has not declared war. Many of the groups were 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in the 2009 effort to Keep Oregon's Guard in Oregon, hoping to prevent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan under the outdated 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force.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 that year, 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, continue its "over the horizon" presence in Afghanistan, or for that matter have a presence 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 provide support for the medical system in public health crises such as the coronavirus pandemic. Natural disasters will continue to multiply as climate change keeps threatening our planet, and we may face more pandemics in the years to come as well.

A number of organizations wrote to you in October 2020 after it was reported that six of Oregon's 13 helicopters normally used to fight wildfires were deployed in Afghanistan. Our state is again facing major wildfires this year. Many of these same organizations sent you letters in 2017, 2019 and 2020 asking you to keep Oregon's National Guard here to protect the residents of this state.

Now that the military has withdrawn its physical footprint from Afghanistan, and the President has promised to repurpose the presence of troops in Iraq from a combat role to an advisory one, it is a good time to set a firm policy that Oregon's Guard will not take part in any current or future deployments without a formal declaration of war from Congress. Authorizations for Use of Military Force have proven to be open-ended and easily exploited to maintain a war footing with no reconsideration of the policy that led to the AUMFs in the first place.

As we have written before, we are thankful that you did not send the National Guard to participate in crowd control during the 2020 racial justice uprisings in Portland, and that you would not allow President Trump to send the Guard to the Mexican border to support his prejudiced and often racist immigration policies.

We are sending this letter to you about a week ahead of Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day, whose initial purpose was to declare an end to all wars. Oregonians should take the lead in ending the centuries-old reliance on violence to resolve conflict and instead Keep Oregon's Guard in Oregon. Though there might be reasonable times when the Guard is asked to help with natural disasters in other states, our point is not to deploy the Guard overseas.

Thank you,

Dan Handelman for
Peace and Justice Works (Portland)

Rural Organizing Project

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

Veterans For Peace, Rogue Valley Chapter 156

Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 (Portland)

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

Kelly Campbell, Executive Director for
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Albany Peace Seekers

Progressive Party of Oregon

Michael Carrigan for
Planet vs. Pentagon (Eugene)

Some Members of the Jewish Community of Portland, Oregon (local organization)

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2020 letter

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 November 5, 2021


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