(I borrowed heavily from the Launch Campaign Press Packet for this report.)|
The Oregon Campaign begins with a news conference in the Capitol press room (#43 in the basement) at 12:00 noon, followed by delivery of the petitions. The Campaign, part of the national "Bring the Guard Home! It's the Law" campaign, seeks to prevent the upcoming deployment of roughly 3000 Oregon Guard members to Iraq because the terms of the Congressional authorization have expired.
Audio of News Conference
A bill has been drafted in order to enable the Governor to refuse a federal call up unless it is being done "pursuant to a constitutionally authorized federal directive" (LC 1122). A companion resolution will declare that the Authorizations for Iraq an Afghanistan are not valid. The proposed measures, once combined, should empower Governor Kulongoski to prevent the Oregon Guard from the deployment planned for this spring.
The Conference was moderated by Joann Bowman, Executive Director of Oregon Actionand a former Oregon State Representative from Portland.
Joann first introduced Dan Handelman, who is a founding member of Peace and Justice Works in Portland, as well as the state coordinator of the Campaign to Keep Oregon's Guard in Oregon.
Dan gives a brief synopsis of the campaign, why many feel that it is necessary and what they hope to achieve. Legislators in over a dozen states plan legislation ending the unlawful overseas deployment of their National Guard units. The legislation limits Guard units to service within their respective states, unless called into federal service following a declaration of war or a duly enacted federal statute.
Guard units currently in Iraq are there under the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) having expired, the legislation recognizes, there is no lawful basis under which state Guard units may be released into national service for deployment to Iraq.
The first speaker is Adele Kubein from Corvallis of Military Families Speak Out-Oregon, the mother of an Oregon Guardsmember who was permanently disabled in Iraq.
Following Adele is Benji Lewis, a community activist in Corvallis and a current war resister a founding member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Oregon. Lewis is a former Marine Corps Corporal who served in Haditha and Fallujah, Iraq.
And last to speak is Dan Mayhew of Portland, the father of an Oregon National Guard 41st Brigade soldier who is scheduled to be deployed for the second time in the spring.
Following the presentations Joann opens the floor to questions, which are for the most part answered by Dan Handelman.
Contacts: Dan Handelman, Peace and Justice Works (Portland) 503-236-3065
Leah Bolger, Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 (Corvallis) 541-207-7761
After the presentations and a short question and answer period, the speakers and other representatives from the 53 organizations involved in the campaign delivered copies of the petitions to President of the Senate Peter Courtney, Speaker of the House Dave Hunt, and Governor Ted Kulongoski, and to each of the 88 other representatives and senators in the state capitol.
The National Campaign, active in 18 states, on this same day held its own Launch Event News Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Representing Oregon at that event, Leah Bolger of FONT COLOR="#6633cc">Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 (Corvallis) sought to tie the national message, the restoration of war making powers to the Congress and not the President, to the local event.
The photographs accompanying this report are of an an ongoing vigil camped on the Capitol steps since November of 2008. It was initiated by Michele Darr, who, along with her support team, plan to continue through the winter and on into the new legislative session.
Salem-News.com Article on the Vigil