Testimony in support of Safeguard the Guard by Jane Kavaloski - Janesville

On March 9, 2010, more than 30 veterans and supporters turned out in support of Assembly Bill 203, a bill to give the Wisconsin Governor the authority to review all federal orders for Wisconsin Guard troops, and to refuse any deployment order determined to be unlawful. Below is the written testimony of one of the participants, Jane Kavaloski of Dodgeville.

 

Dear Members of the Assembly Veteran Affairs Committee,

I am Jane H. Kavaloski - the coordinator of the “Iowa County Grassroots Citizens for Peace.”  But I am not here to talk with you about “peace.”   I am here to talk with you about integrity and the rule of law. 

I spent 30 years in public education in this state. At one point I served on the Superintendent’s Task Force on Civics Education.  In that committee we discussed how vital it was for students to understand and respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Likewise it is important for students to know something that all of you know very well - how a bill is created and passed.  But students also must understand that besides these structures and procedures of government there must be values and ethics. For our country to remain truly democratic there must be integrity and the rule of law in the legislative process. 

Imbedded in Assembly Bill 203 you, the elected representatives of the citizens of Wisconsin, have a “teachable moment.”  In the deployment of our Wisconsin National Guard integrity has been lost and the law is being violated.  You are in a position to educate not only the citizens of Wisconsin, but also the citizens of every state.  Here is the lesson to be learned:

In 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force by the Guard in Iraq had two missions:
    1) to eliminate the alleged threat posed by weapons of mass destruction
    2) to remove Saddam Hussein from office

The “teachable moment” before you involves three dimensions:

    1) The mission is over, the authorization has expired, but the Wisconsin National Guard is still being deployed to Iraq.  Their deployments are no longer legal because there is no valid congressional authorization. 

    2) The integrity of our Constitution needs to be restored.  Congress is the only branch of government that can declare war.  Congress has not done this since WW II.

    3) The responsibility for the Guard is a shared responsibility between the state and the Federal government.  We need to re-establish that balance of power by having the governor review each National Guard federalization order to determine if it is legal.

The challenge before you is the question of integrity and the rule of law. The women and men who serve in the Wisconsin Guard demonstrate a willingness to make grave sacrifices in service to their country.  Assembly Bill 203 insures that their deployments are the result of a principled, legal democratic process. 

Your vote for Assembly Bill 203 is a vote to bring integrity and the rule of law back to the use our Wisconsin Guard. This is a teachable moment – for Wisconsin and the rest of the United States.

Thank you,

Jane H. Kavaloski