Testimony in support of Safeguard the Guard by Steve Books - Mt. Horeb

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, Steve Books of Mt. Horeb, who served in the Wisconsin National Guard from 1980-1985.


Hello, Good Afternoon.  Thank you for this opportunity to speak.  My name is Steve Books.  I’m a former Wisconsin Army National Guardsman who was in the Wisconsin Guard officially from 1980 to 1985 as a Radio/Teletype Operator. In late 1985, I transferred to the Texas Army National Guard in Houston Texas due to a Job Change and finished out my National Guard Service there in Texas, and after the job ended in Texas, I returned to Wisconsin in 1986.

I joined the Guard in 1980 due to being somewhat adventurous and a push from a friend to join together, and enlist together, but my friend wasn’t able to pass his physical due to a knee injury. I was concerned with helping out to serve Wisconsin in some war, or form, so I signed on the dotted line.

I’m very concerned today, however, on how our Wisconsin Army National Guard is directly serving our State of Wisconsin. I’m in favor of this Bill, Assembly Bill 203, which would serve as a measure of Checks and Balances.  After the September 11, 2001 attack, many young people signed up in the military and Nation Guard to serve their country as a way to help protect our nation as a way of patriotic duty.  This form of patriotic duty is something that I call Military Patriotism.  Military Patriotism is one way to channel patriotism although there are many other forms of patriotic duty as Ameri Corps, Peace Corps, or some type of volunteer work that aids communities.

When the Iraq war started, were National Guard units pre-disposed to have an obligation to go there?
Can you say what really needs to be stated that the war in Iraq was a fraudulent and illegal war?  I can.

Any Military Patriotism must be channeled to a well thought out direction.  Assembly Bill 203 would help insure that our National Treasure, or what our own Governor Doyle called “The Greatest Citizen Militia in the World” during his January 26 “State of the State Address, is used with clear thinking and legal means, especially when called out of the State of Wisconsin for any reason.

Yes, when a person signs on the “dotted line,” you’re expected to serve.  But there is a fine line for an expectation to serve legally, and with an expected weighing of the purpose of what gains will be made for your service. As I mentioned, Military Patriotism is a form of patriotically serving for patriotic reasons.  There are many forms of Military Patriotism within the military branches.  Some branches of the Military are more militaristic that others.  All branches however, must be used with the utmost concern regarding deployment.

Looking back, has the war toll in Iraq and Afghanistan really been worth the total number of those service men and women Killed, that has far exceed the number of those people killed in the Twin Towers, for a breech of an airline ticket counter, that still continues to be problem?

In conclusion, there are many ways to serve our Nation. My bottom line is that any form of Patriotism, especially Military Patriotism, must be a well thought out process within our checks and balances form of government.  Assembly Bill 203 would help insure that system of Checks and Balances.


Steve Books