A Maine State Senator has introduced a bill that would require an official declaration of war by the U.S. Congress before members of Maine’s National Guard can be deployed to foreign theaters.
In practice, passing the bill would mean the recall of all Maine National Guardsmen currently deployed abroad.
“Our Maine national guardsmen are supposed to be here to help our state in times of crisis — not sent abroad for decades on end to police the world,” said State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin), the sponsor of the bill.
“Over these last twenty years, the men and women of the fifty state national guards have accounted for nearly half of the active duty troops in Washington, D.C.’s undeclared forever wars in the Middle East,” he said. “The Constitution requires Congress to declare war before sending our guardsmen into foreign battlefields.”
“Since the federal politicians won’t do their jobs, it is past time for state legislatures to do theirs by defending the guard and bringing our men and women in uniform home to their families,” he said.
A spokesman for the Maine National Guard did not respond to an inquiry about the impact such a bill might have and the current whereabouts of Maine’s National Guard forces.
Members of Maine’s National Guard have served in every American military conflict since 1820, according to the organizations website.
The service of Maine’s guardsmen has been especially prominent in the recently concluded police action in Afghanistan.
In 2013, The Economist reported that Maine had lost more veterans in Afghanistan than any other state.
The legislation Brakey has introduced is based on model legislation prepared by Bring Our Troops Home, an organization that works with state lawmakers across the country to compel Congress to assert its war-declaring authority. The organization’s ultimate aim is to restore the principle of limited government to American foreign policy.
The U.S. government has not formally declared war since World War II, but that hasn’t stopped multiple presidents from engaging in sometimes decades-long military adventures costing America greatly in blood and treasure.