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An utterly empty symbolic gesture

A group of anti-war organizations in Massachusetts are pushing a petition around the state. If they get enough signatures, next November the voters in Massachusetts will vote on whether or not the governor should attempt to bring Massachusetts National Guard units brought home from Iraq.

It's an utterly futile gesture. The National Guard is under the command of the Governor, who is constitutionally the Commander In Chief -- until the Guard is federalized, at which point it comes under the command of the President for the duration of the call-up.

And there is absolutely nothing the Governor can do about that -- no matter how many petitions the anti-war group circulates.

But on the positive side, while they are carrying out this exercise in futility, they're not out putting surrender flags on veterans' graves or causing other problems...


Comments (11)

Sounds just like San Franci... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Sounds just like San Francisco's mayor saying that their new gun ban was probably unconstitutional, but it's the gesture that counts.

for the next 3 years while ... (Below threshold)
Stan:

for the next 3 years while the media repeats the dems vs. reps meme, remember, there is just one pro government political party and no matter how you vote you will get a larger and more intrusive government - the american republic is dead and we are ruled by one governing political class hidden behind a false difference between dems and reps.

I sent that Maine "peace" g... (Below threshold)
gemma:

I sent that Maine "peace" group an email voicing my disgust with their arrogant and foolish statement and they responded that the white flag means "let's talk" and that I have relied too much on John Wayne for my history lessons. I replied with an article on the origin of the white flag as a sign of surrender and stated that I would be proud to have John Wayne be my History Professor.....haven't heard back yet. They are probably running through fields of flowers singing songs from the sixties. When they return perhaps I will be further educated.

Okay, so I don't agree with... (Below threshold)
Earl:

Okay, so I don't agree with the particulars of the petition, etc in this case, but what exactly is so wrong about an empty symbolic gesture? Sure it doesn't acocmplish anything -- but neither does flying a US flag or having one of those "Support the Troops" magnets on your car.

Symbolic gestures are there to express one's own personal beliefs. If doing so doesn't affect others in the process, why exactly is this a problem? Why are we even talking about this? Get over it, people.

What bothers me is that the... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

What bothers me is that they deny that withdrawing troops is what it is, surrendering to terrorists.

It's the utter impossibilit... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

It's the utter impossibility of what they are calling for that makes it ripe for mockery. While they're at it, why not a petition to outlaw hurricanes, change the year to exactly 364 days, and call for the Supreme Court to impeach Bush?

J.

The petition is not ... (Below threshold)
Earl:

The petition is not demanding the Governor withdraw the troops. That, as you say, would be impossible. It's about he or she working to bring the troops home. Presumably pressing the President, etc. Not like it'll work, but it's no "utter impossibility", and is nothing near the anti-hurricane measure you compared it to.

Nothing but another attempt... (Below threshold)

Nothing but another attempt by the anti-American left to undermine the war effort. These people aren't pacifists or "peace"-protestors. They're pro-communist and anti-American "imperialism". Just go to any of their websites and follow the links. Watch any peace demonstration and see the stands with communist propaganda. Futile gestures yes. They're not going to accomplish anything except to further their agenda through propaganda, so perhaps their purpose isn't so futile. Regardless, these people, and their "white flags of discussion", with the discussion being on the terms of SURRENDER, make me sick.

"More than 70,000... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

"More than 70,000 Guard members are now deployed overseas -- the largest use of those forces since World War II." Many veterans may have some sympathy with the National Guard if they are underfunded and underequiped in Iraq.
In its 1990 ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of the federal government to call up National Guard troops. But it also said that governors could refuse a federal request if a deployment would impair its ability to serve or train for emergencies at home, a loophole that governors could use to keep troops on the home front," so I'm not sure how empty or futile this protest is if a new governor is elected in Massachusetts in 2006.
But as an incontestable patriotic, utterly empty, symbolic gesture this is the last year George W (59) could return to complete his Air National Guard service.. "For prior service, the maximum age is 59.... but as long as the member is able to complete 20 years of creditable service for retirement by age 60,"(next summer for Bush) so I guess it this would be even emptier gesture than I first hoped.

"governors could refuse a f... (Below threshold)
LJD:

"governors could refuse a federal request if a deployment would impair its ability to serve or train for emergencies at home"

Like preventing MA citizens from owning guns...
or supporting same-sex marriages.

They have National Guard in... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

They have National Guard in Massachusetts? I thought they didn't believe in that sort of thing. What do they arm them with -- water balloons?




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