(Boise, Idaho) – On Friday Bring Our Troops Home, a veterans advocacy organization founded by veterans of the Global War on Terror and their civilian allies, condemned the Biden administration’s decision to deploy National Guard units to Ukraine at a time of political instability and military threat.
This week 165 National Guardsmen from Florida’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team deployed to western Ukraine to assist in training the Ukrainian military. The Biden administration has given assurances that American service members will not be participating in combat, however, if Russia ramps up its military intervention in Ukraine while there is an American presence, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin added that he “won’t speculate on what could happen in that instance.”
“Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it the correct thing to do,” said Sgt. Dan McKnight, who founded Bring Our Troops Home in 2019. “It is within the authority of the federal government to deploy National Guards units overseas for training missions. But sending American service members into a country which has been involved in a low-level war with a nuclear superpower since 2014 is not just bad policy, it’s laying a tripwire. President Biden is wittingly or not setting our country up for World War III.”
“It should not be the perogative of the United States to send our Armed Forces, especially reserve units like the National Guard, into foreign countries with whom we have no formal alliance or national security interest, and who have longstanding border disputes with one of our primary rivals,” continued McKnight, who served in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007.
To protect the integrity of the National Guard, Bring Our Troops Home has worked with legislators across the country to introduce “Defend the Guard” legislation at the state-level. If passed, such a bill would prohibit the deployment of a state’s National Guard units into active combat without a formal declaration of war by Congress, as required by Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
“Defend the Guard” is on track to be introduced in over forty states in 2022, and the bill has already been introduced in both the House and Senate for the coming Florida legislative session. It’s primary cosponsors are State Rep. Melony Bell (R-District 56) and State Senator Jason Pizzo (D-District 38).
“Training outside the United States is acceptable and common for the National Guard,” explained Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-District 32). “However, participating in war without a proper declaration of war from Congress is unconstutitional. It’s time for the states to pass ‘Defend the Guard’ legislation to require Congress to put their name on the line before our National Guard troops put their boots on the ground.”
Sabatini has served in the Florida Army National Guard since 2008 and cosponsored “Defend the Guard” legislation during the 2021 session.
“Our organization is incredibly grateful to work with legislators as dedicated to the U.S. Constitution as Melony Bell, Anthony Sabatini, and dozens of others across this great country,” concluded McKnight, whose thirteen year career in the United States military includes time spent in the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, and Idaho National Guard. “It takes a lot of courage to stand up the War Party in Washington DC, who want to see nothing more than our continued sacrifice in endless wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. When someone agrees to become a champion for ‘Defend the Guard,’ it tells me and other veterans that they’re a patriot who puts America, and the lives of our service members, first.”