Release – State Senator Nathan Dahm (R-OK) Introduces ‘Defend the Guard’ Legislation

December 14, 2020
 Veterans Group Praises Nathan Dahm for Introduction of ‘Defend the Guard’ Legislation
Oklahoma Becames Latest State to Join Growing Veteran-Led Movement

(Boise, Idaho) — BringOurTroopsHome.US, a bipartisan group of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, today praised State Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) for introducing legislation requiring that Oklahoma’s National Guard units cannot be deployed for foreign combat or combat support duties unless Congress has formally adopted a declaration of war as provided by the U.S. Constitution.
State Sen. Dahm’s action coincides with the creation of the first National Guard, which celebrated its 384th birthday on Saturday.

“As veterans, we strongly support the U.S. taking strong military action when necessary to defend American lives and interests,” said the group’s founder, former Idaho Army National Guard Sgt. Dan McKnight, who served 18 months in Afghanistan. “We thank Senator Dahm for acting to ensure that when Oklahoma’s men and women in uniform are involved, it’s done the right way, the way the Constitution provides.”

“Senator Dahm’s bill simply says that before ordering Oklahoma’s National Guard personnel to leave their families for a foreign combat zone, Congress should first accept the responsibility, from the comforts of their home, of doing their job,” he said. “We shouldn’t ask National Guard personnel to have the courage to put their boots on the ground until Congress at least has the courage to first put their names on the line.”

McKnight urged Oklahoma residents to call their state legislators in support of the bill, which is based on what’s been dubbed “Defend the Guard” legislation first introduced in West Virginia by state Del. Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock County), a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy who served as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

Nothing in ‘Defend the Guard’ would prevent the governor from mobilizing the National Guard to respond to a natural disaster or maintain civil order inside the state.

In 2019 McKnight’s group organized a bipartisan conference in Washington, D.C. of lawmakers who plan to introduce the same bill in multiple state legislatures this coming session. They hope to exercise the power of state governments under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to check and balance the power of the federal government in its use of state-based National Guard troops for long-term combat deployments.

McKnight said the legislation is just one element of the group’s effort to persuade the President and Congress to bring U.S. troops home from nearly two-decade old wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries. He points to numerous public opinion polls over the last two years which show a growing majority of support for the move among active duty military personnel, veterans, and the public at large.

  • A new poll in November 2020 found that 68 percent of young Republicans, an equal share of young Democrats, and 71 percent of young Independents agree the U.S. should stay out of international conflicts and only become involved when we are forced to, Marketing Research Foundation announced.
  • In July, a poll commissioned by the Charles Koch Institute found that among 2,000 U.S. adults, 44 percent said they strongly support and 30 percent somewhat support (74 percent total) bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq; similarly, 46 percent said they strongly support and 30 percent somewhat support (76 percent total) bringing troops home from Afghanistan.
  • In April, Concerned Veterans for America released a poll which found that 73 percent of the 1,500 veterans and military families polled supported full and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
  • In January, YouGov released a poll finding that roughly 70 percent of all Americans surveyed supported withdrawal of U.S. troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Last October, Rasmussen Reports found that 58 percent of likely U.S. voters and 69 percent of Republicans agreed with President Trump’s statement that “it’s time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.”
  • In June 2019, Pew Research Center found that 64 percent of veterans and 62 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, while 58 percent of veterans and 59 percent of Americans said the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting.
  • In April 2019, Concerned Veterans for America found that 60 percent of veterans and military families supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan – meaning support for that position grew by 13 points from April 2019 to April 2020.
  • In January 2019, a Politico poll found that 81 percent of Trump voters supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
  • Over Veterans Day in November 2019, a poll by Stars and Stripes magazine found that 84 percent of military service personnel and veterans agreed that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have “been going on too long.”

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