"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

August 24, 2006

Chris Lehane of Majority Report has a good idea:

Here is what [Phil] Angelides could say to change the course of this election:

"My fellow Californians–I am here today to announce my first act on my first day as Governor of California. Immediately upon being sworn in, in my capacity as Commander-in-Chief, I will order the California National Guard out of Iraq.

"The legal basis for my order is a 1990 Supreme Court decision where the Court, in acknowledging federal government’s power to call up the National Guard, made clear that governors retain the right to refuse such deployments if the troop deployments "interfere with the State Guard's capacity to respond to local emergencies,” such as fires, earthquakes, and homeland security concerns.

"With almost a third of California’s National Guard being deployed in Iraq, other units serving extended tours in Afghanistan, ongoing deployments in the Balkans, the Guard’s expanded security role in protecting the state’s bridges and skies post-9/11 and the recent request for Guard units to be deployed along the Mexican border–the California National Guard is stretched way beyond its capacity and not able to perform its state functions. The heavy demands on the National Guard have caused members to leave at alarming rates. Recruitment goals have fallen short, leaving the Guard five thousand soldiers below its authorized strength, and some units are now classified as not ready for action. California today is at risk because we do not have the Guard to deal with major fires, a significant earthquake, or ongoing homeland security challenges.

"But more than anything–California, which has lost more men and women in Iraq than any other state, should not shed another drop of blood in Iraq. This President took us to war based on cooked up intelligence and put our troops on the ground without any plan or strategy to protect them. And now our Generals are telling us that Iraq is heading towards a civil war. As Commander-in-Chief of the California National Guard, I have an ethical and moral duty to protect our troops and protect our state. I will not–I cannot–stand by and allow another son or daughter of California die in Iraq on my watch. It is time to bring our state’s soldiers home."

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