News Release

Baltimore: Veterans Groups Call for Withdrawal of National Guard

Two national veterans organizations, Veterans For Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, are calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Maryland National Guard from the streets of Baltimore.

MICHAEL McPHERSON, michaelvfp at gmail.com, @vfpnational
MATT HOWARD, mattwhoward at ivaw.org, @ivaw

McPhearson is executive director of Veterans For Peace. He said today: “We are horrified to see military weapons, vehicles and equipment deployed in U.S. cities against U.S. citizens who are reacting to a long history of state-sanctioned violence and appalling economic and social conditions. … We are highly concerned, as we approach the 45th anniversary of Kent State this May 4th and Jackson State this May 15th, that we will see another example of nervous and fearful National Guard troops shooting and possibly killing people in the streets of this nation.” See the statement from that group.

Howard is national coordinator for Iraq Veterans Against the War. The group said in a statement “IVAW Calls on the MD National Guard to Stand Down in Baltimore“: “As veterans who have deployed to and served in support of occupations abroad, we see some of the same tactics and military equipment being used by police against the people of Baltimore, just as it was used against the people of Ferguson and Oakland. The increased militarization of our foreign policy and our domestic policing, coupled with racist violence perpetuated by our government, has to stop. The people of Baltimore who are demanding systemic change should be responded to with dialogue not an escalation of force.

“We encourage National Guard members across the country, many of whom we have served with, to begin a conversation on how they will respond when it becomes their turn to be mobilized against their own communities.