Thursday, August 21, 2008

War Objectors Need Our Help

Robin Long
Canada has a long tradition of accepting U. S. war resisters. During the Vietnam era they took in more than 50,000 Americans whose conscience would not allow them to kill or take part in a war they did not support.
Times have changed, mostly due to the current conservative government in power in Canada. Going against the wishes of the Canadian Parliament and the majority of its people, the government is now deporting U. S. resisters of the Iraq war. Robin Long was sent back in July 08 and is currently undergoing court martial. He is likely to spend years in prison. Corey Glass and his family will probably be deported in September. He almost assuredly will face the same harsh and unjust treatment. Hundreds more will follow.
The irony is that the Canadian government made the same decision these resisters later made to not take part in the Iraq war. These men and women are not criminals; they are soon to be prisoners of conscience. While there are procedures available to U. S. military members to avoid war and killing, such as applying for Conscientious Objector status, in the modern military that's having trouble filling its ranks, these applications are regularly denied.
While the root of the problem lies in U. S. by trying to force men and women to violate their fundamental beliefs, it is Canada who is now ensuring that they will spend much of their young lives in prison by forcing them to return. It does take courage to resist, and they deserve our support.
The following link to a Courage to Resist web page gives a sample letter and the addresses to Canadian government officials. In addition, this problem needs to be addressed by our Congress, so that U. S. military members have other options than defecting to another country when killing and war violates their fundamental beliefs.
Peace, Wisdom, Heart!

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