responses to rosie dimanno's war cry

I didn't link to Rosie DiManno's recent column berating the war resisters and those who support them. She basically said, hey, this is war, you don't like blowing off doors and dragging people away in the middle of the night, bombing innocent civilians, that's too bad, I guess you're not man enough for it.

See for yourself; I'm not far off.

The Star published one letter in favour of DiManno's column, and these three against. Two of the three were written by Campaigners and peace activists. (The third might be, too, I just don't know that guy.)
Rosie DiManno's job description for combat troops ought to be part of the pitch in the recruitment drive for the Canadian Armed Forces. "'A score of young men brandishing weapons ... descending on a sleeping family in the middle of the night, blowing up the front door ...' This is what combat troops do ... That's just a fact of war or counter-insurgency." She has no sympathy for those like American deserter Joshua Key who "... don't have it in them ..." to do what it takes to be a real soldier in a place like Iraq.

The recent history of the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrates that many of us, whether Dutch or American or Canadian, have it within us to behave exactly as DiManno would have combat troops do. The questions are at what point counter-insurgency becomes occupation and what occupying forces have to do to control a population. Occupation isn't combat. Whether a soldier confronting that fact deserts or sucks it up and does what everyone else is doing is a decision that has ramifications not only for that soldier but also for the community the soldier calls home.

If a man in that situation decides to come to Canada, he hasn't failed a test. He has passed it.

Jim Maloy, Barrie, Ont.


I feel I must comment on Rosie DiManno's column regarding Iraq war resister Joshua Key. She disagrees with Justice Richard Barnes's recent ruling that the Immigration and Refugee Board erred in rejecting Key's claim as a refugee, writing that Barnes was "indict[ing] the entire U.S. military of something just short of war crimes."

Barnes is simply reflecting the majority of world opinion with respect to the war in Iraq. The majority of people all over the planet soundly rejected the war in the run-up to the invasion in 2003, soundly rejected the stated rationale for it (weapons of mass destruction), and endorse former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan's statement that the invasion violated international law.

The large majority of Canadians continue to oppose the war in Iraq as illegal and immoral, and now a solid majority of Canadians support U.S. soldiers who refuse to fight there, according to pollster Angus Reid.

The House of Commons passed a motion on June 3 calling on the government to allow soldiers like Key to stay in Canada. Barnes is in step with Canadians on this issue. DiManno is clearly not.

Giles Hodge, Toronto


Five years after it began, the war in Iraq has been a complete disaster. And it remains illegal. A recent poll indicates that 82 per cent of Canadians oppose the Iraq war, with 59 per cent of Americans backing our government's decision to refuse to participate.

Many of the U.S. war resisters seeking refuge in Canada, like Joshua Key, have served in Iraq where they witnessed widespread abuse and human rights violations.

These young men and women show incredible courage for refusing to be a part of it, and should be allowed to stay in Canada. But Rosie DiManno dismisses their accounts, explaining that "this is what combat troops do."

Thankfully, the Geneva Conventions don't share that logic. If only more soldiers like Key had the chance to share their experiences, we might be moved to do more to end the war in Iraq instead of making excuses for it.

James Clark, Toronto

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