war resisters: two ways you can help

In light of Bill C-440 in support of US war resisters in Canada, there's a letters-to-the-editor battle raging in several newspapers from BC to St. John's. I've been receiving the letters by email, and let me tell you, the other side is out in full force with mouths foaming.

If you support Bill C-440, and believe people who refused to participate in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq should be welcome in Canada, please take a few minutes and write to your local newspaper.

Since the right-wing's main talking point amounts to "...but they volunteered," you might want to address that non-issue.

One, soldiers volunteer to protect and defend their country, not to invade and kill a civilian population, and not to blindly follow illegal orders. International law recognizes that it is not only a soldier's right to refuse illegal orders, but his or her responsibility.

Two, many of the war resisters volunteered, served, and have no legal way to leave the military. They didn't volunteer to be owned for the rest of their lives.

And finally, why is conscription vs volunteer even an issue? It wasn't in the Vietnam era. Thousands of the war resisters Canada welcomed in the 1960s and 1970s had volunteered for service. When they saw what was really happening in Vietnam, they changed their minds, but the US military wouldn't let them leave. Canada let them in - and let them stay.

Another theme is that allowing war resisters to stay in Canada is somehow an insult to Canadian troops. But Canada refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq. The vast majority of Canadians oppose the US war against Iraq. Canada didn't force its troops to fight that war. Welcoming Iraq War resisters to Canada has no bearing on the Canadian forces - or on any other soldier who serves willingly.

Please take five minutes and write a letter to the editor of your local paper. If you don't know the address, look on the website. Small-town newspapers are as important as their big city cousins.

The other thing you can do to help is to either donate $10 or $20, and/or circulate the link for our new Fundable campaign. Please post it on your own blog, on Facebook, Twitter, to email lists you're on. So far the Fundable campaign is going nowhere. We need the money to pay our legal bills, so war resisters won't be deported.

Supporting war resisters is a concrete way you can support peace.

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