refusing to kill civilians is not cowardice. it is bravery.

The one-year anniversary of war resister Rodney Watson taking refuge in a Vancouver church was all over the Canadian media, especially, of course, in Vancouver. In response to this story in The Province, responses were generally unsupportive. That's not surprising, given what we know about comment sections in online media - and given that the Harper government has paid operatives trolling the internet.

Here's a great letter in response to one of those misinformed comments.
Comparing war resister Rodney Watson to a firefighter not wanting to go into a burning building is ridiculous. The true analogy is that Watson did not want to be a firefighter who was forced to set fire on people after he already served his contract. He signed up to defend the U.S., but saw instead the Iraq War was based on lies, so he followed the Nuremberg principles and refused to participate in war crimes.

For this he has the support of the majority of Canadians and of Parliament, and would be a free man were it not for the minority Stephen Harper government's refusal to respect democracy.

Shame on the Harper government for trying to separate a veteran from his family and deport him to jail for standing with Canada against the Iraq War.

Jesse McLaren, Toronto

We cannot point out often enough that "he signed a contract" is not an adequate defence against war crimes. Military contracts are written to protect the interests of the military. Human rights and human life are more important.

It also cannot be repeated often enough that many of the war resisters honoured the full terms of their contracts, but the US military did not.

Short, factual letters such as this make a difference. Why not take five minutes and write one to your local newspaper?


M@ said...

The "they signed a contract!!1!" argument is so galling. My question in response is whether they'd like to be criminally prosecuted for breaking their own employment contract. "But but but that's different!" is the usual reply.


laura k said...

The "they signed a contract!!1!" argument is so galling.

In my experience, this is THE most common "argument". If you have nothing to do, you can spend all day responding to this notion on various internet forums.

allan said...


My question is whether they'd like to be criminally prosecuted for seeking a divorce. I mean, what part of "'til death do you part" don't you understand?!?!?

impudent strumpet said...

Could use that as a talking point. Compare it with what happens if you back out of other kinds of contracts IRL. (I don't actually know what happens.)

laura k said...

Yes, absolutely could use as a talking point. To my knowledge, there is no other contract that is a felony to break!

Also worth noting that many of the war resisters did NOT break contracts. Rodney Watson, for example, served his full tour - three years (which is itself insanely long - Canadian Forces do not have contracts nearly as long). THEN he was involuntarily re-upped. So the "broken contract" trope does not apply from any angle to him.

But yes, a good point to raise.

Cornelia said...

Good to know that the Harper and Kenney Government has hired in some trolls!!

Human rights and human life are more important.

O yeah. I agree. There is a higher law and that is human right and human dignity.