Re: Ignatieff did the right thing, Letter, Oct. 6
Letter writer George Pengilley mistakenly believes that U.S. war resisters deported from Canada “will get a short prison term, dishonourable discharge and they can then carry on with life.” I do not feel 15 months in prison is a just sentence for the “crime” of refusing to kill innocent civilians who were never a threat to the U.S. That's how long Robin Long, a war resister deported by the Harper government, served. Additionally, a dishonourable discharge is a life sentence, limiting one's opportunities forever: no student loans, no mortgage, no jobs.
Pengilley says that Canadians are proud of our troops who do their duty. I agree. I am proud of every veteran who recognizes their duty to refuse to participate in war crimes. Haven't we learned the price of soldiers “just following orders”? I am proud to welcome U.S. war resisters to Canada.
Laura Kaminker, Mississauga
Angus Reid has consistently shown that nearly two-thirds of Canadians support American soldiers who stood up to George Bush and the illegal war in Iraq. That's on top of the 82 per cent who think it was a good idea that Canada did not send our troops into Iraq. Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper enthusiastically supported the initial invasion, then issued very weak mea culpas after the war went bad. If politicians can change their minds on the disastrous Iraq war, why can't soldiers who see the horror of the war up close do the same thing?
David C. Fox, York
I was 20 years old before I figured out that wars are started by politicians, fought by soldiers, then settled by the same politicians after a sufficient number of lives have been lost, property destroyed and tears shed. I welcome deserters and wish more soldiers understood that moral responsibility always trumps their signature on a recruiting document.
James Russell, Toronto
George Pengilley thanked Michael Ignatieff regarding Bill C-440. He said Ignatieff finally stood up and showed some Canadian backbone.
Bill C-440 was defeated. Ignatieff and a number of Liberals absented themselves from the House during the vote. Their absence ensured the bill was defeated. I would call that an insult to democracy.
If Ignatieff was opposed to letting American Iraq war resisters stay in Canada, he should have voted against the bill. If he was in favour of having them stay, he should have voted for the bill. Ducking out is not acceptable.
Paul Copeland, Toronto
Let me repeat James Russell for emphasis: I welcome deserters and wish more soldiers understood that moral responsibility always trumps their signature on a recruiting document.