Monday, January 15, 2007

Hell no, they won't go

American war resisters are on the move... north.

The "surge" of 21,500 troops (anyone else notice that number keeps creeping up?) into Iraq is expected to be accompanied by a smaller surge of war resisters heading to Canada. Some of the troops being deployed in the "surge" have already done one or two (or even 3 or 4) tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, some of them are saying "HELL NO".

"Officially" the Canadian government has been less than welcoming to the resisters, not surprising from a conservative government that likes to emulate the Bush administration. Unofficially, most Canadians sympathize with the resisters' plight, especially the ones who went through it all themselves 40-or so years ago.

The situation today is a little different than it was in the 60s. Back then military service was mandatory ("the draft"), and unless you were rich or well-connected (like George W), or could weasel deferment after deferment (like Dick Cheney) it meant you were cannon fodder for Vietnam. That's what sent the students into the streets protesting.

Nobody's forced to join today's all-volunteer military, but the Hotel California-like "stop-loss" policy means that once you've joined, the length of a tour can be extended indefinitely. As can the number of deployments. Refusal to deploy can mean prison for desertion. But is the military truly all-volunteer if a soldier can't walk away from it as easily as he joined up?

Update: If you can provide temporary housing for a war resister, please contact

Tom or Christine at 647.393.3096
or Leave a message at the War Resisters Support Campaign office: 416.598.1222 * _resisters@sympatico.ca_