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Monday, February 18, 2008

Encourage Canada to Become a Refuge

From March 13th through the 16th, disenchanted veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars will be in front of Congress, testifying to the atrocities they've seen. They will, hopefully, make a powerful case for immediate withdrawal. You can read more on this upcoming event at IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War).

As with Vietnam, this will surely stir up a great deal of anger on both sides. There will be people who call these soldiers mere cowards but when you hear a little bit of what they've seen, you will understand that they have been forced to view a very different version of the war than what the Bush administration would care to admit. If you'd like to hear what they have to say, there's a video on their front page.

Sadly, many of these troups cannot stomach the war any longer. They say they have seen too little good and too much hypocrisy. However, due to an agreement between Canada and the US government, there is no more refuge to be found in Canada. And, without Canada, there is no escape for the conscientious objector who can be forced back into combat situations or punished severely for refusing to fight.

Certainly Mexico is no friend to the US citizen: They send their own citizens to compete with us in our homeland, and have a tacit agreement with the US government which allows this to continue. No refuge is possible in Mexico. But there still might be in Canada! Nearly two of three Canadians are in favor of U.S. war resisters being allowed to stay according to a recent poll. And yet, the Canadian government still abides by their agreement to send back all conscientious objectors and deserters.

If you would like to do something to help these conscientious objectors, go to Courage to Resist and sign the letter and make a donation, or copy the letter, personalize it, and email it to:

1. Prime Minister Stephen Harper at pm@pm.gc.ca

2. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley at Minister@cic.gc.ca

3. St├ęphane Dion, Liberal Party, at Dion.S@parl.gc.ca

16 comments:

The Lazy Iguana said...

Draft College Republicans. Or better yet, draft the children of the wealthy. THEN see how long the troops stay over there.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, ;o) The Michael Moore skit in 911 where he approached congressman asking them to send their kids to war... priceless!

But I hate the draft with a passion, and couldn't really wish it on anyone. I've also heard some in the military say that they wouldn't want to serve with a draftee because the draftee has entered unwillingly and therefore his/her heart isn't in it.

Latest rumors of the draft: If it does go into effect, women will be drafted too. They are gearing up the war machine, and draft boards are waiting in the wings (to vet each candidate and weed out conscientious objectors, etc.)

No doubt either party could do it, with two different objectives. The Democrats would instill the draft to discourage the war and force the people to rise up against it (at a serious cost of lives) and the Republicans would do it simply to feed the war with cannon fodder. Neither party has the right motives or objectives in this.

Anonymous said...

I find this subject to be a very touchy one, I find it pretty sad that there are troops that have created a group against the war. Current troops see this as a betrayal, whether you think what they are doing over there is right or not, not supporting them is not supporting our freedom and not supporting the people that give their lives for our freedom.

I also think it is pretty silly to say that veterans are "disenchanted" I don't agree with the war completely, (I wish it had been approached in a different way), but I think since we started this we need to see it out to some sort of end, we started this mess we need to make the effort to clean it up.

The American people need to support our troops, no matter what, that goes double for veterans of any war, any reason to not support is purely selfish and the men and women over there are anything but selfish. It truly breaks my heart to see something like what you have posted here today.

Ange

Anonymous said...

I'm going to post this, its rather long but I think it will better highlight how true military members feel-Ange



SGT. Edmund John Jeffer's last few words were some of the most
touching, inspiring and most truthful words spoken since the tragedy of 9/11
- and since our nation went to war.
SGT. Jeffers was a strong soldier and talented writer. He died in
Iraq on September 19, 2007. He was a loving husband, brother and son. His service was more than this country could ever grasp - but the least you can do for the man who sacrificed his life for you ... is listen to what he had to say.
Listen up and pay attention to all of the Cindy Sheehans and Al Frankens of the world. To MSNBC, CNN, and CBS. To all who call themselves
Americans ... Hope Rides Alone.

***************************************************************************
Hope Rides Alone
By Eddie Jeffers
I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady
on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.
I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again...and yet, I too, am just a boy....my age
not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid...because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it
calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.
There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own...but that are necessary for survival. I've made
compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this. Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets...who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not.
And to think, I volunteered for this...
And I am ignorant to the rest of the world...or so I thought.
But even thousands of miles away, in Ramadi , Iraq , the cries and
screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn't fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America , and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the
same people who compare our President to Hitler.
I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al
Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about. It is their right, however, and it is a right that is defended by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls scattered across the world, far from home. I use the word boys and
girls, because that's what they are. In the Army, the average age of the infantryman is nineteen years old. The average rank of soldiers killed in action is Private First Class.
People like Cindy Sheehan are ignorant. Not just to this war, but to the results of their idiotic ramblings, or at least I hope they are. They don't realize its effects on this war. In this war, there are no Geneva
Conventions, no cease fires. Medics and Chaplains are not spared from the enemy's brutality because it's against the rules. I can only imagine the horrors a military Chaplain would experience at the hands of the enemy. The
enemy slinks in the shadows and fights a coward's war against us. It is effective though, as many men and women have died since the start of this war. And the memory of their service to America is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation's news outlets. And every day, the enemy
changes...only now, the enemy is becoming something new. The enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans. The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it.
But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society...and they are becoming our enemy.
Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word "quagmire" around and compare this war to Vietnam . In a way they are right, this war
is becoming like Vietnam . Not the actual war, but in the isolation of
country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war. Like it or not, we are here, some of us for our second, or third times; some even for their fourth and so on. Americans are so
concerned now with politics, that it is interfering with our war.
Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the
Internet...and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations, and sometimes soldiers are even jailed...for doing their job.
It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this. Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good
we've done is thrown in their face? When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq ? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It's all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right.
America has lost its will to fight. It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world. The crazy thing of it all is that the American people have not even been asked to sacrifice a single thing. It's
not like World War Two, where people rationed food, and turned in cars to be made into metal for tanks. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice anything. Unless you are in the military or the family member of a
service member, its life as usual...the war doesn't affect you.
But it affects us. And when it is over, and the troops come home, and they try to piece together what's left of them after their service...where will the detractors be then? Where will the Cindy Sheehans be to comfort and talk to soldiers and help them sort out the last couple
years of their lives, most of which have been spent dodging death and wading through the deaths of their friends? They will be where they always are,
somewhere far away, where the horrors of the world can't touch them. Somewhere where they can complain about things they will never experience in their lifetime; things that the young men and women of America have
willingly taken upon their shoulders.
We are the hope of the Iraqi people. They want what everyone else wants in life: safety, security, somewhere to call home. They want a country
that is safe to raise their children in. Not a place where their children will be abducted, raped, and murdered if they do not comply with the terrorists demands. They want to live on, rebuild and prosper. And America
has given them the opportunity, but only if we stay true to the cause, and see it to its end. But the country must unite in this endeavor...we cannot place the burden on our military alone. We must all stand up and fight,
whether in uniform or not. And supporting us is more than sticking yellow ribbon stickers on your cars. It's supporting our President, our troops and
our cause.
Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, hope rides alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn't.
Let's stop all the political nonsense, let's stop all the bickering, let's stop all the bad news, and let's stand and fight!

Ed Abbey said...

Perhaps this protest wouldn't occur if we went back to a truly volunteer army as the original founders envisioned. Right now, it is voluntary to join but not always to leave, hence the objectors who used to flee to Canada. If they allowed someone to leave the army after a stint in Iraq, instead of forcing them to go back, perhaps this protest wouldn't occur.

Ange - Supporting the troops but not the war is almost impossible to do in the highly political environment. For many years now, I have been beat on by the neo-cons for not supporting the war by being labeled as unpatriotic even if I support the troops. There is no middle ground with them. Likewise, if I tell a liberal that I support the troops, I automatically love Bush. It has been a lose lose situation for me since the war in Iraq began.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ange, dittos to everything Ed said.

As I think you know, I am actually a moderate Republican who identities more w/ Ronald Reagan than with any current leaders. I don't believe he would have EVER sanctioned this war.

Of course many of the troops who are fighting feel betrayed by the ones who are disagreeing with the war. It's a typical human psychological reaction.

Look at it THIS way - if YOU were suddenly kidnapped by the US government and airdropped into a forest fire with the instructions to fight and stop the fire, would you look kindly upon anyone who abandoned you while you were fighting that fire? You wouldn't rejoice that they got away, would you? And yet it doesn't make them wrong if they want to escape something they didn't sign up for.

As Ed points out, MANY troops are being forced to stay so we don't exactly have an all-volunteer army. And among those forced back into bondage, there is a growing resentment. Many others have finally seen what they only knew theoretically before, and they've decided that this isn't so much a war as it is a losing proposition at being The World's Policemen.

If you check out the first site I mentioned, you will see that we are really NOT the hope of the Iraqi people. Well, we are: They hope we'll leave.

Sure there are some good people over there. But again: Are we The World's Policemen? Do we fight the war just because we want to help an oppressed minority? If so, there are many other places in the world that we're needed, too! Forward ho!

This war is breaking us financially (look at our current economic situation which is a direct result of the mess) and it's killing and maiming thousands upon thousands of our youth. And for what? We are not making significant progress.

Yes, the current surge is working. But you'd have to be a fool to think it wouldn't - if you throw enough darts at a dartboard, some will stick to it.

However, we can't keep up this fevered pace forever and when we finally resume 'normal' troop deployment, we'll be right back where you were. Watch and see. And when it happens, remember that I told you so.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ange, P.S. Better that we place these troops on our own borders to stop the ceaseless flood of illegals, which include many terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

Ed, thanks! Dittos all the way.

Bryan said...

Saur: a worthy cause which I will support. A number of years ago I would never have supported such a thing, but as a result of lots of research about how things really work, I have no problem with it. Besides, these guys swore an oath to the Constitution, and clearly their continued presence in Iraq is a constitutional violation anyway.

Ange:

There is a large segment of our troops who are hoping that WE will fight for them here in the states by pressuring our politicians to bring them home. And you should be aware that of all of the presidential candidates running for office, Ron Paul (the only Republican who believes we should begin to bring our troops home) has received the most donations from the military.

What is this telling us?

It tells me who better to judge whether or not we should continue this war (illegal police action) than the ones on the ground doing the actual fighting. They're the ones who see first-hand that we are engaged in a no-win police action similar to Vietnam and Korea. And they also see first-hand the corporatism involved (Halliburton) and the corruption that it breads.

And with the recent and very flippant statement by McCain about us needing to be over there for a hundred years if need be (not an exact quote), who can blame the vets for supporting candidates who want to bring them home?

It is not un-American or unpatriotic to express opposition to a war. In fact, dissent is very American and very patriotic and our founders would have had it no other way. The founders viewed our freedom to express dissent as that part of our Bill of Rights that would inhibit the formation of a police state.

In his 1953 farewell address to the American people, Eisenhower warned us about the growing power of the military-industrial complex (giant multinational defense contractors) and the threat they pose to our liberties.

The Bush family are among the largest shareholders in the Carlyle Group, one of our nations leading defense contractors. Surely I don't need to explain THAT conflict of interest to you and the danger that it poses not only to our national security, but also to our liberties.

And as Saur also alluded to, this war is costing us plenty. We are currently spending 1 billion dollars every three days just to keep this war going. If we don't cut back - and soon - this will eventually cause our economy to collapse.

I leave you with quotes from the past in the hope that you will take them to heart, because these quotes were made by men of great wisdom who knew only too well of the fallacies of human nature and its propensity to do evil. As such, their quotes remain timeless.

Also at the bottom is an article composed by a fellow Ron Paul supporter concerning our troops and the honor they deserve.


"If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison



"Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is in their interests to go to war." - Thomas Jefferson



"No country perhaps was ever so thoroughly against war as ours. These dispositions pervade every description of its citizens, whether in or out of office. We love and we value peace, we know its blessings from experience." Thomas Jefferson

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."
- Thomas Jefferson
But the safety of the people of America against dangers from foreign force depends not only on their forbearing to give just causes of war to other nations, but also on their placing and continuing themselves in such a situation as not to invite hostility or insult; for it need not be observed that there are pretended as well as just causes of war.

"Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. - George Washington



"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism". - George Washington



"The Executive has not right, in any case, to decide the question whether there is or is not cause for declaring war". James Madison



"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." - Benjamin Franklin



"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin
- John Jay, Federalist No



Victory Delayed is Victory (and Honor) Denied

by Brady Wright and Les White



In a recent debate in New Hampshire, former Governor Mike Huckabee told Congressman Ron Paul that bringing the troops home from Iraq now would be a dishonorable homecoming. But Governor Huckabee did not explain when exactly our troops will have the honor of victory they so deserve.



Regardless of one's opinion of the Iraq War, the truth is that our brave men and women have completed every objective they have been given. Let us recall all they have done and then consider whether they have earned an honorable homecoming.



They quickly and decisively defeated the military of Iraq in one of our nation's largest and fastest military victories. Yet we are told they cannot come home with honor.



They were asked to depose the brutal despot Saddam and they achieved that objective within days. Yet they cannot come home with honor?



They were then asked to track down Saddam and his flunkies so that they could be brought to justice. Done.



They were then told that we needed only to set up an Iraqi government to take the place of the one we had toppled. Mission accomplished.



They were told that they needed to stay until democratic elections could be held in Iraq. Objective achieved.



All of these goals were met some time ago, and still our brave men and women are told they cannot come home with the honor they have most assuredly earned for themselves. It is an egregious affront to the service and valor of our fighting men and women that they are told that after all they have fought for, after all they have achieved, after all the battles they have won, that their coming home would be dishonorable.



Yes, there are still some who oppose us in and around Iraq, but this is a fact that is not likely to change no matter how long or hard we fight in the region. For example, Israel has been established for almost sixty years and has not yet exhausted the region of those who oppose her.



The war in Iraq has long since been won and it has been our mistake not to declare this victory. It is therefore time for us to openly declare the victory that our troops have won time and again. Every day we let go by without this declaration cheats them of their hard-won victory. Let us stop moving the goal posts, because victory delayed is victory – and honor – denied.

Scott said...

I am a Canadian and have followed this pretty closely. A few weeks back there was a protest in Toronto and in several other cities across the country to allow soldiers who have deserted to stay in Canada to avoid prosecution.

I am a fairly liberal person both personally and politically but I don' think that Canada should be a refuge and here is why. I think that US Citizens, if they believe that the war is unjust should be taking to the streets and protesting this war. They should demand that their own Country stand up for those who do not want to fight in an unjust War. I can't imagine who difficult it is for those soldiers to volunteered to join the military and now do not want to fight. Complicated stuff.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Scott, excellent points. Truthfully, this is exactly what many of us say about Iraq: If the Iraqis don't want a dictatorial government, then let the Iraqis take care of it and let us out of there!

I am saddened to say that the majority of Americans are passive and lacking in reasoning. There is good cause to term them 'sheeples'. Therefore, you can't really rely on the majority to stand up to the government when the US government has (IMHO) deliberately kept the educational standards low in order to make the people more malleable.

BusinessWeek's February 25th edition has an article (with graph and statistics) showing our 4th graders rank 14th in reading (out of 40 countries). SAT math scores are abou the same since 1972, and reading results are actually lower! In science we do not excel any longer - NO! We are now in the middle, with roughly 20 other nations ahead of us.

So, call me a conspiracy theorist, but I believe that it's in the government's best interest to have our citizens more concerned about what the latest Pop Tart is wearing and less concerned about truly life-changing matters such as the economy or the war.

And if the government can't be appealed to, then we are turning to another one for now. Just as we were forced to in Vietnam.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Bryan, thank you so much for the detailed weigh-in! As you know, I have never found cause to disagree with you about anything. Well thought out, my friend!

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I am trying to be restrained, but I can hardly think of a worse idea. In the first place it is not our job to run Canada. Scott made the point that if we have problems with our government policy, it is our job to change our government policy, not our job to try to get Canada to pull what some might consider our ashes out of the fire.

Second, in spite of Ed's comment, it is a volunteer army, and after six years in the war, anyone who joins the army (and many do) is aware of the stop loss policy, which has been part of army business for half a century in a variety of conflicts involving draft and volunteers.

I have no problem with veterans, ex soldiers and even current soldiers if they feel strongly enough about it to risk the penalties (which they have volunarily incurred) that would be involved in criticizing goverment policy in whatever demonstrations they wish. We have been through the successful turmoil of civil rights law development. I can just imagine the effect of calling on the Canadian Government to take steps to improve the U.S. civil rights situation, and those who put their lives on the line for a good change in government policy are honored.
I was going to shuffle through some of the misuse of argument and logic in many of the comments above but I will just ring it up to emotion dictating ad-hominem and ad-populum blither, and retire to my bed to mutter at the world.
Where is Aristotle when you need him?

exMI said...

Anyone who joins the military then cries about being sent to war is just a hypocrite. That is the function of the military after all.
Wjen will the military get it's victory parade? When the war is won. Quitting and coming home will not help the problems over there. Pointing out the inefficiencies of the Iraqi army is nice but what do you expect from a bunch of people with six seeks of training who are thrown into a war? They get less training than the US Soldiers and our guys are filtered into established units with experienced troops. They are all new together.
No country should be expected to take our runners. And if they do I hope our country won't take them back this time.

Saur♥Kraut said...

3 Score & 10, excellent points. And I do take them seriously. However, how well does changing our government really work? I mean, look at our current political process! We hardly got candidates that represented us on the Republican side: McCain won by default because the majority was split over OTHER candidates. And the Democrats have put forth candidates who are SO liberal that they're no better than McCain and are equally undesirable.

So, how is it that we are affecting our government?

And even if we ARE able to finally do something, how many lives must be lost during the process? While Bush is using our boys for cannon fodder, there are few congressional leaders who are bothering to do anything against it for fear of being labelled a traitor. This is despite the fact that we elected them to stand up to Bush!

So, we are learning that the political machine grinds on despite our disapproval. This disapproval is even borne out in the opinion polls, but neither Bush nor Congress gives a damn about it.

Exmi AND 3 Score & 10, Yessss, it's a volunteer army... to a point. But we are wearing out our military to the point of exhaustion and we are truly unfairly demanding more of them than they ever thought they were signing up for. Yeah yeah, I know: They signed papers that told them it was a possibility. But how many of them were rushed through that and ended up shocked to find that they were going to be feeding George Bush's war machine?

You have good points, both of you. But I think they're somewhat legalistic.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I'm afraid I prefer legalistic and logical to emotional and cliche ridden ("Bush's war machine" "Bush is using our boys for cannon fodder")rhetoric.

As far as changing things, I see people succesfull changing things all the time. In my seventy plus years the changes have been dramatic, often swift, but have been the results of citizens putting themselve on the line. (Not whining to Canada) This includes everything from Civil rights, worker rights, women's rights, the upward and downward swing of union effectiveness and power Even changes in education, many of which I deplore, but the public wanted them, got them, and probably will discard them in the next decade or two. One could include many factors which affect the market (for which I prefer freedom, though some don't, and these changes will be constant.

(By the way, unrelated, but I received a broadside from Overstock.com promoting their auction service and how much cheaper it is than Ebay, the numbers of successful auctions, how they have eliminated the possibility of sniping etc. etc., I thought you might be interested if you didn't receive the same communication.)

Saur♥Kraut said...

3 Score & 10, Generally I, too, prefer logic. But logic and legalistic are not always equivalent. I think we sometimes make a mistake of not being emotional enough.

And you would think the President and Congress would be trying harder when they have such horrid approval ratings, but they aren't. And frankly, they don't have to. After all, most voters aren't intelligent or dedicated enough to do anything about this. But simply because the majority of the USA is apathetic doesn't mean that we should all just give up, does it?

Look at it this way: If the Iraqis can turn to the American government for help, why can't Americans turn to the Canadian government for help?

Yeah, yeah, I'm a Republican and this seems almost blasphemous, doesn't it? But although you're right in THEORY, you're not right in practice here.

As for Overstock, thanks! They're a tough one to sell through though. Ioffer and Amazon are easier. Ultimately, I've decided to list on Google with their new Beta program which is supposed to be eventually competitive w/ Ebay. In fact, it may make it obsolete!