Friday, August 22, 2008

War resisters: An open letter to Stephen Harper

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

In general, we Canadians are very proud of our unique historical traditions. I think most Canadians are proud of the ways in which we helped Americans who refused to serve in the Vietnam War. We provided them with an alternative to death and destruction. There is a strong sense in this country that it was the right thing to do and it has become a proud part of our national identity. For a moment in history, we stood up for a justice that transcends borders and nationalities. We stood up for humanity and decency and our actions were an accurate reflection of the collective Canadian spirit on the issue.

I am now concerned that this Government is moving us farther away from some of the positions that made Canada the envy of the world. You are beginning to change the face of Canada in ways that many of us are uncomfortable with. I am beginning to feel like the Government of Canada is attempting to adopt an ideology as our national identity and I am very disturbed by that. I feel that some of your polices are beginning to depart from deeply held traditional Canadian values. And you are transforming the face of Canada with the limited mandate of a minority Government. You also have a majority in the House of Commons who voted, on behalf of Canadians, to support the request made by American War resisters to remain in Canada. I believe you are turning your back on a majority of Canadians on an issue that is very important to us. That is not the sign of a democratic Prime Minister. Somehow Canada has always been a little bit different and we have always been proud of that. We don't want to be more like anyone else.

Sir, I believe that the war in Iraq lacked any legitimate justification. The evidence now makes this painfully clear. America has lost its credibility at this time in our history. In terms of respectability, this war in Iraq is only a notch above the Vietnam War in terms of its sheer brutality and the lack of any meaningful justification. The main difference is that the "lies and the spin" this time around have convinced some people otherwise. Others have just concluded, "Well, there is no justification for it that I can see, but there must have been a good reason for invading." However, most people are now wising up and recognizing the truth about this war and we are all hearing about the unbelievable toll it is taking on young American soldiers and their families. Many returning veterans, especially those who have been subjected to the psychological torture of the "stop loss program", are coming back completely destroyed. Many of them are beyond the reach of those who would like to help them. The number of suicides amongst returning vets of the Iraq War is so very high. This tragedy has to cause your heart to sink, as it does mine. Would you really want your own son or daughter to serve 2 or 3 tours of duty in Iraq sir? Wouldn't you worry terribly about his of her physical and mental health?

Sir, in the name of decency, compassion, and a higher justice, I implore you to allow American war resisters to remain in Canada as conscientious objectors . Please don't send them off to have their lives and families destroyed by an unjust war or imprisonment. Your decision to begin deporting American war resisters lacks decency and compassion. I strongly urge you to reconsider your position.


Spencer Spratley


Owen said...


Nora said...

I agree with you Spencer! Canada has always been known to the world as "peace keepers" and our current government is not honoring this! Also a lot of these war resisters from the USA would become active in a war if it was on their own soil. Everyone has the right to choose their own destiny!
thanks for posting!
Nora :)

Peripheral Vision said...

Thanks for your comments. It's god to know somene is reading. Ae you bloggers?