Patrick Hart once vowed to protect his country with his life.
Now he is in another country, pledging allegiance to that nation and waiting to learn whether he will be allowed to stay.
Hart is among 200 U.S. military deserters in Canada, and they should know in a few weeks if they can begin the process of seeking permanent residency there.
"This is home for me now," said Hart, 34, a Buffalo native who lives in the Toronto area with his wife and their young son. "I love Canada. A lot of us have been here a few years and planted roots."
The Canadian House of Commons is expected to vote soon on a resolution that would allow him and the other deserters to seek residency there. It’s considered a last resort -- a political solution -- because the Canadian courts have determined they lack the jurisdiction to rule on deserters' claims that the war in Iraq is illegal and makes them eligible for asylum as refugees.
Hart says he went AWOL because the Iraq War was based on lies and that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
The above is from Lou Michel's "Deserters seek residency in Canada" (The Buffalo News). You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)
Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war hit the 4,034 mark. And tonight? 4039. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates that 1,199,782 Iraqis have been killed due to the Iraq War, up from last Sunday's 1,197, 469.
In some of the reported violence from the weekend . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad rocket attack that left seven people wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack that claimed 2 lives and left fourteen wouned, a BAghdad roadside bombing that injured five people and a Baghdad bicycle bombing that claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi police officers and left four more injured. Saturday, McClatchy's Mohammed Al Dulaimy reported a Kirkuk car bombing claimed 1 life and left four people wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left two more wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left twelve wounded and a Baquba roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 child and left four more wounded.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 man and 1 cab driver were shot dead while the man's pregnant wife was wounded in Baquba, 2 contractors were shot dead in Kirkuk and 1 polic officer was shot dead in Tikrit. Saturday McClatchy's Mohammed Al Dulaimy reported 5 dead and nineteen wounded in armed clashes in Baghdad while in Thi Qar armed clashes claimed 22 lives and left nineteen wounded.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 6 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 2 in Nineveh province and 30 were discovered in Muqdadiyah. Saturday McClatchy's Mohammed Al Dulaimy reported 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.
Meanwhile Condi Rice is in Baghdad spreading the hate, propping up the puppet and calling Moqtada al-Sadr a "coward." Ron Jacobs' "Washington, al-Maliki and the Militias: Who Do They Think They’re Fooling?" (Dissident Voice) outlines the 'accomplishments' of the assaults on Basra and Sadr City -- either the assualts strengthen the resistance or the planned fall elections see the resistance taking over the Iraqi government. From his article:
Once again, the only true solution to this conundrum and every other problem brought on by the continuing US occupation of Iraq is a complete US withdrawal. If public opinion polls are to be believed (and the sheer consistency of the results in this instance indicates they should be), the majority of Iraqis want the US occupiers out of their country. This has been the case since the end of the first year of occupation and will most likely continue to be the case unless Washington somehow manages to silence every single Iraqi that opposes their presence. Then again, opinion polls of US residents have consistently shown that they too want US troops out of Iraq, yet the troops are still there doing the work of the few Americans and Iraqis who truly benefit from their presence.
Instead, the US Congress is trying to convince the bureaucrats that the US military props up the Green Zone to pay for the US endeavor in Iraq. Two Democrats and one Republican (Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana) are now drafting legislation that would replace all future aid grants to Washington’s client regime with loans. This is what passes for opposition legislation in the United States these days. In actuality, it is just another attempt by Washington to blame Iraq for the mess the occupation has created.
I understand and agree with his point in the second paragraph to a degree. But the reality is that the US funds do not go to the Iraqi people. The US funds are going to prop up the puppet government. We called out al-Maliki's nonsense of announcing he'd be giving millions to other countries in the fall of 2006. Iraqi oil -- despite the lies that they need US companies to 'modernize' -- flows just fine. It's bringing in millions. Not to the people of Iraq, to be sure. And if the theft of Iraqi law is passed (al-Maliki's stated it will be passed this month -- it may be, he's been wrong before, however), it still won't go to the people of Iraq.
Last Sunday, the New York Times had a lengthy article on Iraq and buried deep in it was the fact that the Iraqi military has weapons . . . stockpiled by the puppet government in Baghdad. They are stockpiling things (they're also stockpilining food that is supposed to be going to the people but no one's run after that story yet). The puppet government isn't serving the people of Iraq, it's serving the White House. As such, my opinion, it should have to pay back the monies the US is spending. Reperations cannot be made to a puppet government. If the people of Iraq rise up and overthrow the US installed government, by all means, write off the debt. But as long as al-Maliki remains puppet of the occupation, as long as the US props up his regime, he should have to pay back the US dollars, the millions and billions of dollars. It's not as if the money would be going to the Iraqi people because it's not. Baghdad still doesn't have electricity for a few hours unless you're one of al-Maliki's favored groups. There are areas of Baghdad that have no electricity at all for any period of a day, five years after the illegal war started.
I understand Jacobs' point and won't say he's wrong because he may very well be right. But my attitude is an illegitimate government, propped up by the US, that regularly takes their monies out of the country can pay back the US government that installed them. Nothing is going to the Iraqi people. The puppet government has millions for reconstruction which they refuse to use. That's stockpiled as well (what's not skimmed and out of the country).
Ron Jacobs' stand is probably more ethical than my own and I won't call him wrong. But that money that the US tax payers keep supplying is not going to the Iraqi people and the puppet government is not legitimate. If it weren't for the money, al-Maliki would have been toppled long ago. So as long as he wants to be puppet, he should have to pay for it. When he falls, if a government by the people comes into place, by all means call off the loans, forgive the debt and the US should make reperations. But in terms of the puppet government (which does nothing for the Iraqi people), let them start paying. It might cut down on the 'rulers' with families living out of the country in large homes, homes that the Iraqi parliament can often be found at when they're not in session. It might cut down on the large number of former 'leaders' living it up in England (among other places) with huge sums of cash that no one can ever explain.
al-Maliki's living large and that's part of the reason he's still in charge. If some of the money flow was cut off, he'd have a much harder time buying loyalty from the rest of the puppet government. I understand what Jacobs is saying and, again, it's probably the ethical stand to take. But I disagree for the reasons outlined above. Right now you have the Iraqi people living below poverty while a select few live it up on the US dime. If even some of that was pinched off, you might see a rebellion closer to the top which would oust the puppet government. As long as he's got the big funds to pay over differences, that's not going to happen.
We don't link to trash. That's to note that Ron Jacobs article is more than worth reading and to also note, before another visitor e-mails about Carol Grier's b.s. at Dissident Voice, that we don't link to trash. It's 2008, the illegal war has dragged on for five years. We don't have time for Grier's stupidity. "Draft dodgers"? The idiot writes: "Tens of thousands of Vietnam 'draft dodgers' and Americans who opposed their government came to Canada and have made this country their home. I now count myself among them." Deserters. During Vietnam, Canada provided asylum to those escaping the draft as well as those escaping military service, men already in the service. Grier's not helping anyone by being stupid. The right-wing in Canada continues to repeat, "Well there was a draft then!" Canada didn't just open its borders to those avoiding the draft. If you were an active duty of the US military seeking safe harbor, you were welcomed. They didn't care whether you had enlisted or been drafted. You were welcomed. By refusing to note that, those 'helpers' are not helping. Grier's column is idiotic and the usual sort of crap that runs most people off from independent media to begin with. No one needs to hear about how Grier's heart is so pure that she just couldn't stand to live in the US and found her home in Canada. Then focus on Canada because you chose to make that your home. Those in the US who have stayed and fought do not need to hear from someone who chose to move elsewhere. (Repeating, as we always do when we make that statement, community wide, war resisters who go to Canada are to be supported. But there is a world of difference between someone refusing to fight in an illegal war and someone who just doesn't care for the current occupant of the White House. Grier moved because she wanted to. No one needs to hear from her in the US.) She says she "can no longer support a country that imposes" blah, blah, blah. Yeah, we all get the point, you moved out of the US. So focus on Canada because those of us still fighting in the US don't give a damn what you have to say.
Pru notes Esme Choonara's "Mother's anger at Law Lords' denial of inquiry into Iraq war" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):
Anti-war campaigner Rose Gentle has reacted angrily to the decision by nine Law Lords to rule against the right to hold a public inquiry over the invasion of Iraq.
Rose, whose son Gordon was killed by a roadside bomb in 2004 while serving in Iraq, lodged the case jointly with Beverley Clarke.
Her son David was killed in a "friendly fire" incident in Basra in 2003.
The case for an inquiry centred on the families’ demands for an explanation of how 13 pages of "equivocal" advice from the attorney general about the legality of the war was reduced in less than ten days to one page that clearly argued an invasion would be legal.
While the Law Lords last week unanimously ruled against the case, one of those hearing the case, Baroness Hale, admitted that the legal advice over the invasion was "very far from clear and unambiguous".
Rose, who is one of the founders of Military Families Against the War, says that the fight for justice will continue.
She told Socialist Worker that she was "disappointed, but not surprised" with the Law Lords' ruling.
"It is also unacceptable that the government says it will hold an inquiry but only when it decides the 'time is right'," Rose added.
The campaign by military families, alongside the Stop the War Coalition, has kept the pressure on the government over Iraq.
It has stopped Gordon Brown from being able to bury the issue.
In a separate case last week, the court of appeal ruled against attempts by defence secretary Des Browne to stop coroners using phrases such as "serious failure" in inquests into the deaths of soldiers killed on active service.
The campaign by military families has also highlighted issues of army recruitment -- in particular its targeting of young working class people.
This has boosted campaigns by students and teachers to stop military recruitment in schools and universities.
In recognition of her contribution, Rose was elected as honorary vice-president of the National Union of Students at its recent conference.
For more information about Rose’s campaign go to » www.mfaw.org.uk
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and the war drags on