OR IT COULD JUST BE THAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THE FIRST-TERM SENATOR AND FIND HIM INEXPERIENCED.
OR, AS OPRAH TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "HE'S LIKE ONE OF JOEL'S BOY-TOYS THAT HE STARS IN A FILMS, GETS VANITY FAIR TO TOSS ON THE COVER AND INSIST THEY ARE A STAR BUT THE PUBLIC JUST DOESN'T GIVE A DAMN."
WHEN ASKED TO RESPOND TO THAT, BARACK HUFFED, "OPRAH NEEDS TO STICK TO HER BOOK CLUBS!"
Starting with war resistance. June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. The vote found all the other parties outvoting the Conservative Party. That is the party of Stephen Harper who is the country's prime minister. On Saturday, rallies took place. Mario Cootauco (Canwest News Service) reported on one in British Columbia that US war resister Rodney Watson attended. Watson explained that he didn't want to return to Iraq, "There's no need for us to be over there and I saw that first-hand. I decided I needed to get out of there. I wanted to go just to be a support. I didn't want to go kicking down doors, killing children or innocent people or getting my hands dirty or anything. I support my country, but I don't support the way we're going about it." As Cootacuo observes, "It's now up to the Conservative government to implement the decision."
I agree with the writer who urges our government to comply with the recent vote in the House of Commons, in which a motion passed allowing U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada. Phone calls and e-mails from thousands of Canadians went a long way in achieving this first step to open our doors to these men and women. Some of them have been in Iraq and seen the horrors of war and cannot with conscience support it any longer. Our doors must also open to those who enlisted to serve their country, but who came to the realization later that they could not go through with their commitment to fight in an illegal war that continues to breach international and human rights law. Thanks to the NDP for putting this motion forward and also to the other opposition parties for supporting the motion. It is now up to us to keep this issue on the radar. We need to write to our prime minister, to our MPs, and to the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration and urge them to create the legislation necessary to grant a permanent haven in Canada to all U.S. war resisters.
IVAW members Matthis Chiroux and Kris Goldsmith have been pounding the pavement in Washington DC, with the help of IVAW's DC chapter, to get members of Congress to support Matthis in his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Matthis was honorably discharged from the Army in 2007 after five years of service, but he received orders in February 2008 to return to active duty from the IRR for deployment to Iraq.
On Sunday, June 15th, the day he was due to report for active duty, Matthis stood with his father and supporters in DC and reaffirmed that he is refusing his orders on the grounds that the Iraq war is illegal and unconstitutional.
On Democracy Now! today, Matthis explained, "OK, I was supposed to report Sunday, Father's Day. I did not. I was in Washington, D.C. with the Iraq Veterans Against the War at their chapter house. I gave a short speech on the porch of our house there, and I stood with my dad, and I kept my promise to the military, I kept my promise to my country, to refuse an illegal order to participate in an unlawful occupation. . . . Well, right now it's turned into a bit of a waiting game, as far as the military goes. You know, I made my intentions clear, and then I followed through on them, and I'm waiting to hear from the military. There's no real way I can know what consequences to face here. You know, many, many members of the Individual Ready Reserve, about 15,000 of them, have been called up since the beginning of this occupation of Iraq, and only 7,500 of them have reported. So there's about half there that's unaccounted for. And many of those individuals have been ignored by the military, as they should be. It is an illegal order to call up and deploy to Iraq. Others have been charged with desertion. So, during a time of war, actually, desertion can be punishable by death. So, you know, my spectrum of consequence is in the situation range literally anywhere from nothing to death. So I will wait faithfully in the United States, as I promised to do, to see how the military will react."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
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