Canadians renew call for Harper and Kenney to let Iraq War resisters stay
By War Resisters Support Campaign, Oct. 23, 2010
TORONTO, Oct. 23 /CNW/ – Newly released US Military documents from Wikileaks, detailing widespread civilians deaths in Iraq, provide unequivocal proof that Iraq War resisters did the right thing. The government of Canada should heed the will of the majority of Canadians who support the stance taken by these young men and women, and stop deporting them to jail in the US.
The leaked Pentagon files reveal that according to the US military’s own statistics, the Iraq War has so far killed more than 109,000 people, of whom more than 66,000 were civilians.
The documents affirm the wisdom of Canada’s decision not to participate in an illegal war that has produced widespread atrocities from the individual torture in Abu Ghraib to the mass killings documented in the recently leaked files. They provide further justification for the position of the majority of Canadians who continue to oppose the war, believe the Prime Minister’s statement that the Iraq War is “absolutely an error” because weapons of mass destruction were never found, and support the US troops who came to the same conclusion.
By the Nuremberg Principles soldiers have an obligation to refuse unlawful orders. Yet in a stunning move, Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney has sought to label those US soldiers who refused to follow unlawful orders in Iraq as “criminals.”
Peter Showler, former chair of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board, says, “The bulletin implies that military deserters from the US should be treated differently than deserters from other countries. There is no basis in law for that proposition.”
Amnesty International Canada has also written to Minister Kenney, calling for the withdrawal of Operational Bulletin 202 because it “misstates the law and seeks to intrude on the independence of both IRB members and Immigration Officers.”
Minister Kenney’s announcement that Canada will extend measures for Iraqi refugees, merely hours after the Wikileaks documents were released, was deliberately timed to be a distraction.
“Of course our government should be doing more to help Iraqi families who have suffered from this unnecessary war,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “Minister Kenney must also stop his vendetta against veterans who tried to end the Iraq War sooner. Minister Kenney’s announcement today was timed to distract from his party’s record on the Iraq War and the fact that he and Mr. Harper are deporting Iraq War resisters who did the right thing.”
“Parliament has voted twice to stop the deportations and to let Iraq War resisters stay,” Robidoux continued. “Mr. Harper’s belated realization that the Iraq War is ‘absolutely an error,’ will continue to be lip service until he stops punishing these courageous men and women who, like Canada, refused to participate in this unjust war.”