Showing widespread support for soldiers who resist is one of the best ways those of us outside the military can encourage the growing momentum of the GI resistance movement—a movement that has the direct power to end this war.
Supporting GI resistance, together with counter recruitment and draft resistance, is key to stopping illegal war and occupation ourselves. If the government can’t recruit or draft enough new troops, and if troops refuse illegal immoral orders, it will help end the war and occupation and help prevent the next one. Look at the Vietnam War!
We ask you to begin mobilizing your group, community and networks now. As well as educating your organization’s members, please consider hosting one or more public events to help raise awareness and build support. Visit http://www.CourageToResist.org for more information or to contribute to build this campaign.
WHY YOUR SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL:
Your participation in these days of action—and beyond– is crucial to realizing these goals: together, we do have the power to end this war and prevent the next one. As the antiwar movement builds its support for these brave people and their important actions, we hope more will take a stand if we show them they won’t be alone.
Those of us outside the military must match their bravery by escalating our support for all GI resisters. They’ve got to know we’re out here for them!
Here is an explanation of our four areas of support:
Providing political, economic, personal, legal and spiritual support for our troops who have the courage to object, whether speaking out, refusing to follow orders or going AWOL is essential. We can uphold the US constitution and international law by supporting GIs who refuse illegal
orders to deploy, carry out orders or participate in illegal war and occupation.
Many have been moved to action by the words of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada who is currently facing up to eight years, primarily for speaking out against the war, and also for refusing deployment to Iraq. In his August 12 speech to the Veterans for Peace National Convention, for which the US Army has added an additional free speech charge of “Conduct Unbecoming an
Officer and a Gentleman.” Lt Watada said, “The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it. Those wearing the uniform must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that by refusing immoral and illegal orders they will be supported by the people not with mere words but by action. They must know it and you must show it to them. Convince them that no matter how long they sit in prison, no matter how long this country takes to right itself, their families will have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, opportunities and education.”
2) PROTECT THE RIGHT TO CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION
“I have come to believe that it is wrong to destroy life, that it is wrong to use war, that it is immoral, and I can no longer go down this path,” said Army medic Agustin Aguayo after being denied conscientious objector status and going AWOL when faced with a forced re-deployment to Iraq. He is now in a military prison in Germany, imprisoned for following his conscience.
We call on the US military and the US government to respect the right to conscientious objection as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The right to refuse to perform military service for reasons of conscience is inherent in the notion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion as recognized in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This freedom is also articulated in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Specifically we urge them to:
a. Consider a conscientious objector to be any person who, for reasons of conscience or profound conviction, refuses to perform service in the armed forces or any other direct or indirect participation in wars or armed conflicts, including people who refuse to participate in particular wars. This internationally recognized definition is used by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. Currently the US Military Selective Service Act stipulates that objection must be to participation in war of any form only by reason of religious, ethical, or moral belief.
b. Assure that all conscientious objectors be given the opportunity to present the grounds of their objection to a decision-making body, which is established by law and is impartial and independent. Respect the due process of applicants, and end all recriminations for applying for
Conscientious Objector status.
3) PROTECT LIBERTIES & HUMAN RIGHTS OF TROOPS
a. Free Speech; soldiers face harassment, punishment and even formal charges for exercising their legal right to free speech.
b. Freedom from sexual harassment or assault; the US military continues to ignore the pattern of serious and widespread sexual harassment and assault.
4) SANCTUARY FOR WAR OBJECTORS
We the people of the US must do what we can provide and support real sanctuary to all people resisting war, including our own troops. We can do this as communities, as churches and as organizations. We call on people in the U.S. to build grassroots support for resisters on our soil and also to support Canada’s people in their struggle to provide sanctuary for U.S.
Join the many Canadians calling on the Canadian government to demonstrate its commitment to international law and the treaties to which it is a signatory, by making provision for US war objectors to have sanctuary in Canada. Let the Canadian people and Government know most US people oppose the war and many support the right to sanctuary for courageous war resisters.
For more information about Canada’s War Resisters Support Campaign go to:www.resisters.ca