Thank you for printing Jeremy Hinzman's views of the US Armed Forces in your Oct-Dec issue. As a US citizen, I plead with the Canadian government to allow Jeremy refuge.
While it is true that the US is not currently deploying its draft, the state is drafting nonetheless through economics, by using the poor, certain ethnicities, and youths for its destruction. I personally lost five friends to Operation Desert Storm, one of whom lost his life and four who lost themselves to insanity or loss of character. These young men enlisted at 18 years of age because they felt they had no other choice. Lacking an opportunity to attend college or university, they felt the only way to support themselves and their families was to join to receive the benefits of education, medical care, and salary. By eliminating these basic needs of life, the government is truly enforcing a psychological as well as class struggle draft.
It may seem like a truism to assert that human security is dependent on many factors and is not limited to our military capacity. However, in our militarized society, we need to be reminded of this fact. The last issue of Peace Magazine, especially the articles by Jack Santa Barbara and Jeremy Hinzman, did a great job of that.
The world's militaries, even Canada's, almost certainly do more to undermine human security than to protect us. Canada's military is no longer being deployed mainly in UN-sponsored peacekeeping missions; it is arguably serving mainly to support the US "war on terror," even to the extent that Canada also is violating Geneva conventions and other international human rights norms. As war resister Hinzman points out, our ability to discern right from wrong is probably the key aspect of what makes us human. What do we do when we know that our country is doing something wrong in our name? Hinzman's actions point to an answer: conscientious objection. Conscience Canada urges us all to look at this option and to work to prevent our taxes from being used to pay others to do things that we morally oppose. Money is even more essential to modern warfare than it was before; in three years the US government has already spent $200 billion, almost double what it spent during the entire eight-year-long Vietnam war. (The Globe and Mail, 25 Oct. 05, citing as source the US Department of Defense and the Brookings Institution.)
We agree with the Polaris Institute that a thorough review of Canada's security and defence policies is needed before more money is spent on misguided military "solutions" to security issues. We urge others to help lobby for a military freeze/ security consultation. For a sample letter (English or French) contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (416) 203-1402.
Bruna Nota, for the Board of Conscience Canada
In his famous tribute to the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, Prime Minister Churchill once remarked that "never had so much been done by so few."
If we look to our own era and consider the nonviolent destruction of ruthless dictatorships similar to Nazi Germany, it is evident that among the "few" who have accomplished great strides in the cause of peace and freedom, none would be as worthy as the handful of individuals who carry out the work of Gene Sharp's remarkable organization, the Albert Einstein Institution. Without their inspiring research and teaching in the tools of nonviolent "people power," such murderous regimes as those of Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia might still be in power today.
Considering how much the Albert Einstein Institution has done o expand the peaceful sphere of liberty on the earth, it is astonishing that it hasbeen experiencing a funding crisis. During our celebrations in this winter solstice season, it is difficult to think of any gift that could be put to better use than a donation to the Albert Einstein Institution. And we can all learn much from reading their web page, www.aeinstein.org/.
What on earth is a samurai warrior doing on the cover of the October issue of Peace Magazine, pray tell?
Our wonderful graphic artist Anna Jane McIntyre has explained him to us. He is a "tea warrior." Like all samurai, he comes well equipped. Whenever there is trouble brewing, he rides up on his steed, dismounts, puts on the kettle and makes tea. Then he sits down with the people who are having a problem and helps them work it all out. We love him.