Monday, October 22, 2007

Give these guys a medal

Soldiers kicked out of military
Several refused to do a tour of service in wartorn Afghanistan
The Edmonton Sun

The Canadian military has released several soldiers after they claimed conscientious objection to serving in wartorn Afghanistan, according to internal records from the National Defence department.

...Because service is voluntary, the policy applies only in rare cases where a member has an "epiphany" about war or bearing arms. Conscientious objection to a specific mission or national policy would not meet voluntary release criteria.

... "You could say I love the military, I want to stay in, I'm just not going to Afghanistan, and the chain of command would probably look at you and say we don't want you in the military because you aren't capable of following lawful command," McWhinnie said.

"That's our distinction in black and white: If it's a lawful command, you're obliged to follow it."

Just because it's lawful doesn't mean it's right. Torture has been "lawful" in the U.S. for some time. So has warrantless wire tapping and surveillance. Transportation and extermination of people was "lawful" in Nazi Germany.

... Steve Staples, director of the Rideau Institute, said some are enticed by flashy ads, the prospect of steady employment or the chance to help out fellow Canadians in emergencies. He believes the Canadian Forces should find other roles for those who don't want to fight in Afghanistan.

"They thought they were signing up to help Canada, not fight someone else's war in the Middle East," he said.

The neverending U.S. war against everything, and Stephen Harper's love of being a "wartime" prime minister. Who would join or extend a war that was illegal in the first place? These soldiers have shown true courage.

... Scott Taylor, a former soldier who now publishes Esprit de Corps magazine, said some resist deployment because they aren't psychologically or physically ready for combat or because they get cold feet.

Many signed up to learn a trade or because they thought it would be an adventurous career path -- not to fight a war.

"There was a long time when unless you were in the infantry, you wouldn't be doing any front-line stuff where there might be some danger," he said. "So it was kind of like a lifetime of training for a war you never thought was going to happen."

That's exactly what military training should be, and the leaders of the country should ensure that they are never used in frivolous wars to show they can "punch above their weight", the phrase that I loathe most from a Prime Minister that I loathe.

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