What if they gave a war and no one came?


Hello all peacemakers and resisters,

I am writing to let you know that this Monday kicks off “National Week to Show Support for War Resisters”….

Thus I started my invitation to a letter-writing party that I hosted at my house in March to show support for war resisters. It was sponsored by Courage to Resist, an Oakland-based organization that provides support and information for currently serving/active duty war resisters.

Courage to Resist

Courage to Resist

These resisters have risked their freedom and reputation to oppose the imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One crucial way to strike at
ongoing militarism is to pull the pillars out from under it.  It’s like that old Vietnam War-era slogan: “What if they gave a war, and no one came?”  Indeed, the system runs because we allow it to.  What if more people refused to cooperate?  It is oft forgotten, but one factor in bringing the Vietnam War to a close was the increasing number of soldiers who defied orders or resisted in some way.  See the movie “Sir, No, Sir!” for this under-told story.  These heroes, who have pulled away their pillars of support for on-going militarism and imperial policy, need our support and
advocacy.

For example, Robin Long, recently deported from Canada, is serving a
15-month sentence for refusing to fight in Iraq. Tony Anderson is
currently serving a 14-month sentencing for resisting deployment to
Iraq.

More recently, Victor Agosto refused to deploy to Afghanistan and is facing court martial.  Agosto wrote, “There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect.” Agosto wrote these words at the bottom of a military counseling paperwork turned in May 1st to the commander of a Ft. Hood, Texas Army unit headed for Afghanistan.

More war resisters are sitting in prison for refusing to
fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and countless more live with that
possibility.  Several war resisters have been threatened with or already deported from Canada.  Who knows how many more struggle with the decision everyday?

We gathered together to write:

• Letters of support to war resisters in prison, awaiting trial, or seeking refuge in Canada

• Letters to the Canadian government asking that war resisters be granted sanctuary

• Letters to our own government demanding amnesty for war resisters

While letter-writing is not my preferred form of political action, I think there is sometimes a place for it.  And it is a nice sometimes to just get together with friends and be social and discuss and debate issues–sitting down for a change.  It is almost certain that such letters will be thrown in the trash by the U.S. government.  But those who are in prison or facing prison for resisting will no doubt find some small comfort that they are not forgotten.

We are in solidarity.

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