Let the war resisters stay

Let the war resisters stay

At meeting after meeting, on campuses and in community centres across Canada — young war resisters from the United States are making their case for the Paul Martin Liberals to open Canada’s doors to soldiers who are saying ‘no’ to war.

At the University of Toronto March 2, Darrell Anderson and Cliff Cornell spoke to a crowd of 100 about their experience in the US military, and their decision to seek refuge in Canada.

Both Cliff and Darrell on the Saturday, attended the annual International Women’s Day march in Toronto, where Nga Nguyen — wife of war resister Jeremy Hinzman — was one of the featured speakers.

Socialist Worker caught up with Cliff at IWD.

He explained that most young people sign up for the military because of the high cost of education "which can often run up to $50,000 a year".

"You also get free dental, free medical, free glasses."

But the promise is often very different from the reality.

"It took me about a year to get my glasses." he said.

And when he reached his dues station, his company was already over in Iraq. "When they got back, about six months after I got there, they told me all kinds of stories.
"The soldiers had to be put on rations, while the ‘leaders’ got all the food.

"The leadership in the military isn’t all that it should be.

"They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There aren’t any. And then there’s those torture incidents.

"I’d like to speak on this a little bit more. The ordinary soldiers got in trouble. The leaders didn’t get in trouble. They said they didn’t know it was happening.

"But that’s crap. The soldiers were ordered to do it, and the leaders and the higher-ups are covering it up.

"Us low guys, the enlisted personnel, we get in trouble.

"And then there’s the ‘smart bombs’ that are supposed to hit the target, but land two miles off.

"I didn’t want to be part of that — the killing, the torturing of innocent people."

Cliff described how a friend back in the US, concerned about his situation, found out about the war resisters’ campaign in Canada and urged him to travel north.

She "wanted to make sure I’d be taken care of, that I’d have a place to live, and be able to work.

"So when I went home on leave, she asked me if I wanted to go.

"It wasn’t an easy decision. It took me two weeks to decide. It’s a big thing, leaving your friends and family.

"But when it comes down to it, it’s morally right I came up here. It’s something I believe in. I didn’t want to be part of it.

"I knew that physically and emotionally, I couldn’t handle being in Iraq. I couldn’t live with myself if I had to shoot someone, or if I was ordered to torture someone."

Cliff had a message for the Martin Liberals.

"Right now, all the war resisters have to apply for refugee status one by one.

"I would like for them to open the doors and let us stay, without having us go through all this b.s.

"I imagine, if there wasn’t this big hassle, and they would just open the doors, then more people would come north.

"And the more people we get up here, the less Bush will have to send to Iraq."

To get involved with the war resisters campaign,
check out or email .

Socialist Worker 444 •

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