Friday, May 13, 2005

Support War Resisters

For those of us who oppose the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U.S. military, times have been hard. No matter how bad things go on the ground, it seems like no amount of demonstrating or letter-writing has much effect on the truth-deaf Bush administration. On the other hand, what about the courageous actions of war resisters within the U.S. military? Perhaps a more effective way to curb immoral U.S. military aggression might be if more soldiers and sailors refused to go over to Iraq.

I think we should all hope and pray for more of these war resisters, who are undoubtedly facing endless derision and strong penalties for making a stand of conscientious objection. Just a few days ago was the National Day of Action for GI Resisters, described here. One of the resisters, Pablo Paredes, was recently tried in San Diego military court for his refusal to go to Iraq, with an interesting outcome. (His own website is here.) There are many others too. The legal argument for resistance is nicely laid out here.

Any ideas on what we can do to support and encourage these war resisters in a meaningful way? It is quite possible that some forms of support might themselves be regarded as illegal (though, in my view, eminently moral), thus perhaps opening up a way for sharing the burdens and risks of war resistance in some small way. But what can we do that would be effective in encouraging war resistance?

1 comment:

thirdpartydreamer said...

I just looked at the debate board on the "Citizens for Pablo" website, where they've posted many messages, some supporting and some deploring the actions of the AWOL sailor.

Virtually all of the negative messages could have been written by the same person, so uniform is their argument. The criticism goes something like this: "You signed a contract; you collected a paycheck; therefore you are required to do whatever the Navy tells you to do." I recognize that discipline is one of the cardinal virtues in a military force, but they can't really mean that by signing the contract you become a killing robot, can they? That seems to be the implication: your signature on that contract means you're obliged to kill whomever the brass tells you to kill, and you've got no business using your mind or your conscience to determine whether the order is morally right.

None of the negative posts that I read offered explicit support of the Iraq War-- a reasoned defense of why our army is there, a precis of what has been accomplished so far-- which would have been far more damning than the "You signed a contract" rationale that appears over and over. I wonder if these critics are aware of how conducive such reasoning is to the growth of fascism.

Principle IV of the Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950:

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."