Because Canada should build homes, not blow them up
PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 21, 2003
ATTENTION: Richard Deslauriers, Robert Wadsworth, Reed Campbell and Kathleen MacEwen, Other Friends at 32 Brigade
We are writing to let you know about a friendly, nonviolent visit from members of Homes not Bombs, The Toronto Catholic Worker community, and the Spring Nuremberg Action Group, to take place at 12 noon on Monday, March 24.
As you might know from prior correspondence and our presence at Moss Park Armoury every Tuesday evening, we are a group dedicated to nonviolence in both word and deed.
We sincerely hope to meet with you on Monday in an effort to secure your commitment that you will not participate in war crimes being planned and executed against the people of Iraq. The term Nuremberg Principles carries with it a great deal of moral, legal, and historical weight, yet it is something which is often forgotten in times of mass slaughter.
Such a time is the present. U.S.-led war plans clearly violate the most basic norms of international law, as well as humanitarian law, and moral dictates about the necessity of learning to love one another and live together in peace and justice.
Canada, despite repeated statements to the contrary, is involved in this war, from the use of warships escorting U.S. and U.K. destroyers which launch cruise missiles against Iraq, to the presence of Canadian troops embedded on the ground and Canadian planners at Central Command in Doha, Qatar.
We most urgently need to meet with you out of a concern that members of the Canadian Armed Forces could be charged under international and Canadian law, both for direct participation in, and for support of war crimes and crimes against peace. It is our hope that we can secure a commitment that Canada will pull its armed forces completely out of any alliance involved in this one-sided act of mass murder.
We point you to the following statement as evidence of the serious consequences which could befall members of the Canadian Forces: "A person is considered complicit if, while aware of the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity, the person contributes directly or indirectly to their occurrence. Membership in an organization responsible for committing the atrocities can be sufficient to establish complicity if the organization in question is one with a single brutal purpose, e.g. a death squad." (from Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program)
It is clear that the organizations (the US and UK militaries) leading the invasion and destruction of Iraq do have one singularly brutal purpose: the deliberate targeting of the Iraqi leadership and social infrastructure, with little or no concern for the murders of thousands of civilians that will without doubt occur as a result.
It is a purpose often stated by former Canadian General Lewis Mackenzie. "As much as Canadians would like to ignore the fact, the role of a soldier is to kill as efficiently as possible with the resources available once he is ordered to do so by his government. There are many sidelines to his profession that make us all feel warm and fuzzy...But they are all subordinate to one overriding responsibility, and that it to kill on demand."
In a time when we have been told that irony is dead, we still find it incredibly ironic that the tools of mass murder and destruction, without regard for the many human lives which will be lost, are being employed in the name of ending the mass murder and destruction of one dictator.
It is also an Orwellian time, in which those who profess peace are nonetheless involved in war. Although Canada states that it is not a participant in this process, it is clear from the facts stated above that Canada is implicated. The Nuremberg obligation is to not only stand aside from mass murder, but to everything in one's power to interfere with and stop it. Although you can say that you are simply following the orders of the Canadian government, it is also your obligation to refuse orders which contravene international and humanitarian law. Your continued quiescent participation in an organization (i.e., the Canadian military) which IS involved in aiding and abetting war crimes leaves you at risk of prosecution under international and Canadian law.
We write not out of a sense of despair but of hope, hope in the power of transforming unjust situations into solutions which work for all people, not just a few. It is our hope that on Monday we can discuss ways in which you can extricate yourselves from this serious situation, with our full-fledged support.
We look forward to meeting with you on Monday.
Homes not Bombs
Toronto Catholic Worker
Spring Nuremberg Action Group
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