Three days ago, Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera gave birth to a son, Matthew Kaden, in a military hospital in San Diego. As soon as her hospital stay ends (which may have already happened), Kim will be taken back to prison. Her newborn baby will stay with his father and his siblings… but his mother will be forced to finish her prison term. Her release is scheduled for mid-December.
The US Army has rejected all appeals for clemency, and is insisting Kim serve the final weeks of her sentence, even though it means separating a mother and a newborn infant.
Here are two excellent, heartbreaking stories about what happens to those who survive and don’t survive war.
The first, excerpted from Ann Jones’ book They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars — the Untold Story: An older Army officer calls me over and gestures toward the empty seat by his side. He sits ramrod straight, wrapped in his blanket, and speaks through tight lips as if he fears what might come out of his mouth. “I’ve been in the Army twenty-six years,” he says, “and I can tell you it’s a con.”
He has been (Read more…)
Justin Doolittle, writing in Salon, takes down the military lovefest currently enveloping professional sports in North America: “Stop thanking the troops for me: No, they don’t “protect our freedoms!”“
Doolittle makes the point – extremely important and almost always overlooked – that we do not owe our present “freedom” (whatever that word is taken to mean) to “the troops”. (This is a point I recently quoted from Noah Richler‘s book What We Talk About When We Talk About War.) Doolittle writes: Freedom has become one of those politically charged terms that means whatever people (Read more…)
For Canadians who fear and distrust the steadily growing militarism suffusing the culture of our country, two recent books are indispensable: What We Talk About When We Talk About War, by Noah Richler, and Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety by Ian McKay and Jamie Swift.
Richler’s book focuses on the re-writing and re-framing the distant past. And as the title (with its homage to Raymond Carver) suggests, Richler focuses on language. He analyzes how Canada’s image of itself, in relation to war-making and the military, has been radically altered, bit by incremental bit.
The book (Read more…)
From Noah Richler’s What We Talk About When We Talk About War: We have a duty to be honest and rigorous, with ourselves and with others, and to be able to brook contradiction and argument in our discussions of past wars and the present one in Afghanistan. But instead, in today’s Canada, we have arrived at a point where the use of any language that is not euphemistic is greeted as an assault on the work of soldiers, on a singular view of our past, and therefore on the character of the nation itself. Ideology thrives. History hardly comes into (Read more…)
[The over-emphasis on Canadian military history] distorts and downplays the significant roles that Canadian politicians, diplomats, jurists and a variety of other civilians (such as artists) have had in shaping not just the domestic Canadian polity but abstract, universal ideas about statehood that have served as examples internationally – in Scottish constitutional development, for instance, and of course in the development of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in 1948.
The nature of this contribution is significant specifically because the truth of Canadian history is that our military’s stake has not been inordinate. Resolution through discussion and compromise, (Read more…)
A group of lawyers has asked Canada to arrest former US Vice President Dick Cheney for torture and war crimes when he visits Toronto later this week.
The post Canada must arrest Dick Cheney for torture, war crimes: Lawyers appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Last night we watched “Dirty Wars,” investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s documentary film exposing the United States’ covert, lethal, extra-governmental operations around the globe. It’s an important film. Depending on your level of knowledge of the US, it may be eye-opening, or it may be shocking.
If you have not yet seen this film, I urge you to. It’s available on US Netflix and from many public library catalogs. (The website has a link to agitate for cinema screenings in your area.)
Please note I have called this film “important” and I have urged you all to see (Read more…)
This is from the US, but it concerns every Canadian along with every USian. From The Nation, emphasis mine. The Nation’s interactive database of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is an attempt to compile as complete a list as possible of all known civilian deaths that have occurred in the country as a result of war-related actions by the United States, its allies and Afghan government forces, from the invasion in October of 2001 through the end of 2012.
See a summary of the database here, and the interactive database itself here.
Thanks for your service, soldier. Now shut up, and that’s an order. Canada’s wounded soldiers are being required to sign a form agreeing not to criticize their superiors on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, the Ottawa Citizen reported Friday.
The form reportedly also asks injured soldiers not to disclose “your views on any military subject” or post anything that could “discourage” others in the military.
The document, first obtained by the Citizen, was reportedly created in March and handed to military personnel who transfer to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, which was designed to help mentally and (Read more…)
Today marks four years since Iraq War resister Rodney Watson requested sanctuary from the First United Church in Vancouver. Watson has been in sanctuary ever since.
We can honour Watson’s sacrifice and his commitment to peace by renewing our demand that the Canadian government allow Watson and all war resisters to live freely in Canada.
Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.
- Secretary of State John Kerry
The slaughter of innocent civilians is a moral obscenity? I’m betting the people of Iraq and Afghanistan* agree.
Or is only the slaughter of civilians by chemical weapons obscene? Is slaughter by bombs – by house raids and checkpoints, by torture and endless imprisonment – merely ordinary and banal?
Does white phosphorous, the US’s chemical weapon of choice, constitute moral obscenity?
How about imprisoning for 35 years (Read more…)
Abby Zimet reports on Common Dreams: Days before Bradley – now Chelsea – Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for helping expose U.S. war crimes in Iraq, the Obama Department of Justice filed a petition in federal court arguing that the perpetrators of those crimes – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al – enjoy “absolute immunity” against criminal charges or civil liability. The filing came in a suit brought by Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, who alleges that the planning and waging of the Iraq war under false pretenses constituted (Read more…)
Some of you may remember when wmtc was obsessed with the War Resisters Support Campaign, a fact that was noticed in some very interesting places. (Hi CIC! Are you still reading?) I joined the Campaign in 2007, then in 2009, I began school for my Master of Information degree.
I managed to stay active in the Campaign during my first two years of school, but by fall of 2011, night classes plus my library page job on top of my regular paid employment forced me to take a back seat. I thought I’d reactivate immediately after (Read more…)
Here are two important things you can do to help support Chelsea Manning.
1. Do whatever you can to work for her pardon. You can sign the petition to President Obama here.
You have to create an account, but that only takes a few moments, and the form accepts Canadian postal codes. Please sign and share widely.
2. Write her. According to her support team, she’s looking forward to being able to correspond with her supporters for the first time. The mailing address will say Bradley Manning, as that’s the only name the military will recognize. But you can and (Read more…)
A while back, I saw a blog post angrily asking why everyone referred to Bradley Manning as a man when it is “known” that he is trans. The answer is simple: out of respect. That’s how Manning was identifying. Period. Anything else was rumour.
Now that Manning’s court martial (fake trial) is over, she has come out as a transwoman. So now we can refer to Chelsea Manning with the same respect.
From Chase Madar, in The Nation: Update, 8/22/2013: Yesterday, Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Today, Chelsea Elizabeth Manning announced through her lawyer (Read more…)
In case you haven’t seen it, this link at Democracy Now! has the transcript of Bradley Manning’s statement, read by his lawyer David Coombs, after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks (Read more…)
My thoughts on the Bradley Manning verdict at Socialist.ca: here.
An Iraqi single mom and a tech lawyer are suing ex-president George W. Bush for war crimes, believe they can prove the Iraq War was a “crime of aggression” under U.S. law.
The post Iraqi Single Mom And Tech Lawyer Suing George W. Bush for War Crimes appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Earlier this week, Bradley Manning’s defense ended its case in Manning’s sentencing hearing. Manning made a statement to the military court: an apology.
Reading it, I thought of 1984, when Winston faces the terror of being eaten alive by rats, and he tells his tormentors what they want to hear. I read the apology and I thought, They have crushed him.
Manning has been tortured – physically and mentally. He has been through an ordeal that few us can possibly imagine. No matter how much we admire him, no matter how we stand with him in spirit or in (Read more…)
I have written a bit about the use of professional sports as a vehicle for war propaganda and militarism, such as when the Harper Government used the Olympic torch relay to promote its war in Afghanistan. My partner Allan has covered this ground more consistently, since he writes a sports blog. See, for example, his “Thoughts Prompted By The By The Red Sox Foundation’s Association With “Run To Home Base”” and “The National Anthem And The Idea Of Respect“, among others. These are mostly from a US perspective, since that’s mostly where Major League Baseball is (Read more…)
The Bradley Manning verdict is about sending the message that “the US government will come after you”, says Amnesty International’s Senior Director of International Law and Policy Widney Brown.
The post Manning case shows that US government’s priorities are ‘upside down’ appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Bradley Manning “is the quintessential whistleblower” after a US military court found him not guilty of “aiding the enemy”, guilty of 19 lesser charges.
The post Julian Assange: Bradley Manning is the quintessential whistleblower appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Military judge Colonel Denise Lind found whistleblower Bradley Manning not guilty of the serious charge of “aiding the enemy”, and guilty of lesser charges which still carry the possibility of over 100 years behind bars.
The post Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of lesser charges appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
In this open letter to President Barack Obama and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, European parliamentarians demand the immediate release of Bradley Manning.
The post European Parliamentarians Ask President Obama To Free Bradley Manning appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.