Three Cheers for War Resisters Bradley, Peter & Joe
In a time of an unfortunately quiescent peace movement – partly and stupidly lulled by social-democrat incumbents in the US and Australia – it might be time to acknowledge and express solidarity with three war resisters to the US-led imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that together have so far cost over a million lives.
In July 22 year-old US army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was arrested and charged with allegedly leaking footage to WikiLeaks of a US war crime, a lethal helicopter attack on Reuters journalists and a number of civilians (including children) in Baghdad in 2007. Bradley now joins the honourable tradition of anti-war whistleblowers shared by the likes of Daniel Ellsberg and Mordechai Vanunu.
This week Australian Peter Gray threw a shoe at ex-Prime Minister John Howard on a national TV show. Unfortunately he missed. Howard, now touting his memoirs like fellow war criminal Tony Blair, was of course an enthusiastic client-state supporter of Bush’s militarism and the Anglo-Saxon ‘Coalition of the Killing’ in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In July ex-British soldier Joe Glenton was released from prison after serving four months of a nine months sentence for desertion. On his release he declared (translated back from a German translation in Graswurzelrevolution 351, September 2010, p. 5):
‘It was and is an honour to disobey. I have realised that the true enemy is not the person you’re aiming your weapon at but the person who’s standing behind or above you and telling you to pull the trigger.’
In 2007 Joe had been traumatised by seven months of duty in Afghanistan and went AWOL. Two years later he gave himself up and publically declared his refusal to continue serving in Afghanistan at an anti-war demonstration in London. He wrote to the British Minister of Defence saying:
‘The war in Afghanistan is not reducing terrorism. Far from improving the lives of Afghanis, the war is bringing death and destruction to the land. Great Britain has no right to be there.’
While in prison Joe at times received 200 daily postcards of support and never felt alone. He wasn’t.
Further good news is that, according to the British Ministry of Defence’s own figures, since 2003 more than 17,000 British troops have gone AWOL. These 17,000 who have voted with their feet against these imperial wars have of course never got a mention in the corporate media. It’s all just the usual flag waving, photo opps for visiting politicians and square-jawed ‘getting the job done’. Funny that.
~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on October 31, 2010.