Friday, June 19, 2009

Canada to Conscientious Objectors: Find Another Border to Cross

I’m an American, whose born in Canada grandfather may have been one of the youngest there to serve in the their Black Watch in World War I, in the trenches and gassed. He would later serve here through 3 more “wars” in the merchant marine. I also have to study America sometimes for the legal requirements of archaeology in historic sites proposed to be developed. In NYC, where I am, the first US Congress met and two “National Guard” units were once in what was the city’s theater district and various burial grounds now known as “The Bowery”. One unit, “Steuben Rifles” its officer in courts martial after the so-called “Draft Riots” would be called out to march to Washington, DC to protect it during the Civil War. The other had the famous 7th Regiment or Park Ave. Armory built for it with private funds.

In the Vietnam era, ten years in which the US Congress failed to declare war, which only it can do, I heard that less than 1000 National Guard personnel ever even saw Vietnam, millions did, and many joined it to escape the draft which ended during my 18th year, I had a number, those of that age since allowed to vote.

I feel many of the National Guard, many in their 30s and even 40s are the wrong people to pull out of society and make serve where the other branches of the service do not, in Iraq and Afghanistan. What of the 50,000 troops we keep today in Germany? And what of others? We have calamities in weather, fire and design here in the US the National Guard could be helping instead, which I thought was why it was created, the perceived “last line of defense”.

Whereas the “hopped up” Illinois Air Guard also killed five Canadian troops with bombs in Afghanistan and it took three days for former President Bush to apologize, I am not surprised that Canada would continue to make what we are doing an “issue”.

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