Open Letter to all Members of the

Canadian Armed Forces:

"Thou Shalt Not Kill!"

Refuse to Kill or Be Killed in An

Unjust, Immoral, Illegal War

Turn Your Swords into Ploughshares

December, 2002


We are writing at this crucial time because you have a choice: a choice to act morally, legally, safely, to avert a humanitarian disaster.

Quite simply, we are encouraging you to lay down your weapons and refuse to fight. Under international and Canadian law, this is not only your right, it is also your obligation.

We write to say that we will support you in coming to and dealing with your decision not to fight.

If thousands of men and women like yourselves refused to fight, it would make current and future war plans difficult, if not impossible, to carry out. And like all workers, you have a right to a safe working environment, and the conditions of war, any war, do not fit the bill.

We also write to say if you do decide to fight, we completely disagree with your choice, but we commit ourselves to fighting, nonviolently, alongside of you when you, like the veterans of the 1991 war against Iraq, return home and receive little or no support or compensation whatsoever from the War Dept. in dealing with deadly Gulf War Syndrome (radioactive poisoning from exposure to depleted uranium munitions) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (suffered by one-third of Gulf War vets)

The white men who send you to war (War Minister John McCallum, War Propaganda Minister Bill Graham, and John Chretien, among others) will not be sharing with you some key information.

You have a right to know the following:

A. Like all wars, the escalation of the ongoing war against the Iraqi people is illegal. It violates some of the most basic precepts of international laws and treaties to which Canada is a party, including:

•the Treaty Providing for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy (aka Kellogg-Briand Pact)

• the Declaration of St. Petersburg (Declaration Renouncing the Use in Time of War of Explosive Projectiles Under 400 Grammes of Weight)

• Resolution on the Non-Use of Force in International Relations and Permanent Prohibition on the Use of Nuclear Weapons

• the Charter of the United Nations

• Hague Convention on Land Warfare

• Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare

• Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

• Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (The Geneva Convention)

• Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques

• the Nuremberg Principles

• the Canadian War Crimes Act.

B. Like all wars, soldiers who are sent off in a blaze of marching band glory often return, if they do return, horribly injured, traumatized, sick, with a wide range of debilitating illnesses. They are greeted with cold stone silence from the men who sent them to fight. If you do find yourself in this situation, we in the anti-war movement will be here to demand full compensation, medical treatment, therapy, whatever is necessary for you to recover.

C. Violence simply does not work. If it did, wars would have ended centuries ago. In the unlikely event that you do face serious armed resistance from the Iraqi forces, it is quite possible that some of the weapons or weapons components being aimed at you were made right here in Canada, which continues to profit from a $5 billion per year war industry.

D. Under the Nuremberg Principles, you have an obligation NOT to follow the orders of leaders who are preparing crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. We are all bound by what U.S. Chief Prosecutor Robert K. Jackson declared in 1948: [T]he very essence of the [Nuremberg] Charter is that individuals have intentional duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state."

At the Tokyo War Crimes trial, it was further declared "[A]nyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something about it is a potential criminal under international law unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent commission of the crimes."

So we call on you: refuse orders to be sent to this or any other war. Stay at home with your friends and families, work with us to turn your armouries into housing for the homeless, work with us to transform the War Dept. into the Dept. of Human Needs, help us teach the world that you can't keep the peace with a gun, help veterans of past wars receive full compensation and proper treatment for their illnesses, join us to demand that we fill the world with food and shelter, not with guns and bombs, join us to reclaim our country as a place of need, not greed, a place where environmental respect and human dignity are placed before a system which profits from war and human misery.


on behalf of Homes not Bombs