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Canadian Greens Oppose the Military Option
Ottawa. October 19, 2001.
The Green Party of Canada is deeply concerned that the Canadian government, by participating in the military “coalition” attacking Afghanistan, is only worsening the conditions that will cause the terrorist movement to spread to Muslims previously neutral on the need for “teaching America a lesson..” “Showing sympathy to America for its victims doesn’t entail following its military into a counter-productive strategy,” says Green Party of Canada leader Chris Bradshaw.
The bombings, which have resulted in the loss of life of many civilians, cannot be explained as attempts to kill only those who planned the horrific and unjustified bombings in the US. They are going beyond the targeting of the Taliban government who continue to harbor the terrorists on its soil. Many in the Muslim world will see only the civilian lives lost and the bombs hitting the Red Cross compound and be comforted by their assessment of American power as unlimited and evil.
Speaking in the House of Commons on February 8, 1991, then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said “The coalition is at war with Saddam Hussein—not with the people of Iraq.” Ten years later, Saddam Hussein is still in power and many thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, including a disproportionate number of infants, have died since the end of Gulf War.
“Prime Minister Jean Chretien tells us we are at war with the Taliban, not the people of Afghanistan. What outcome can we expect this time?” asked Green Party Leader Chris Bradshaw, “When will we ever stop throwing gasoline on the fire, helping create the next generation of terrorists?”
A root cause of terrorism in the world today is the continued use of military violence against innocent civilians.
A root cause of terrorism in the world today is the continued use of military violence against innocent civilians. Another is the staging of incursions by a powerful government from the foreign soils of undemocratic governments. A third is the actions of governments to destabilize the politics of other countries through recruiting, training, and arming men like Osama bin Laden who claim the status of “freedom fighters” because they oppose regimes unfriendly to their funders/suppliers’ “interests.”
On June 5, 1947 George C. Marshall while surveying the wrecked economies of Europe noted the “possibilities of disturbances arising as a result of the desperation of the people concerned.” He went on to state that there could be “no political stability and no assured peace” without economic security, and that US policy should be “directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.”
“We need another Marshall Plan to address the growing global inequities between peoples, not a return to the politics of the ‘Cold War’ and an escalation of militarism, concluded Bradshaw. “The West needs to understand that Terrorism is not a battle over territory, but over men’s minds, over the moral high ground. It will need to be fought more like the war on poverty—and far more successfully.”
The Green Party of Canada/Parti Vert du Canada
244 Gerrard Street East
Toronto, Ontario, M5A 2G2
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Fax: 416 922 7709
For further information, please contact: Christopher J. Bradshaw, Interim Leader [email:email@example.com] or Raphaël Thierrin, International Secretary [email:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Have German Greens Betrayed Their Roots?
I have resigned as the leader of the Green Party of Canada, and have withdrawn from the Green Party itself. I had been interested in the Green Party because of its international roots and because of its strong stance on peace issues, and I sent a strong statement out on March 24, 1999 condemning the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, and condemning the German Greens, who were in a unique position to promote alternatives, actively supporting the NATO bombing. It became increasingly difficult for me to justify being the leader of a political party with international roots that, when the party was in a position of power, denied its roots in the peace movement. I decided to finally step down from the leadership of the Green Party of Canada when, at the international press conference at Nader’s presidential nomination meeting, we were asked how can you justify the German Greens’ supporting the NATO bombing when the Green Party emerged from the peace movement. I could not justify the German Greens’ position, and I decided then that it was just a matter of time before I would resign.
Again, the German Greens have let the International Green Party movement down by supporting the instituting of Article 5 of NATO. Again, this was an opportunity for the Green Party to demonstrate that when it is in a position of power it will stick to principle. and again it has failed. So often citizens had said to me when I was leading the party that the Green Party is no better than other parties because it is willing, when elected, to violate one of its fundamental principles of non-violence.
This is not a time for retribution but for respect for the International Court of Justice to have jurisdiction and have its decisions implemented.
Joan Russow, Ph.D,
Former Leader of the Green Party of Canada (April 1997–March 2001)