Resisters not refugees
RE How can we resist? (NOW, November 22-28).
While it's hard not to sympathize with U.S. soldiers who don't want to fight in Iraq, I find it even harder to consider them refugees or accept comparisons to Vietnam-era draft dodgers.
At worst, they'll have to serve a few months in a military jail or will simply receive a dishonourable discharge - hardly the serious threat of torture and/or execution that real refugees face.
Time for GIs to face music
Read your piece on the American deserters. You have some good points, but they swore an oath to obey the orders of the President of the United States, no matter how stupid.
As a Canadian who joined the U.S. Marines in the mid-80s, I received many questionable orders that went against my conscience, but I followed them. I went where they told me to go and did what they told me to do.
The leftist Canadian media likes to compare Iraq deserters to those who dodged the war in Vietnam. How wrong. Draft dodgers didn't want to become part of the military, they wanted the choice of joining of their own free will, not to be made to join and fight.
If Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are truly "two brave American warriors," then they need to go back to face the music.
Death before dishonour.
Rights worth warring for
For all Michael Hollett's passion for the U.S. Army deserters seeking asylum in Canada, he skims over this simple truth: every single soldier in that army, including Hinzman, Hughey and others seeking asylum, signed up in full awareness of what that service entails.
If they were "duped," as Hollett suggests, it was by their own greed or overconfidence.
Whatever "courage" these deserters show in facing legal punishment (unlikely to be more than a fine or mild prison term) is dwarfed by the courage shown by those risking injury and death daily in an attempt to build a future for Afghanistan and Iraq.
If Hollett wants Canada to retake its place as the "conscience of the West," he should realize that upholding a conscience sometimes means fighting and sacrificing lives.
Stephen J. Barringer
Refuseniks defending peace
NOW's excellent coverage of the U.S. war resisters shows there is real hope for those who have refused to commit war crimes in the illegal war and occupation of Iraq.
While Harper remains more dedicated to Bush than his own citizens, hundreds have mobilized to defend American war resisters across Canada.
Ontarians support these soldiers of conscience. Their first-hand accounts of the illegality, criminality and violence of the war have opened our eyes to the reality of Iraq on the front lines.
We cannot allow women and men who have followed international law to end up in military prisons in the U.S. Canada must remain a refuge from militarism.
RE Russell Barth's letter bemoaning Remembrance Day poppies and the fact he can't grow poppies for medicine in his backyard (NOW, November 15-21).
Barth, you dim-witted fuck!
The poppy is a nationally recognized symbol of the many men and women who have given their lives so that ungrateful pukes like you have the freedom to voice misleading arguments. Suck my bong!
Your comment about safety warnings in Electroshock Treachery (NOW, November 22-28) is specious. In the lower 48 states we have warnings on everything. We even warn people not to iron their clothes while wearing them. As for the inference that the warning issues by Taser International followed several lawsuits, Taser is 62-0 in court cases. FYI: while I am a non-lethal weapons expert, I have no affiliation with Taser Inernational.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Joy to the world
Ah, so now it begins -- the Joy Division backlash phase, to be spearheaded by none other than music snob extraordinaire Tim Perlich (NOW, November 15-21).
As a fellow music snob, I can't understand on what basis he gave all three JD albums a mere three Ns.
True, Joy Division's singles definitely take a front seat to their albums, but the singles are mainly advertisements, while the albums go deeper. The fact is, these albums are deeply personal, particularly Closer, which sounds like Ian Curtis's suicide note set to music.
They don't just reflect the inner passions and conflicts of their creator but of the music of the time.
Iran's nuke cloud
Iran may not be seeking uranium to enrich for nuclear weapons, putting it in the same peaceful camp as Australia or Agentina (NOW, November 22-28).
However, the leaders of those two countries have not spouted rhetoric about wiping another country and its inhabitants off the map. How can the leaders of the world roll the dice by allowing a country with this sort of leader to enrich uranium?
I read mine shaft with interest (NOW, November 15-21) and believe a rebuttal is in order.
Although I decline to debate ancient history or the actions of my predecessors, I would point out that the Serpent River Watershed is anything but a radioactive wasteland.
A 1999 study confirmed that the Serpent River Watershed was a healthy ecosystem with fish that are safe to eat and water that meets health-related drinking water standards.
Denison Mines Corp. and its subsidiaries are committed to the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility and takes great pride in the ethical way in which we conduct our business.
As I'm sure you are aware, the world is experiencing a "nuclear renaissance," as your colleagues in the fourth estate have christened it.
Clean, safe nuclear power is a greenhouse-gas-free alternative to fossil fuel power. And Denison Mines is a safe and reliable source of uranium for nuclear power that will serve generations to come.
E. Peter Farmer
CEO, Denison Mines Corp
Local food disaster
RE Big food's local distaste (NOW, November 22-28). The fight of mammoth retailers and the profit-based industrial agrifood industry against local farming is simply one hydra head of the greater beast: Milton Friedman-style economics.
The fight against local farming did not start recently. It started in 1983 with NAFTA. Our right to healthy, local food was replaced by foreigners' rights to sell food to us produced with lower environmental standards.
Now we have California produce fertilized with municipal sewer sludge and irrigated with municipal wastewater passing as "organic."
Hey, poop is natural, right?
DDT answer for bedbugs
You mention the current plague of bedbugs in Toronto and demand action from the city (NOW, November 15-21).
The best solution? Bring back DDT. Banned in the 1970s due to health and ecological concerns, it has always been our best weapon against bedbugs.
While we should continue with a ban on aerial spraying and any use in the natural environment, it is ridiculous that homeowners cannot use it indoors.
Bedbugs are so resilient to other pesticides that it often takes multiple sprayings overs several years to rid a building of the problem.
While I faithfully read and pay attention to your movie reviews, generally agree with your political positions and know I should try to pay attention to "green tips and ethical giving" in the Gift Guide, I have to draw the line at the AltHealth article entitled Calming Anal Volcanoes (NOW, November 22-28).
You've gone too far this time, suggesting that farting is something to be remedied. Other than Councillor Rob Ford or PM Stephen Harper, who would be your target audience for these well-meaning but all-too-serious experts?
Are you trying to take all the fun out of life?
Please stick to politics and entertainment and let us who see this as a freedom-of-expression issue continue to fart fearlessly and frequently in peace.
Une petite gaffe: it's Juliet Berto, not Anne Wiazemsky, who's pictured above John Harkness's review of La Chinoise (NOW, November 15-21). Merci!