Join us in helping Rodney Watson with his monthly food and phone expenses. Please donate via our friends at vancouverwarresisters.org with a one-time or monthly PayPal contribution.
By Bob Meola, Courage to Resist.
July 8, 2012
War Resister Rodney Watson (photo right) wishes he could be with his parents and
other family and friends in his home town of Kansas City, Missouri. He’d
like to see his wife and four year old son more than just on weekends
in Vancouver, B.C. too. He’d also like to take his young family home to
the United States and have his wife and his son meet his parents. But he
can’t. Rodney has been living in the sanctuary of United Church in
Vancouver since September 18, 2009. He eats and sleeps there and still
cannot leave the Church without the risk of being deported back to the
United States and to a military brig. After a tour of Iraq, in which he
witnessed the senseless brutality of the war and the same racism toward
the Iraqi people by U.S. enlisted soldiers and American contractors that
he knew so well from experiencing it as an African-American, growing up
in the United States, Rodney was stop-lossed.
Army Spc. Rodney Watson joined the Army in 2004 under a three year
contract. In 2005, he was deployed to Iraq. He signed up to be a cook
and instead was made to search vehicles and Iraqi civilians for
explosives, contraband and weapons before they entered the base. In
2006, when his tour of duty there was over, he was informed that his
contractual obligation to serve in the Army was being extended , without
his consent, and he would not be discharged from military service at
the agreed upon time. Rodney was a victim of the Army Stop Loss program.
Rather than continue to serve in the Army and face re-deployment to
Iraq in a war he knew was illegal and immoral, Rodney deserted and took
refuge in Canada.
Presently, Rodney finds himself in a legal limbo that has meant no
change in his case for quite a while. His lawyer will soon be
re-submitting an application for him to be granted asylum on
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds so that he can stay in Canada and
be able to resume being a father to his four year old son and a husband
on a daily basis. Because Rodney is confined to the church, he only
sees his wife and his son on weekends.
Rodney recently told me, “Any conscientious objector to the Iraq war
should not be punished because our leader, George Bush, himself went
AWOL. No Iraq war Veteran should be punished for waking up and going
AWOL after George W. Bush went AWOL from the National Guard and then
later led us into a war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction.
He should be locked up and not any of us awakened veterans from that
Iraq war. The war criminals are free while I’m sitting in sanctuary in a
church not able to go out in public. Thousands more [war resisters] are
underground in the states who had disagreement with that war. It
doesn’t make any sense to be punished for your conscience. I’m not a
pacifist but the Iraq war was an unnecessary aggression and it was for
natural resources and based on lies.
“If there is anything I can say to my fellow troops who are waking up
to the lies and corporate greed and corruption, it is that I salute you
and real change is not made by silence. I salute you for standing up
and speaking out."
Join us in helping Rodney with his monthly food and phone expenses. Please donate via our friends War
Resisters Support Campaign-Vancouver
BC-at vancouverwarresisters.org with a one-time or monthly PayPal contribution.