Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« North Korea saves Beijing's bacon | Main | Larsen calls the attack on his past drug experimentation “a hit job” and the NDP says it will have a new candidate by the end of the day »

Friday, September 19, 2008

Liberals join Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young in supporting war resisters

On September 13, 2008, the Western Standard reported that…

In a packed room in the basement of the Parkdale United Church in Calgary, Dennis Young, a veteran of NATO operations in Bosnia and leader of the Libertarian Party, today told Iraq war resister Chuck Wiley to ignore the critics who call him a coward: “What you have done takes courage,” said Young to a roar of applause.

Chief Petty Officer Wiley, a self-described Ron Paul libertarian and 17-year military veteran, told an audience of peace activists that he deserted the U.S. military after he was forced to choose between upholding his sworn oath to defend the constitution or participating in what he considers to be illegal war activities.

Today, the CBC is reporting that Liberal MP Bob Rae has reaffirmed the Liberal Party’s support for allowing conscientious objectors of the Iraq war to take up permanent residence in Canada.

"I don't think we should be having a situation where we're dead set on deportation in every situation, which seems to be the position of the government," Rae said.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 19, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Liberals join Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young in supporting war resisters:


Conscientious Objectors are those that refused to serve when DRAFTED. This coward ENLISTED in the military. He is indeed a coward and should be prosecuted for the abrogation of his oath.
Bob Rae is an insufferable asshole and should not be paid attention to. He does not reflect the values of the majority of Canadians and should be summarily dismissed at the polls.

Posted by: atric | 2008-09-19 3:46:54 PM

The issue for me -- and one that Shotgunners have brought up over and over again -- is the contractual agreement between these war resisters and the US military.

I have yet to hear clear evidence that the US military violated the terms of their agreement with these soldiers, which would mean the contracts should still be binding, and so should the punishment for violating the contracts.

You can't sign up in peace time and then quit in war time, unless there has been a material breach in the contract.

Wiley, however, is siting the Nuremberg decision which demands that soldiers refuse to participate in activities they know to be immoral. The "just taking orders" defence no longer applies, says Wiley, who felt he could not legally or morally continue to serve.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-19 4:01:23 PM

I just don't see this guy as a coward. He could have done his tour without ever hearing a shot fired. He didn't have to make waves. He must have known he was in for more trouble from resisting than for doing his shift.

Posted by: dp | 2008-09-19 4:06:17 PM

Libertarians in bed with the Liebrals, the Dippers and their corporate masters? For shame!

It should be clear by now that these deserters do not have a sufficient claim to stay in Canada. You guys are embracing a lost issue that has already been claimed by other parties. Why not abandon Dion, Layton and May and join the winning team with Harper?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-19 4:12:56 PM

Doesn't the US military say that you "defend the Constitution" in its contract with military personelle? If so, is the war in Viet-Raq, Constitutional? Doesn't the Constitution advocate against foreign intervention?

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-19 4:16:53 PM

ZP -- I have supported every move made by Harper and his team that has reduced the size and scope of government. The list is not long.

dp -- I think you are right that this guy is not a coward. He was three years away from a good pension and was at very little risk of getting injured. Whatever might be said about him, he's doing what he is doing out of principle at great cost to himself.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-19 4:19:45 PM

Libertarians in bed with the Liebrals, the Dippers and their corporate masters? For shame!
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 19-Sep-08 4:12:56 PM

Zeb, when you come to truly understand Libertarianism you will find that it does not embody all that is Liberal and Conservative by today's standards. But it does embody the best of both the traditional Liberal and traditional Conservative values. It is bt spliting hairs about left and right politics that we are all kept so busy arguing that we miss the bigger picture. All I want is an end to socialism in Canada, by whatever label, I don't care.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-19 4:20:34 PM

"Whatever might be said about him, he's doing what he is doing out of principle at great cost to himself."

I disagree. He's in Canada right now attempting to avoid the cost of his decisions. Were he an honorable man, he would have stayed in the US and faced the court martial. I don't call him a coward because he left the military, I call him a coward because he's using us as a shield in order to avoid the consequences of his actions...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2008-09-19 4:51:57 PM

Professional, and voluntary, soldiers who refuses to fight cannot be called "concientious objectors". They are deserters and must be treated thus.
And I am a libertarian.

Posted by: Johan i Kanada | 2008-09-19 4:57:25 PM

Good point, Richard. I get the feeling that these guys are using this opportunity to generate media attention.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-19 5:04:28 PM

knob rae keeps piling up reasons for moving somewhere, anywhere!

Posted by: reg dunlop | 2008-09-19 6:10:14 PM

Courage my ass! It is a voluntary army and the US in Iraq under a UN mandate set to expire soon.
This Libertarian party sounds more and more like the Layton and the NDP everyday.
John McCain stuck it out in hotel Hanoi-now thats bravery folks!
Matthew come off it in your agreement with Richard as I am sure you support this deserter? no?
Of course they want attention and you just gave them some Matthew.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-19 8:00:36 PM

I'm wondering who's the real deserter here - CPO Willey or you people for abandoning the only real hope you have - Harper - for the Liebral/NDP/Green party. Shame if you think anything will come of it.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-19 8:17:10 PM

JC - have you ever read the Constitution? It says nothing about "non-intervention." That was rhetoric at the time.

Leaving aside the Revolution, all of the significant Founders either prepared for, advocated, or fought foreign wars.

Washington, of course, was put in the command of the army raised to fight the French during the Quasi War.

Hamilton - well, I'm sure that everyone will grant me Hamilton.

Adams was President during the Quasi War with France and it was on his watch that the US Navy was created.

Jefferson, the favourite Founder of many libertarians (unsurprisingly again, Hamilton is mine) fought an undeclared war against the Barbary Corsairs. And, for that matter, he pushed through the Louisiana Purchase even though he thought it might violate the strict letter of the Constitution.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-09-19 8:34:27 PM

Washington advised against foreign entanglements, by which many interpreted to mean treaties. At the time the US was still allied to France following the Revolution which caused all kinds of problems. The next foreign treaty the US signed was the North Atlantic Charter which formed NATO in 1949.

It's not so much that some founders advocated foreign interventions. The foreigners forced them to act, especially the Barbary Pirates.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-19 9:21:50 PM

Merle wrote: "Matthew come off it in your agreement with Richard as I am sure you support this deserter? No?"

Belligerent as usual, I see. Yes, I'm genuinely conflicted, Merle. A contract is a contract.

So I have to ask myself: did the US government violate the terms of its contract with these former soldiers? Just because they don’t agree with the war in Iraq doesn’t mean they can just walk away without paying the consequences.

If the war is truly a violation on the constitution, that’s different. If the war violates the Geneva Convention (Gunatoman Bay?), that’s different. If soldiers are asked to do unconscionable things – violating the Nuremburg decision -- that is also different.

I want to hear those arguments from these war resisters. Wiley make some good arguments, but I'm not yet convinced.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-19 10:42:43 PM

JC - have you ever read the Constitution? It says nothing about "non-intervention." That was rhetoric at the time.
Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 19-Sep-08 8:34:27 PM

Fair enough Adam. I didn't actually know which is why I posed the question. :)
That said, maybe this CPO should head home and take up his case there.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-20 3:51:32 AM

Matthew: I think you're looking at it the wrong way. Soldiers are responsible to their country and their government. If their country breaks the rules, that does not give them the right to violate their oaths. Hence, they will be held accountable by their services. In other words, using Geneva Convention or Nuremburg laws is not a sufficient defense for desertion.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-20 6:39:27 AM

Sorry about the spam but I invite the readers of your blog to cast their votes for the coming federal canadian election on my blog at


I aim a hundred votes before October 14th so I thank everyone in advance to help me reach that goal. If you're entitled to vote, please give me a hand.

Best regards,

Tym Machine

Posted by: Tym Machine | 2008-09-20 9:57:34 AM

Of course the Liberals are taking up the cause. It probably reminds them of their halcyon days back in the Vietnam era. It's not like opening their arms to deserters is anything new for them, is it? And, of course, it allows them to stick two stinky fingers up Uncle Sam's butt, which is their primary reason for existence in the first place.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-20 10:06:37 AM

Shane: it wasn't always like that. WLM King made it his policy for closer US relations. He and FDR had a close friendship and enacted valuable policies like the Permanent Joint Board on Defense and the Hyde Park Agreement on war production (before the US even joined the war too). The Conservatives at the time attacked King for being too American and not British enough.

My how times have changed. But it shows that it is in Canada's best interests to cooperate with the US. Mulroney was right, Trudeau was wrong. Harper is right, Dion/Layton/May are nuts.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-20 10:16:54 AM

Its not belligerent Matthew- you just seem to take the middle road and safe road often.
Take Ezra, 1st of all you say he is your pal and then you call him a champion of free speech, yet you provide a luke warm response to his using defamation court to silence critics.
Yes this soldier was in a contract and he has to uphold it.
He is doing this for political reasons. He knew damned well he could be sent to Iraq.
Deport him straight back to the U.S of A

Posted by: Merle | 2008-09-20 11:21:05 AM

Young, in his zeal to distance himself from the Conservatives has ensured that he won't be pulling many votes from them. His position on abortion and now US deserters both show moral cowardice that offends traditional conservatives and at least some libertarians. Now all he has to do is focus on pot smoking legalization (with which I agree) and he will complete the image of irresponsibility that ensures Libertarian embarrassment at the polls. Even if he conducted a well spun campaign he couldn't do much better. A debating society up against professional vote buyers - not a pretty picture. Lets hope he gains a few converts for his efforts.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2008-09-20 11:23:12 AM

I take the middle of the road only when I'm undecided, Merle. On the issue of free speech, I'm the only writer/publisher I've come across who has taken a firm position against defamation law. While others, at best, think it should be used more responsibly.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-09-20 11:28:30 AM

Lets hope he gains a few converts for his efforts.

Posted by: John Chittick | 20-Sep-08 11:23:12 AM

Always enjoy your take on things John.
I'm a Libertarian and find that its difficult to remain entirely true to our doctrine and yet somehow get the attention of the voting public.
The work continues...

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-20 11:29:12 AM

I haven't taken the time to read all the above comments, but I'd like to address the "cowardice" angle on Chuck Wiley.

First, he was 3 years away from a pension. If he was a coward, he would have done nothing and cruised to retirement.

Second, he spent 17 years in the navy and has done more for the state than anyone else on this thread, I believe. So, if he's a coward, the people on this thread still have to look up to that cowardice as they have been even less brave by spouting for war but sitting on their butts.

So, we need to find a label for those who are less than cowardly so we can apply it to those on this thread.

Posted by: attitude | 2008-09-20 11:57:24 AM

i fucken hate
this thing people
Are saying he used us to get Away
and shit like moved back here
okay he did get in sometrouble iknow that
but do you know
the whole story?
cause i do..
Soo if your going cut him down Shut your Fucken mouth.

Posted by: andrew YOUNG | 2008-10-13 11:41:26 PM

attitude is right
and thanks

Posted by: Andrew | 2008-10-13 11:42:41 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.