Tom Hayden will be speaking with U.S. war resister Rodney Watson at First United Church at 7:00pm Wednesday in Vancouver. Watson has been given sanctuary in the church for two years while seeking refuge in Canada. For more details on Watson's case, please read Hayden’s previous report, "Church of Misfits Shelters War Resister."
Hayden will also discuss the “Long War” doctrine underlying the trillion-dollar wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and now Libya, and the budgetary effects of the Long War on domestic priorities. He will discuss the potential of building a movement across boundaries to change these priorities.
A Canadian general, Charles Bouchard, Canadian warplanes, Canadian vessels and no less than 560 Canadian military personnel are in action against Libya. While many in Canada and the U.S. will differ over the invasion of Libya, there is an emerging consensus in favor of avoiding a quagmire and further escalation. Hayden is calling for “negotiations now,” a diplomatic alternative to the probability of a ground war involving Western troops. Even if Qaddafi is forced to abandon power, a massive intervention will be required to fill the vacuum, at unknown costs. The Libyan intervention will remain a center of debate as it unfolds.
The pressure to invade the Middle East grows as Canada, and other NATO countries, prepare to end their combat role in Afghanistan, where more than 150 Canadians have been killed, and many more have been wounded, at costs ranging over $20 billion CAD.
Hayden, a long-time environmentalist and state senator, also will discuss the proposed Tar Sands pipeline, which is being developed as a supposed alternative to dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
“With or without the Tar Sands, the U.S. will continue its close ties to Middle Eastern oligarchies unless they all collapse. Even a New York Times editorial says no to the Tar Sands proposal. The first priority for our countries has to be conservation and renewable resources of energy, promoted on a crash basis, creating green jobs at home. Options like the Tar Sands or nuclear power plants are super-expensive, polluting, long-term and dangerous,” Hayden says.
 Fatalities: 155 dead as of April 19, 2011.
 Wounded: 1,859 wounded as of December 31, 2010.
 Costs (est.): $7 billion in direct expenditures, $11 billion in future health care costs for veterans, $2 billion for equipment purchases including drones, $2 billion for a fleet replacement, $400 million for additional overhead. (Ottawa Citizen, September 18, 2008)