WHEREAS, according to Canadian Department of Immigration statistics there are tens of thousands of anti-war exiles in Canada alone while, however, the majority of war resisters are inside the US, where an estimated 200,000 live underground, thousands behinds bars, many with court records, and over 500,000 veterans suffer from less than honorable discharges issued during the Indochina War era; and
WHEREAS, any amnesty that separates for different treatment pre- and post-induction resisters (draft resisters and those who are resisted or separated themselves from the military) fails to recognize that class and race factors more than anything else resulted in these distinctions and that such an amnesty would essentially discriminate against working-class and a disproportionate number of nonwhite resisters, those who have already been forced to bear the heaviest burdens of the war;
BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1973 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges that the Congress of the United States enact a universal and unconditional amnesty (with no alternate service or other punitive measures, and to avoid unworkable, unjust case-by-case judgments) for:
- All military resisters including so-called "deserters," and draft resisters in exile or underground in the US;
- All people who, because of their opposition to the Indochina War, have been arrested, have been or are now in civilian and military prisons, or for this reason are now being sought for prosecution — this includes a clearing of their records;
- The more than half-million Vietnam era veterans who have been discharged from the military with less than honorable discharges who will suffer from permanent loss of civil rights, and discrimination in employment without an amnesty. The classification of military discharges as honorable or otherwise should be eliminated retroactively into one single category of discharges.
By supporting complete amnesty, we do not mean to imply lack of recognition of the hardships, heartaches and sufferings of all other citizens who were affected by US military involvement in Southeast Asia.