On my more troubled laundry weeks, I’m forced to break out the aging protest T-shirts. The most embarrassing of these dates from the 1980s — bad enough — and features a hand-painted happy face graced with a single eye. The punch line reads, “Mutants for Uranium.” It’s a forgotten slogan from a forgotten cause — which is why, last week, it was giving me ideas.

Like everyone else who stands opposed to the threat of an absurdist war in Iraq, I’m wondering how to turn up the heat on America. (Hands up all those who think Tony Blair would be bombing Baghdad today if the U.S. had never taken an interest. That’s right: no one.) Peace marches remain the front line of world public opinion, but the White House isn’t listening. We need to find, as Arundhati Roy has said, “a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.”

Here in Canada, we have a head start — we’re already 30 million pains in the ass to the United States. Still, there’s certainly more we can do. In Europe, they’re blockading U.S. military bases and locking down the ports where the Pentagon’s latest killer apps are ready to unload. What about us? What’s our home front against this war?

Here’s where the old protest T-shirts come in. Because, of course, Canadians can draw on decades of opposition to U.S. militarism. Most of these campaigns have been cryogenically preserved in church basements since the Cold War, but they’re more than ready for a return by popular demand.Take, for example, Canada’s defence industry. Last year, Canadian companies did $638 million in trade with the U.S. Department of Defense. In case you suspect that most of that is case-loads of muffins for army canteens, note that Canadian-made light armoured vehicles are currently poised for use in Iraq. Take a look, too, at the Joint Strike Fighter, a U.S.-led effort to develop a new generation of combat aircraft. According to the Department of National Defence, Canada is positioned for involvement to the tune of $10 billion over the lifetime of the project.

The Canadian military industry is well integrated into the U.S. military,” says Ken Epps, a senior program associate with the Project Ploughshares peace group. “The links are longstanding and institutional.”

They’re also difficult to uncover. According to Epps, Canada keeps detailed records of its military exports to every nation — except the U.S., where no export permits are required. Instead, true north military hardware is sold to America through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), a federal agency. But the CCC is hardly a simple, apolitical conduit. As its own PR states, with the CCC connection “your U.S. [Department of Defense] buyer can have the full assurance that the Government of Canada is standing behind your deal.”

Get a load of this, as well: “In times of crisis or war, the CCC serves as Canada’s national contracting instrument associated with industrial mobilization of Canadian sources of supply in keeping with our obligations to the United States.”

Such crisis conditions are unlikely to kick in as America humiliates Iraq for a second time. Even on a slow day, though, the CCC ranks among the top twenty U.S. military suppliers, acting as the prime contractor for such Canadian military majors as General Motors Canada, CAE and Bombardier. From a public protest perspective, I’ll just say this: each of these corporations has an address.

And then, yes, there’s uranium. The Canadian uranium industry has had it fairly easy since 1965, when Canada declared that it would not sell uranium for military purposes — but that was back when the only real worry was nuclear bombs. Today, we’ve entered a new uranium age: the U.S. is using depleted uranium, a waste product of uranium enrichment, as heavy armour and as a hot-burning casing for cracking “hardened” targets.

A debate is raging about the health and environmental risks of “DU” (as depleted uranium is known to its military fans). In one of the most recent studies, the UN Environment Program found that the DU left over from strikes on ninety-six sites after the Kosovo War is unlikely to cause harm. The issue will remain a radioactive hot button, however, because depleted uranium is entering a weapons-grade zeitgeist. The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that 285 tonnes of DU were used in the first Gulf War. It’s not clear how much was dropped on Afghanistan, but here’s the preliminary report: a lot. Each celebrated “bunker buster” bomb contained 1.5 tonnes of depleted uranium. Would you want to be downwind when that beast burned up?

Lest we forget: Gulf War II is expected to begin — I repeat, to begin — with ten times the number of bombs dropped on Iraq in 1991.

Will Canadian uranium be directly involved? That’s the question that might finally have to be answered if Canada’s uranium industry became a point of protest. So far, the facts line up like this: Canada is the world’s largest producer of uranium. The United States is the Canadian uranium industry’s best customer. Canadian officials “seriously doubt” that our uranium is ending up in DU weapons, but no one is looking into the matter, and the U.S. doesn’t track the origins of its depleted uranium stockpiles.

Suddenly, my “Mutants for Uranium” T-shirt is gaining retro chic.

The list of opportunities for a fiercer peace campaign goes on and on. Want to confront the U.S. on its weapons of mass destruction? Revive the campaign to keep American nuclear warships from routinely visiting Canadian ports. Or organize a statement against Americas soldier-of-fortune foreign policy at the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range, a 225-square-kilometre torpedo shooting gallery regularly used by the U.S. navy. It’s in the Strait of Georgia, in Canadian waters just north of Vancouver.

None of these is a make-or-break issue directly tied to the outbreak of war, but each represents a concrete chance to confront the American rogue state within Canadian borders. Think globally, act locally. I think I have an old bumper sticker somewhere that says exactly that.