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U.S. Soldiers Flee to Canada to Avoid Service in Iraq

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posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 02:36 AM
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American Army soldiers are deserting and fleeing to Canada rather than fight in Iraq, rekindling memories of the thousands of draft-dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam. An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale. Jeremy Hinzman, 26, from South Dakota, who deserted from the 82nd Airborne, is among those who - to the disgust of Pentagon officials - have applied for refugee status in Canada...



American Army soldiers are deserting and fleeing to Canada rather than fight in Iraq, rekindling memories of the thousands of draft-dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam.

An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale.

Jeremy Hinzman, 26, from South Dakota, who deserted from the 82nd Airborne, is among those who - to the disgust of Pentagon officials - have applied for refugee status in Canada.

The United States Army treats deserters as common criminals, posting them on "wanted" lists with the FBI, state police forces and the Department of Home Security border patrols.

Hinzman said last week: "This is a criminal war and any act of violence in an unjustified conflict is an atrocity. I signed a contract for four years, and I was totally willing to fulfil it. Just not in combat arms jobs."

Hinzman, who served as a cook in Afghanistan, was due to join a fighting unit in Iraq after being refused status as a conscientious objector.

He realised that he had made the "wrong career choice" as he marched with his platoon of recruits all chanting, "Train to kill, kill we will".

He said: "At that point a light went off in my head. I was told in basic training that if I'm given an illegal or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it. I feel that invading and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do.''

Pte Brandon Hughey, 19, who deserted from the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, said that he had volunteered because the army offered to pay his college fees. He began training soon after the invasion of Iraq but became disillusioned when no weapons of mass destruction were found.

"I had been willing to die to make America safe," he said. "I found out, basically, that they found no weapons of mass destruction and the claim that they made about ties to al-Qaeda was coming up short. It made me angry. I felt our lives as soldiers were being thrown away."

When he was ordered to deploy to Iraq, Hughey searched the internet for an "underground railroad" operation, through which deserting troops are helped to escape to Canada.

He was put in touch with a Quaker pacifist couple who had helped Vietnam draft-dodgers and was driven from Texas to Ontario.

The Pentagon says that the level of desertion is no higher than usual and denies that it is having difficulty persuading troops to fight. The flight to Canada is, however, an embarrassment for the military, which is suffering from a recruiting shortfall for the National Guard and the Army Reserves.

The deaths of 18 American soldiers in a suicide bomb attack in Mosul, northern Iraq, last month, was a further blow to morale. Soon after, the number of American soldiers killed since President Bush declared that large-scale combat operations were at an end passed the 1,000 mark.

Lt Col Joe Richard, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the US government wanted the deserters to be returned from Canada. "If you don't want to fight, don't join," he said.

"The men in Canada have an obligation to fulfil their military contracts and do their duty. If and when they return to this country, they will be prosecuted."

The penalty for desertion in wartime can be death. Most deserters, however, serve up to five years in a military prison before receiving a dishonourable discharge.

In order to stay in Canada, deserters must convince an immigration board that they would face not just prosecution but also "persecution" if they returned to America. Hinzman's hearing has begun in Toronto and a decision is expected next month.

During the Vietnam war an estimated 55,000 deserters or draft-dodgers fled to Canada. There were amnesties for both groups in the late 1970s under President Jimmy Carter, but many stayed.

One who did so is Jeffrey House, a Toronto-based lawyer, who represents some of the deserters. He said that at least 25 had reached Canada in recent months with the help of "railroad" organisations, and believed that the immigration board would back his clients.


By: Charles Laurence, telegraph.co.uk, Sunday 09 January 2004




posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 02:52 AM
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Notice:


MEMBERS: Do not simply post news articles in the forums without comment. If you feel inclined to make the board aware of current events, please post the first paragraph, a link to the entire story, AND your opinion, twist or take on the news item.


This is posted when making replies and/or creating a topic thread.


Not getting into the "political" rhetoric of this whole article and topic, I wish to simply make an observational comment: Isn't it interesting that we have "deserters" heading to Canada and criminals heading to Mexico? Hmmm.....





seekerof

[edit on 11-1-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 03:13 AM
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oops.
again i made the same mistake.
excessive quoting right?

i guess you cant hide from the army in mexico!
and you cant hide from the police in canada!



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 07:58 AM
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Seekerof:

Arent they the same thing? Deserters and criminals?

But the real irony here is: Mexicans and Canadians all seem to come to the US. So its like an exchange program!! We send our criminals and deserters and they send us our laborers and hockey players.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by Souljah
"At that point a light went off in my head. I was told in basic training that if I'm given an illegal or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it. I feel that invading and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do.''


He made the correct and lawful decision by leaving, although if he stayed in America and tried to argue that point in front of a U.S military court, he would have no hope in hell of winning against such a corrupt system in a time of war.

I say more soldiers should follow by his example if they are asked to participate in illegal activities.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by Johnny Redburn
He made the correct and lawful decision by leaving, although if he stayed in America and tried to argue that point in front of a U.S military court, he would have no hope in hell of winning against such a corrupt system in a time of war.

I say more soldiers should follow by his example if they are asked to participate in illegal activities.


While the reasons behind it are understandable, I think it's a stretch to say he made the lawful decision by leaving. It seems clear to me that he didn't, he not only broke his oath, but he dealt with it wrong by fleeing the US. It says if he feels he's given an immoral order he should disobey it... not run to another country seeking refuge.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 09:54 AM
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this two statements puzzle me:



An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale.



The Pentagon says that the level of desertion is no higher than usual and denies that it is having difficulty persuading troops to fight.


what? the "usual rate of desertion" is 5500 deserters in approximately 2 years?
now thats not a good rate!
2750 deserters a YEAR?
something is not going as planned.
maybe thats why "a draft" is closer than it appears.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 09:59 AM
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Id rather fight in Iraq than live in Canada. Let alone live in Canada as a deserter fugitive. I hope Canada does the right thing and sends them back to the US for prosecution.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
Id rather fight in Iraq than live in Canada.


May I ask why?



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by parrhesia
While the reasons behind it are understandable, I think it's a stretch to say he made the lawful decision by leaving. It seems clear to me that he didn't, he not only broke his oath, but he dealt with it wrong by fleeing the US. It says if he feels he's given an immoral order he should disobey it... not run to another country seeking refuge.

i partly agree with you;
if you want to fight and kill, join the army! if you dont want, dont go trying to wear a uniform!



Lt Col Joe Richard, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the US government wanted the deserters to be returned from Canada. "If you don't want to fight, don't join," he said.


but then again, he said that he made "a bad career choice", and i think most of those 5500 soldiers, who deserted are having the same problem. they have seen enaugh of killing in this pointless war, and are dissapointed by their country and their army. they lost their faith in their leaders.
maybe thats why they deserted.



He realised that he had made the "wrong career choice" as he marched with his platoon of recruits all chanting, "Train to kill, kill we will".

"I had been willing to die to make America safe," he said. "I found out, basically, that they found no weapons of mass destruction and the claim that they made about ties to al-Qaeda was coming up short. It made me angry. I felt our lives as soldiers were being thrown away."



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:11 AM
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Originally posted by Souljah
i partly agree with you;
if you want to fight and kill, join the army! if you dont want, dont go trying to wear a uniform!


I agree. The real possibilities and responsibilities of being in uniform should seriously be taken to heart before joining. And I think most do. If you're unsure as to whether you'll be able to handle it, or do your job effectively, keep out.


but then again, he said that he made "a bad career choice", and i think most of those 5500 soldiers, who deserted are having the same problem. they have seen enaugh of killing in this pointless war, and are dissapointed by their country and their army. they lost their faith in their leaders.
maybe thats why they deserted.



I think then that people should think hard and ponder the real possibilities of joining the military. It's the military... what'd they think they were going to get? How did they see their leaders before this war? It's really always been the same, IMO. I don't think you should join if there's a possibility of running off and evading duty.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid

Originally posted by skippytjc
Id rather fight in Iraq than live in Canada.


May I ask why?


Well, I already live in the USA and love it here. Even though my current government is questionable at best, its still the safest, cleanest place on earth. I worry about nothing. I have the freedom to do anything I want so long as it does not infringe on others freedoms. I can say anything I want and go anywhere I please.

So I look north and see our Canadian neighbors. Very similar to the US in many ways, but not actually the US. Canada simply does not have the security or resources that I have here. Canada is USA light. Like a lesser facsimile.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been to Canada and it can be beautiful and I met some great people (well, strippers). But why would I possibly want to live there when I already have the "real" thing? I’m not saying this to tick off Canadians, and I know it does, I am saying this because its how I feel and you asked.

I would rather serve my country in a war I do not support than move away to a country as a criminal that is second place to the one I already have.

Now, I don’t know the numbers, but I would be willing to bet for every American who has moved to Canada, I bet 10 Canadians moved to the USA. Can somebody verify what the numbers really are?

Anyways, the US will shake the current administration eventually, as it has many times in the past, and become the great nation it really is...again. And during these ups and downs, I can say that I will never sell myself to a "B" version of my country to avoid fighting for it.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 10:59 AM
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I think they should be shot as traitors.

THEY VOLUNTEERED.

They can back pedal and whine all they want the bottom line is they FREELY took an oath.

They didn't think they would have to fight? In the freaking AIRBORNE? They just wanted a free ride and now that they have to do the job they are being paid for they are going to run away with their tail tucked between their legs?

I have NO respect for a coward or an oath breaker



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 11:02 AM
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But you are not comparing Canada to the US, you are comparing it unfavorably with downtown Baghdad. I think that it is 10 time safer, as you would have it, in the worst neighborhood in Canada than in anywhere in Iraq, or most large cities in the States, ie: Detriot. Thus my question. BTW, your assessment of Canada I find to be inaccurate and insulting.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 11:03 AM
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Hate to say it but that is typical american thinking. Take and use as much as I can from the government but when the gov needs you, everyone is AWOL. Those deserters were sucking the government dry to pay for college, salary, skills to use in the future and when the gov came to them to fullfill their agreement to get all of these things, they took off.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 11:45 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
But you are not comparing Canada to the US, you are comparing it unfavorably with downtown Baghdad. I think that it is 10 time safer, as you would have it, in the worst neighborhood in Canada than in anywhere in Iraq, or most large cities in the States, ie: Detriot. Thus my question. BTW, your assessment of Canada I find to be inaccurate and insulting.


I'm an American citizen living and working in Toronto for a grand total 6 months this year on contract, and i gotta say.

I love this place! (Toronto)

The night life here kicks arse here, entertainment is above par, full of festivals, cultural diversity, people are friendly. I can see why Jeremy is fighting to achieve refugee status in Canada, he's living in the Toronto area! Btw, search this topic and you will discover it has been discussed before.

Peace



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 11:56 AM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
Well, I already live in the USA and love it here. Even though my current government is questionable at best, its still the safest, cleanest place on earth. I worry about nothing. I have the freedom to do anything I want so long as it does not infringe on others freedoms. I can say anything I want and go anywhere I please.

It's, by no means, the cleanest nor even close to the safest. That's a fallacy.
In fact, America is possibly the most dangerous country to live in. Look at our murder and violence stats compared to other "civil" countries. People rarely get shot in Canada, if at all. You can't say anything you please, nor can you do anything you want. You've been brainwashed. As a matter of fact, you have less freedom now than we did 20 years ago. You just don't realize it. I take it you're pretty young? Maybe you don't have anything to compare America to? Have you ever even been anywhere else?

[edit on 11-1-2005 by Damned]



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 12:18 PM
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These U.S. Marines that don't wanna go are smart they don't want to end up like these www.libertyforum.org...



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 12:25 PM
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These enlistees realize what is going on in Iraq is wrong and they did not sign up for the military to commit illegal acts. Its only right that they do what they can to remove themselves from a situation in which they would become accessories to a crime.



posted on Jan, 11 2005 @ 12:35 PM
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Where me and my family live, where I am able to give them a home, is clean and safe. No country in the world is totally clean and safe, but the USA has a higher standard of living than most. A higher percentage of its citzens enjoy a clean and crime free life. Remember the USA has nearly 300 million people living here. And nearly 100% have clean water to drink, electircity and adequate sewage removal. Not many countries in the world can claim that nearly 300 million of thier populace has that. And of those 300 million people, a higher % of them live rather nicely.

Hey, I dont hate Canada, but Id much rather fight for my superior country than live in yours. Canada wont admit it, but a very large part of everything you enjoy as freedom and security is owed to your American nieghbors. Some directly and some indirectly. Just sharing a border with the US gains you a basic degree of security other nations cannot claim.

Its a pitty that your government would harbor deserters from a government that it owes a great deal to. Shame shame.



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