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View Full Version : US Deserters Flee to Canada to Avoid Iraq



Redsfaithful
01-14-2005, 04:15 PM
Nah, this isn't anything like Vietnam.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/09/wus09.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/01/09/ixportal.html


By Charles Laurence in New York
(Filed: 09/01/2005)

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.

REDREAD
01-14-2005, 05:50 PM
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

Why would he join the army if he was morally opposed to fighting? That doesn't seem fair that he thought he could join the army and be guaranteed to only be a cook for his entire term.

CbusRed
01-14-2005, 08:15 PM
Sounds like a bunch of babies looking for a free ride to me.

TC81190
01-14-2005, 08:17 PM
Sounds like a bunch of babies looking for a free ride to me.

Youth mistake, perhaps?

CbusRed
01-14-2005, 08:18 PM
Youth mistake, perhaps?

18 year olds are not youth.
they are legal adults.

TC81190
01-14-2005, 08:28 PM
In the minds of the government. Everyone's mind progresses differently. I hope I don't need to tell you that. ;)

CbusRed
01-14-2005, 08:29 PM
In the minds of the government. Everyone's mind progresses differently. I hope I don't need to tell you that. ;)

I understand that, But I dont care if you are 13 or 75, stealing from the government is wrong.

RBA
01-14-2005, 08:54 PM
18 year olds are not youth.
they are legal adults.

So you don't forgive George W. for not showing up for Guard duty as required to fulfill the terms of his contract? And he was in his twenties.

TeamCasey
01-14-2005, 09:03 PM
M&Ms Yum.

REDREAD
01-14-2005, 10:22 PM
So you don't forgive George W. for not showing up for Guard duty as required to fulfill the terms of his contract? And he was in his twenties.

You're right, those who use political influence or whatever to get out of their obligation are bad too.

But it really burns me that these guys VOLUNTEERED for this job, knowning darn well there was a chance of getting involved in war, and now they want out. The National Guard wasn't intended to be some kind of joke college subsidy where goof off one weekend a month. I know it used to be that way in some states, but if you are against fighting for your country, why join the national guard? At least the draft dodgers have the arguement that they are being compelled against their will. All these deserters VOLUNTEERED for this job.

GAC
01-14-2005, 10:25 PM
Nah, this isn't anything like Vietnam.

It's not. It's Iraq. I find it hilarious that someone who wasn't even around when the Viet Nam war was going on is trying to draw this comparison.

How many American soldiers died in Viet Nam, and how many years was that war, as compared to the current Iraq conflict. No comparison IMO.

And you complain about Fox, but you seem to love this English news source that can be accused of being just as partisan and has shown to be strongly against the Iraq War, and is no fan/supporter of this administration (so I guess I can understand why you hang out there ;) ).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/09/wus09.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/01/09/ixportal.html[/QUOTE]

CbusRed
01-14-2005, 10:28 PM
So you don't forgive George W. for not showing up for Guard duty as required to fulfill the terms of his contract? And he was in his twenties.

Nah, I forgive him.

He is in the middle of 8 years of service to his country at the highest level possible. And I dont really see him deserting this duty any time soon. Thats alot more than these free-loaders moving to canada will ever be able to say about themselves. ;)

Nice try though! :thumbup:

RosieRed
01-14-2005, 11:04 PM
For TC, and anyone else who needs 'em:

http://cherrypit.princeton.edu/rep2.jpg

KronoRed
01-14-2005, 11:06 PM
No peanut flavor Rosie? :D

RosieRed
01-14-2005, 11:07 PM
My bad!

http://www.gumball-machine.com/imgs/smcd/peanut-mm-candy.gif

TC81190
01-14-2005, 11:27 PM
Right. What am I missing? X)

RBA
01-14-2005, 11:28 PM
Thats alot more than these free-loaders moving to canada will ever be able to say about themselves. ;)

Nice try though! :thumbup:

He maybe a freeloader and I don't agree with his actions. He should either do his duty or face court marshall. Running away is not honorable.

But I have a problem with the bigger freeloaders. You know the ones. The ones who are quick to send other people kids off to die, but do not serve themselves. Freeloading on the freedom, but don't want to pay the price.

TeamCasey
01-14-2005, 11:31 PM
Do people still think this war was justified?

TC81190
01-14-2005, 11:33 PM
I stopped thinking about this war last year.

RBA
01-14-2005, 11:35 PM
I stopped thinking about this war last year.

It's better that way. Out of sight, out of mind. You sleep better that way. I wish I could.

Spring~Fields
01-14-2005, 11:54 PM
It's not. It's Iraq. I find it hilarious that someone who wasn't even around when the Viet Nam war was going on is trying to draw this comparison.

How many American soldiers died in Viet Nam, and how many years was that war, as compared to the current Iraq conflict. No comparison IMO.



I think that there are some government issues of proper execution and representation in handling this war. This conflict is still very young. At this young stage in Viet Nam, how many people had been killed, how many will be at the end of this conflict that has no real end in sight? Death and destruction is a stark "comparison" for some, and we don't even list damage to family survivors and children left behind, or the soldiers that have lost much of their ability to function physically day to day. So in some ways there just might be some comparisons to this conflict/human slaughter as there was in Viet Nam in the name of some cause.

On desertions, do we really want people that have a mind set to dessert with whatever reasoning actually serving in active military capacities? With a bit of extension in thinking, isn’t this a type of weeding out time for those that really do not belong in this career choice? If they had really blown it in basics wouldn’t they have been booted out i.e. that is weeded out, so then it seems to me that deserting would be the real test to see if they can cut it and for whatever reason they could not. So why not just terminate his or her military career and forget it, just like firing anyone else that fails to perform?

Besides I can understand their lack of motivation to have their head, arms or legs blown off. Yet those that do serve deserve even a greater praise and acknowledgement than they receive now and greater treatment/reward tangibly for them and their immediate families.

Crumbley
01-15-2005, 12:11 AM
Fight the power.

Steve4192
01-15-2005, 01:04 AM
Nothing like a good old fashioned half-truth to get people riled up. Here's a different take on the subject of military desertion rates.

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041216-035722-3476r.htm

Military desertion rates down since 2001


By Pamela Hess
Pentagon correspondent


Washington, DC, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The number of annual military desertions is down to the lowest level since before 2001, according to the Pentagon.

The Army said the number of new deserters in 2004 -- 2,376 -- was just half the number of those who deserted prior to Sept. 11, 2001. That number was 4,597.

The numbers of deserters has dropped annually since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The fiscal year 2004 total number of Army deserters is the lowest since before 1998, according to Army data.

Cumulatively, more than 6,000 service members from all branches have deserted the military since fiscal year 2003, when the war with Iraq began. About 3,500 military service members have deserted their jobs in the last 14 months.

"On average the number of soldiers, for example, who are classified as deserters is less than 1 percent, and the vast majority have committed some criminal act," said Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Joe Richard. "It's (generally) not for political or conscientious objector purposes. Any insinuation that large numbers of military service members have deserted in opposition to the war in Iraq when in fact desertion numbers for the Army are down since 9/11 is incredibly disingenuous."

The CBS program "60 Minutes" on Dec. 8 reported on at least three deserters who fled to Canada because they did not want to fight in Iraq: Marine Pfc. Dan Felushko, Army soldiers Brandon Hughey, and Spc. Jeremy Hinzman. They will have to make their case to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board to be allowed to stay.

The Army convicted Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia in May on charges he abandoned his unit in the middle of the war in Iraq.

The Marine Corps charged Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun with desertion on Dec. 10. He went missing from his base in Fallujah in June and later turned up an apparent hostage of Iraqi insurgents. He eventually made it to Lebanon and was returned to the Marine Corps.

Calculating the number of Marines who have deserted is complicated, because the Marine Corps carries on its books those who have deserted in previous years, according to Richard. The Marines count 1,297 deserters in fiscal year 2004 and 1,236 in fiscal year 2003. Roughly 623 AWOL Marines were returned to Marine control in 2003.

The Army counts 2,520 deserters in fiscal year 1998; 2,966 in 1999; 3,949 in 2000; 4,597 in 2001; 4,483 in 2002; and 3,678 in 2003.

The Marines count 1,297 deserters in 2004; 1,236 in 2003; 1,136 in 2002; 1,603 in 2001; and 1,574 in 2000.

The Air Force had considerably lower numbers of deserters: four so far in fiscal year 2005; 50 in 2004; 56 in 2003; 88 in 2002; 62 in 2001; 46 in 2000 and 45 in 1999.

The Navy did not return its data at press time.

RFS62
01-15-2005, 01:09 AM
Ouch

Chip R
01-15-2005, 01:11 AM
You're right, those who use political influence or whatever to get out of their obligation are bad too.

But it really burns me that these guys VOLUNTEERED for this job, knowning darn well there was a chance of getting involved in war, and now they want out. The National Guard wasn't intended to be some kind of joke college subsidy where goof off one weekend a month. I know it used to be that way in some states, but if you are against fighting for your country, why join the national guard? At least the draft dodgers have the arguement that they are being compelled against their will. All these deserters VOLUNTEERED for this job.
I think that is the key difference here in comparison to the Nam draft dodgers. Joining the Guard or the armed forces is serious business. It should not be entered into lightly. I don't know if that's pressed upon the individuals who volunteer to join up. Are they using bait and switch techniques by promising a free ride to college in return for a few weekends of drilling or some boot camp and living on a base like Gomer Pyle for however many years? The armed forces are using slicker and slicker marketing techniques these days. It's no longer hang an Uncle Sam Wants You poster in the window anymore. It's high-tech commercials aimed at hormonally charged teens who may get the impression from the commercials that enlisting is fighting dragons, playing video games and a cool uniform. And using that kind of marketing is fine as long as the flip side is explained to them. War could break out at any time these days and there's always that possibility that you have to fight and possibly die for your country. That's what being in the armed forces is all about.

That said, Springy's comments on the punishment for deserters was very insightful and thoughtful.

Spring~Fields
01-15-2005, 02:44 AM
That said, Springy's comments on the punishment for deserters was very insightful and thoughtful.

There is always going to be a number that dessert, there is always a number in actual combat that do not fire their weapons because they know fire draws fire. Why go to any additional expense on desserters? Label them as such for a lifetime and move on. Put it on their credit report, put it on their license plates so the label goes with them and move on.

KYRedsFan
01-15-2005, 03:18 AM
Truth has no place in the fight against the president.


Nothing like a good old fashioned half-truth to get people riled up. Here's a different take on the subject of military desertion rates.

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041216-035722-3476r.htm

Military desertion rates down since 2001


By Pamela Hess
Pentagon correspondent


Washington, DC, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The number of annual military desertions is down to the lowest level since before 2001, according to the Pentagon.

The Army said the number of new deserters in 2004 -- 2,376 -- was just half the number of those who deserted prior to Sept. 11, 2001. That number was 4,597.

The numbers of deserters has dropped annually since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The fiscal year 2004 total number of Army deserters is the lowest since before 1998, according to Army data.

Cumulatively, more than 6,000 service members from all branches have deserted the military since fiscal year 2003, when the war with Iraq began. About 3,500 military service members have deserted their jobs in the last 14 months.

"On average the number of soldiers, for example, who are classified as deserters is less than 1 percent, and the vast majority have committed some criminal act," said Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Joe Richard. "It's (generally) not for political or conscientious objector purposes. Any insinuation that large numbers of military service members have deserted in opposition to the war in Iraq when in fact desertion numbers for the Army are down since 9/11 is incredibly disingenuous."

The CBS program "60 Minutes" on Dec. 8 reported on at least three deserters who fled to Canada because they did not want to fight in Iraq: Marine Pfc. Dan Felushko, Army soldiers Brandon Hughey, and Spc. Jeremy Hinzman. They will have to make their case to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board to be allowed to stay.

The Army convicted Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia in May on charges he abandoned his unit in the middle of the war in Iraq.

The Marine Corps charged Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun with desertion on Dec. 10. He went missing from his base in Fallujah in June and later turned up an apparent hostage of Iraqi insurgents. He eventually made it to Lebanon and was returned to the Marine Corps.

Calculating the number of Marines who have deserted is complicated, because the Marine Corps carries on its books those who have deserted in previous years, according to Richard. The Marines count 1,297 deserters in fiscal year 2004 and 1,236 in fiscal year 2003. Roughly 623 AWOL Marines were returned to Marine control in 2003.

The Army counts 2,520 deserters in fiscal year 1998; 2,966 in 1999; 3,949 in 2000; 4,597 in 2001; 4,483 in 2002; and 3,678 in 2003.

The Marines count 1,297 deserters in 2004; 1,236 in 2003; 1,136 in 2002; 1,603 in 2001; and 1,574 in 2000.

The Air Force had considerably lower numbers of deserters: four so far in fiscal year 2005; 50 in 2004; 56 in 2003; 88 in 2002; 62 in 2001; 46 in 2000 and 45 in 1999.

The Navy did not return its data at press time.

Redsfaithful
01-15-2005, 03:31 AM
Nothing like a good old fashioned half-truth to get people riled up. Here's a different take on the subject of military desertion rates.

I'm going to need a source that's not owned by Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Moonies, thanks.

And I wonder if the Pentagon has an interest in being completely truthful about their desertion rates?

I mean it couldn't possibly be in their interest to lowball that number, now could it? When they're facing a huge numbers crunch?

And by the way, this was in the original article:


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

So their point of view was already shared.

GAC
01-15-2005, 10:18 AM
I'm going to need a source that's not owned by Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Moonies, thanks.

And I wonder if the Pentagon has an interest in being completely truthful about their desertion rates?

I mean it couldn't possibly be in their interest to lowball that number, now could it? When they're facing a huge numbers crunch?

So then, since you want to readily discount Steve's article, obviously because you feel it is partisan, and the stats untrustworthy... it's fair for everyone else to do the same with the article you posted from the left-leaning telegraph.co.uk. After all, they too could be manipulating the figures to suit their agenda. ;)

If the Pentagon's numbers agreed with yours though, you'd be hailing them. But because they counter what your article says, you feel they could be inaccurate and maybe "doctored". :rolleyes:

RBA
01-15-2005, 10:33 AM
I would actually like to see a bigger breakdown of the numbers the Penagon released? Do their numbers actually include Guard and Reserves? You would assume so, but the Bush Administation (to include Rumsfeld) has never leveled with the American people, so why would they start now?

Ravenlord
01-15-2005, 10:57 AM
America...slowly bleeding to death. just like Rome.

Phoenix
01-15-2005, 07:19 PM
Nah, this isn't anything like Vietnam.


I'm curious Redsfaithful, if Iraq is just like Vietnam...

Where are all the protests in the streets?

Why isn't the rock world turning out protest songs?

Where are the celebrities throwing their allegiance behind Saddam Hussein?

Why haven't we approached the 58,000+ soldier deaths?

Why is there a first-ever election in Iraq this month?

How did President Bush get re-elected... when LBJ dropped out in '68?

Redsfaithful
01-15-2005, 07:42 PM
There have been many large protests. Especially if you include the rest of the world.

The rock world is turning out protest songs. American Idiot?

Saddam Hussein isn't in charge of Iraq anymore, so I'm not sure that's relevant.

How many died in the first two years of Vietnam? The first two years of Iraq? Iraq is greater.

I certainly hope the election makes things better.

No war president has ever lost a re-election bid. But Bush came awfully close.

WVRed
01-15-2005, 08:23 PM
America...slowly bleeding to death. just like Rome.

Rome wasnt burnt in a day.

-Joe Scarborough

deltachi8
01-17-2005, 01:46 AM
Oh man, I cant belive our best pastry chefs are goin' north! Oh wait, you meant...

Red Thunder
01-17-2005, 09:49 AM
Do people still think this war was justified?

Actually, who cares as it apparently didn't matter anyway that no weapons of mass destruction were found and the Al-Kaida links were not proven as well. If more people had a look how Hussein got his power (and which country was his main supporter during the Iran-Iraq war) they should realize how absurd politics can be. The U.S. is currently the most powerfull country in the world, so they will do whatever they feel is right or might help their worldwide interests. That's not even a typical American behaviour - it's the human nature.