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Headlines U.S. army deserter wants to stay in Canada

RageAgainst

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http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/12/04/hinzman-refugee041204.html

TORONTO - Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board will hear Monday why Jeremy Hinzman, a former paratrooper with the U.S. army, should be granted refugee status in Canada.

Rather than serve in Iraq, Hinzman deserted the army and came to Canada in January seeking sanctuary in a Quaker hall outside Toronto.

He considers the Iraq conflict immoral and illegal and while he refuses to speak his mind until his hearing is over, back in July, Hinzman, 25, put his position into perspective: "My life isn't that significant, but also it's not so worthless as to be killed or to go kill innocent people."

Canada has not granted refugee status to American citizens in the past, but Hinzman's supporters are counting on a precedent in international law to help the American.

Gerry Cordon, a Hinzman supporter, says a soldier who refused to fight in Saddam Hussein's army in the invasion of Kuwait, successfully sought refugee status.

To help his client, Hinzman's lawyer plans to present evidence of a systematic pattern of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, including attacks on civilian population centers, and the torture and murder of prisoners, at Monday's hearing.



The board will also hear eyewitness testimony of the killing of Iraqi civilians from former Marine Sgt. Jimmy Massey.

Massey, who served in Iraq, says he's witnessed instances of civilians being shot – not as a mistake, but with cold deliberation.
Aren't deserters subject to death sentence?
 

Jung

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Rage against said:
Aren't deserters subject to death sentence?
Only in certain cirsumstances, it's not a definitive punishment. That would be the max allowed by UCMJ though, but only during times of war. (Obviously there isn't anything more maximum than a death sentence.) During peace time, desertion is still punishable by federal incarceration. I'm not sure of the maximum amount of years, but I think it's around 20 or so.

Desertion is just stupidity; especially when he could just claim concenious objector status, if warranted. Deserting is a cowardly maneuver and he deserves what ever punishment he receives. I know that a lot of soldiers are probably against this war, or scared, but they made a conscious descision to enlist. They signed a contract... That's what you get for joining for college money and thinking that you'd never see combat.
 

RageAgainst

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Actually this guy enlisted short after 9/11, fought in Afghanistan, but then "realized" he couldn't kill a man, and refused to fight in Iraq for moral reasons. I think he also asked for conscience objection and it was refused to him, although I'm not sure I'll verify that later..
 

Jung

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Ok, well taking that into account, I might be slightly more inclined to feel sorry for him, but only slightly. He signed a contract; he gave his word that he’d serve for his entire enlistment. (health and mental status providing.) He knew what he was getting himself into when he signed up, albeit he might not have known the particulars of being a soldier. If he wasn’t aware of what military duties might encompass, then it’s his own fault. Lack of common sense isn’t a get out of the military free card. If every scared soldier was allowed to just decide to get out when it suited them, half of our military would be gone right now. I don’t agree with this war, that should be known by now, but a contract like this is final… your word should be too.