Support US war resisters

IssueSeptember 2008
News by Gabriel Carlyle

On 22 August, Robin Long, an Iraq war resister deported from Canada into US military custody in July, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and a dishonourable discharge – for desertion “with intent to remain away permanently”.
Robin Long went absent without official leave in 2005 on grounds of conscience, after being ordered to Iraq. He sought sanctuary in Canada, home to an estimated 200 US soldiers refusing to serve in the Iraq war.
A month earlier, on 16 July, US war resister James Burmeister was sentenced to six months in jail for going AWOL.
After leaving Iraq, he had revealed that US troops in Iraq were planting equipment, such as AK-47s, to lure Iraqis to spots where US snipers could shoot them.
James Burmeister said: “I know going AWOL was wrong, but I thought it was the best way to stop the small kill teams.”

Canadian support

On 3 June, Canadian MPs voted by 137 to 110 to call on the government to “cease any removal or deportation actions” against US war resisters.
In a 6-7 June poll, 64% of Canadians agreed that US soldiers who had “fled to Canada after refusing to take part in the Iraq war” should be allowed to become permanent residents of Canada.

Deportation deferred

On 9 July, US war resister Corey Glass (see PN2498) was granted a last-minute reprieve from deportation back to the US.
On 13 August, Jeremy Hinzman – the first US soldier to apply for asylum in Canada since the start of the Iraq war – was given until 23 September to leave the country with his wife, son and baby daughter, or be deported.
Jeremy Hinzman said: “I can’t bring myself to shoot another person. If people want to criticize me for that, then I’m honored to be criticized because I’m not a killer.”

Topics: War resisters