Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Canada sweeps itself clean of U.S. debris

Posted by sanityinjection on July 15, 2008

The Globe and Mail reports that Canada’s Federal Court denied the appeal of U.S. Army deserter Robin Long, clearing the way for his deportation back to the US, where he will face court-martial. Mr. Long had applied for refugee status but was denied.

I don’t blame Canada one bit for not wanting to open its doors to every American malcontent, despite its history of sheltering US war objectors. Unlike the draft-dodgers of the Vietnam era, Mr. Long voluntarily joined the Army, then changed his mind about the morality of the war in Iraq. It’s hard for me to understand what kind of armed forces we would have if every soldier got to decide the question of whether each military action is justified or not. When you join the armed forces, you are volunteering to serve your country in battle, not accepting the job of Commander in Chief. It’s a pity that Mr. Long did not understand that.

The Canadian court noted that Mr. Long could not plausibly claim that he would be subject to abuse if returned to the States since the US has a well-established process for trying deserters with full right of due process under military law. It probably didn’t help that Mr. Long failed to show up for court hearings on two occasions.



8 Responses to “Canada sweeps itself clean of U.S. debris”

  1. Dan said

    > It’s hard for me to understand what kind of armed forces we would
    > have if every soldier got to decide the question of whether each
    > military action is justified or not.

    We have in the past prosecuted members of the military of other countries we have defeated, and occasionally those members of our own military, and told them that “i was following orders” is not a valid defense. We apparently expect our military members to engage some degree of common sense and belief about the behavior of the military that they participate in and act accordingly

    I don’t know that you can view this as a black and white issue. We have created a gray area where some peoples’ beliefs in the action of the military will occasionally differ from others, and there will always be “leading curve” individuals who believe that sooner than the majority and feel they have no other option except to go desert. I’m not sure that we can prosecute those individuals for exercising a personal choice, when occasionally we prosecute them for NOT doing so.

  2. sanityinjection said

    Actually, “I was following orders” is a valid defense most of the time. The exceptions, such as crimes against humanity, prove the rule. In any case, if a soldier is presented with an order that he feels is immoral, the appropriate response is not to desert, but to appeal the order to a higher level of authority. If no such appeal is possible, or the appeal is denied, then the soldier may choose to refuse to obey the order, but must be prepared to face the consequences of that decision. By contrast, deserters are those who do not have the courage to face the consequences of their actions, thus they run and hide like children. I have no respect for them.

  3. sanityinjection said

    Update: Add Jeremy Hinzman to the list of US undesirables Canada is sending back to us. Hinzman’s case is slightly different from Long’s. Hinzman applied for conscientious objector status after joining the military. He was able to serve in Afghanistan in a non-combat role, but decided to desert when he was going to be sent to Iraq.

    My grandfather served as a medic during WWII. Like Hinzman, he didn’t want to kill anyone. I don’t know if he did or not, but he was on the beaches of Normandy caring for his wounded comrades. But Hinzman sought the personal benefits of service in the armed forces without being willing to put his life on the line like every other soldier in return:

  4. sanityinjection said

    Now it’s Germany’s turn. US Army deserter Andre Shepherd has applied for asylum there:

    I note Shepherd waited a year and a half between when he deserted and when he applied for asylum – probably because the German immigration authorities were finally about to catch him. Clearly this is an individual who is willing to use the laws when it benefits him but will break the laws when it suits him, regardless of which country he is in. Shepherd cannot claim to be a conscientious objector, and his request for asylum will almost certainly be denied on the same grounds Canada used to deny Mr. Long’s request. It’s not a question of whether Germany agrees with US policy in Iraq, but whether Shepherd can prove that he would be persecuted, as opposed to prosecuted, if he’s extradited to the US.

  5. sanityinjection said

    The latest in the parade of US military deserters getting the boot from other countries is Kimberly Rivera. Welcome back from Canada, Kimberly, there’s a nice comfy prison cell waiting for you:

  6. Sister Benedict said

    I think these folks will also forfeit their $40,000 sign-up bonus, too.

  7. sanityinjection said

    Here’s an updated article on Andre Shepherd from the WSJ. This guy is living a life of leisure at the expense of the German people and his deluded hippie friends. Nice work if you can get it:

  8. sanityinjection said

    Welcome home, Army Deserter Cliff Cornell:

    Once again, I congratulate Canada on refusing to become a dumping ground for American detritus. Robin Long’s lenient 15-month prison sentence gives the lie to peacenik claims that deserters face excessive government persecution if returned to the US.

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