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article imageOp-Ed: Canada No Longer Safe Haven for U.S. Military Deserters

By Mr Garibaldi     May 22, 2008 in Crime
During the 1960's it was not uncommon for young men to travel in droves across the border between the United States and Canada to avoid service in Vietnam. Today, deserters from the U.S. military are finding that things have changed for them, drastically.
Corey Glass, a 25 year-old United States National Guardsmen AWOL in Canada and under charges of desertion, is not a happy young man today. Corey has been ordered by Canadian officials to leave the country on his own accord by the 12th of June, denying his application to stay in Canada His ordered deportation is the first rejection by Canadian courts by a group of other deserters who have sought asylum in Canada as war resisters.
An Indiana native, Glass's tenure with the military began in 2002 when he joined the National Guard to complete "humanitarian work" within the United States, he said. At that time, he had no idea he would end up fighting on foreign shores.
"When I joined the National Guard, they told me the only way I would be in combat was if there were troops occupying the United States," he said. "I signed up to defend people and do humanitarian work filling sandbags if there was a hurricane. ... I should have been in New Orleans, not Iraq."
When he was deployed to Iraq in 2005, Glass said he tried to quit the military and was returned home on a leave later that same year.
He then went AWOL for eight months before defecting to Toronto in August 2006. He has since been working as a funeral director at a Toronto funeral home.
Perhaps Glass should have read the mission statements found on the National Guard website outlining their Federal and State obligations before enlisting.
Consequences for desertion of the United States armed forces carry very stiff penalties. If convicted by a Court Martial procedure, under statutes of the United States Code of Military Justice, Glass, and the other deserters in his group in Canada, could be facing a possible death sentence under the articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
(a) Any member of the armed forces who--
(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;
(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or
(3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another on of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States; is guilty of desertion.
(b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion.
(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.
Glass, as a National Guardsman under Federal deployment in a time of war, is subject to UCMJ law.
We live in a different time than we lived in the 1960's. Military service today is voluntary, not compulsory. There is no draft. Men and women in uniform today are they because they have enlisted or been commissioned of their own accord, not because they have been called into service by the draft board. National Guard units have been deployed overseas in this war, in the Gulf War, in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. For Glass to proclaim that he was told he would not have to be deployed overseas goes entirely against the mission and purpose of the National Guard, which is to act as a supplementary and reserve branch of the military at large.
According to Lee Zaslofsky, a who fled the U.S. for Canada to avoid service in Vietnam and who is the co-coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign, the order for Glass to be deported lies in contradiction with a motion passed last December by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration calling for the Canadian government to allow conscientious protesters of war to remain in Canada without facing deportation.
The Canadian Parliament has not yet passed the motion and set it into law.
Glass is the first of nine others who have applied to stay in Canada after desertion from the United States military.
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