Canadian Courts Refuse To Hear Deserter's Case
I had forgotten about the two deserters seeking asylum in Canada until a report showed up in the news that Canada's Supreme Court has refused to hear their case. The two deserters, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, have been attempting to gain refugee status and asylum in Canada since they deserted the U.S. Army in 2004 in order to avoid service in Iraq. According to the report there are approximately 200 other deserters now residing in Canada.
From Canada.com (CanWest News Service):
Before Thursday's ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal last rejected the claims by Hinzman and Hughey, who crossed the border rather than face possible court martial and imprisonment for refusing to serve in a war they say they morally oppose and is illegal because it was not sanctioned by the United Nations.
First things first: the United Nations does not have the power to determine what is and what is not a "legal" war. Wars are waged by nations for various reasons, some good and just and some not, depending on who starts the war. The United Nations has no power to enact laws, determine what is legal, or otherwise tell a sovereign nation such as the United States what to do and how to do it. Further, the war was waged in Iraq with the "blessings" of the United Nations as it had passed resolutions that said it was okay for the U.S. led coalition to take action against Saddam Hussein. One also must remember that this is also a response to the many and repeated violations by Iraq of the Gulf War Cease Fire Agreement.
These two deserters and the 200 others like them may not agree with the war, however they took an oath to obey the lawful orders of their superiors. They failed to keep their oath and chose to desert rather than serve their country when called upon to do so.
Unlike the Vietnam-era draft dodgers that went to Canada, these deserters volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces. They are not conscripts.
The two men have also argued they face persecution in their home country because of their political opinion.
What they face are a couple of years in a military prison and a bad conduct (at least!) discharge. Beyond that, most Americans will forget all about them. As for persecution, that is doubtful, unless you count being denigrated for their desertion as persecution. Typically, refugee status is reserved for people being persecuted for their religion or for their political beliefs (as in political dissidents in communist countries).
If these deserters truly believe that they are just in their reasons for desertion, then they should return to the U.S. and stand court-martial and accept the consequences. Then they can move back to Canada and good riddance!