While some Americans are contemplating moving to Canada, a few US soldiers have already fled north to Canada, and are seeking political asylum here. During the Vietnam war, many US citizens fled to Canada in order to avoid the forced draft there. These are called "draft dodgers" in Canada, and have integrated well. You cannot even tell they were American.Several cases have been reported in the Canadian media during summer of 2003. However, Jeremy Hinzman's hearing today was the most sensational so far.You can read about it on the BBC, CBC, Globe and Mail, and the Christian Science Monitor. The most strongly worded article though is not from Canadian nor British media, but from the Associated Press (AP), as reported in the Jamaica Observer., with the title: "US Army drilled to see all Arabs, Muslims as terrorists - deserter in Canada":
He said US military training since Sept 11 is designed to "foster anattitude of hatred. It gets your blood boiling to carry out themission."Hinzman is arguing that the war in Iraq is illegal and fighting in it would have made him a war criminal.
Hinzman is not alone in saying this. Another refugee seeker said similar things:
Jimmy Massey, a staff sergeant whoserved in Iraq before being honourably discharged after 12 years withthe Marines, testified on behalf of Hinzman, saying US soldiersroutinely committed atrocities against innocent Iraqis."The code of silence you take inthe Marines is much like the one in organised crime," he said, notingit was not uncommon for Marines to fire on wounded Iraqi combatants - aviolation of the Geneva Conventions."I have witnessed Marines puttingrounds into enemy combatants who are expiring," Massey told thetribunal. Massey, whose unit was stationed at a checkpoint in thesouthern Baghdad district of Rashid, said his men killed more than 30civilians in 48 hours, including unarmed demonstrators."We were shooting up people asthey got out of their cars trying to put their hands up," said Massey,who was with the 7th Marine weapons company. He said there wasconfusion communicating with Iraqis, who may have misconstrued theMarines' warning shots as a sign of celebration."I don't know if the Iraqisthought we were celebrating their new democracy," he said. "I do knowthat we killed innocent civilians."
While I don't know the extent of change from pre-Sept 11 and post-Sept11 training, I can relate to how Marines training indoctrinate youngimpressionable often disoriented and often alienated youth with the urge to kill. I recallseeing a program more than a decade ago on PBSabout boot camp for Marines. I certainly recall the Marines being"broken in" by the sargeants and moulded into maleable shapes. I alsorecall how the recruits were shouting in unison: "I am a kill crazy,blood thirsty Marine recruit, Sir!"While armies and war tend to bring out the worse in people, one wonders how some in the US Army would turn into exactly what they were set to fight: evil!