A BBC feature today tells the story of a US National Guardsman who deserted to Canada after being deployed to Iraq. As Canada prepares to deport him to face trial in the US, Corey Glass is arguing he should be allowed to stay.
According to Glass, when he joined the Indiana National Guard, he was told that he would perform humanitarian work filling sandbags in the event of a hurricane — not required to serve in combat unless there were troops occupying the US — instead, he was sent to gather intelligence in Iraq. As he began to realize the repercussions of the American lead occupation, Glass wanted out. While on leave, he fled to Toronto where he is now asking for political asylum. However, he still faces deportation to the US, a move that will most likely land him in prison for deserting his obligations to the military.
I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in Iraq. I believe the Iraq War is illegal and morally wrong. I believe I have a duty to refuse to take part in a war not sanctioned by the United Nations, started on the basis of lies.
Canada has passed a motion stating the Canadian government will accept conscientious objectors from the United States and allow them permanent resident status. They have also asked all deportation proceedings against soldiers currently living in their country cease, though this may not apply to Glass. The editor of the paper that ran Glass' plea said, "does Canada really want to cast itself as the protector of fair-weather American soldiers fleeing their duty?" He sums up his thoughts like this:
Six years ago, Corey Glass picked the wrong career. Three years ago, he picked an illegal way to abandon it. It's time for this ex-soldier to go home and pay the price for what he's done.
Do you agree? Should Glass be deported and put on trial, or should Canada be a refuge from militarism?