Just Desserts for a Deserter
"I, Jeremy Hinzman, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
This is the Enlisted Oath of Office for the U.S. Military and these were the words spoken by one Jeremy Hinzman when he enlisted in the United States Army in November, 2000. He later served with the 82nd Airborne Division and was deployed to Afghanistan. But right before his unit was scheduled to depart for Iraq in early 2004, Hinzman deserted his regiment and deployed for Toronto, Canada where he applied for asylum. That oath he took really meant a lot to him!
Hinzman said he feared he would be unfairly court-martialled if he was returned to the United States. But today the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board "found that the claimants would be afforded the full protection of a fair and independent military and civilian judicial process in the U.S." So much for being unfair!
During his refugee hearing in December of last year, Hinzman said any violent acts he would have committed had he gone to Iraq would have amounted to an atrocity because the war itself was illegal. I didn't know the Army trained their recruits in international law!
I am sure this result will be appealed and the process will drag on for another year or two. But sooner or later, Jeremy Hinzman is going to pay the piper. No matter what kind of excuses he can come up with, nothing will change the fact that he dishonored himself, his country and, worse of all, his fellow soldiers. Hinzman is a coward, and not for refusing to fight -- but for deserting and running away to Canada instead of having the cojones to stand up for his beliefs and accept the consequences like a man.
Update: Here is your laugh for the day: After the ruling yesterday, the lawyer for Hinzman told CBC TV "'We don't believe that people should be imprisoned for doing what they believe is illegal." Don't you just love lawyers?