Can A Volunteer Be A Conscientious Objector?

From the Fayetteville Observer:

Jeremy Hinzman said he could barely stomach chanting “kill we will” during basic training and, as a Quaker, he didn’t want to shoot anybody. But it was the thought of serving U.S. interests in Iraq that made the 82nd Airborne Division specialist flee to Canada last month.

“I would have felt no different than a private in the German Army during World War II,” he said by phone from Toronto, where he is seeking refugee status.

Hinzman, 25, who was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, is subject to prosecution as a deserter if he is caught within U.S. borders.

His name will go on a national database that law enforcement officers can access, said Sgt. Pam Smith, a spokeswoman for the 82nd Airborne. He can be arrested, but the Army won’t go looking for him, she said.

“We don’t have time to go and track down people who go AWOL,” she said. “We’re fighting a war.”

Hinzman, who grew up in Rapid City, S.D., joined the Army in January 2001. The socialist structure of the military appealed to him, he said. He liked the subsidized housing and groceries and, at the end of his service, the money for college.

“It seemed like a good financial decision,” he said. And, he said, “I had a romantic vision of what the Army was.”Somehow he failed to remember that one of a soldiers jobs is to kill the enemy.

He’s not likely to get refugee status. According to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board, none of the 268 American applicants last year was accepted.

Update: Sgt. Mom has a note that this guy should have read before he hitched up.

The Thong Remains The Same
CU Later


  1. McGehee February 19, 2004
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