Opinion: American deserter
Monday, September 10, 2012
Calgary (Alberta) Herald on U.S. military deserter Kimberly Rivera, from Aug. 30, 2012:
The Canada Border Services Agency is right to order American deserter Kimberly Rivera to return to the U.S. by Sept. 20.
Rivera has been living in Toronto since 2007 with her husband and children — ever since she decided she didn't want to be deployed to Iraq. Rivera's situation stands in sharp contrast to those who fled to Canada to avoid U.S. military service during the Vietnam War. Those individuals had been drafted against their will. Rivera chose to enlist in the U.S.'s all-volunteer army. She simply didn't want to go to Iraq, so she abandoned her unit by coming to Canada while on leave and applying for refugee status.
Rivera is now awaiting a response to her application to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds, but this plea deserves to be rejected. She knew when she enlisted for military service that she might very well be sent to a war zone. Moreover, "humanitarian grounds" is hyperbole in her situation. If she is deported, she will not be sent to some Third World country where she faces the prospect of torture. She'll go back to the U.S. and the likelihood of a year in prison, the type of sentence two other deserters expelled from Canada under similar circumstances in the past few years have faced.
People must take responsibility for their actions, and Canada should not be a dumping ground for soldiers who refuse to do their duty.