I'm not going to bother to tell you that the Iraq War was wrong or quote the UN handbook on refugees, Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg principles or trials.Read it here.
Nor am I going to try to convince anyone that soldiers should have the right to say no, that prosecution for a belief is persecution, or that recruiters lie. There's no reason to talk about that, or about how Canada didn't take part in the Iraq War. Or why Canadian troops are in Iraq now.
Everyone knows what happened and can find information on all that online. I'm fine with my choices. I have to deal with the repercussions of them every day.
I didn't take the easy road to do what I believe was right. And I don't really feel I need to convince anyone otherwise.
I will talk about what has happened to me since I quit the U.S. Army, went to Canada to escape the war and, after eight years trying to build a life there, was told I had to leave. . . .
Eventually I would run out of savings and favours. I started to understand how easy it is for war vets to become homeless, remembering the vets holding signs to that effect from my younger days in Manhattan. Would this be me? Would a government change in Canada allow me to come home? What if Shepherd wins asylum? Could Germany be a home someday? All these questions made me anxious, so I ordered a shot of Jameson.
What would happen if I just went back to the States? Maybe they would take it easy on me? They didn't on Chelsea Manning - 25 years for whistle-blowing. I'd be 57 when I get out. For quitting a job? Fuck that! More angst. Another shot.
I remembered losing friends back in the U.S. because of my choice to resist going back to war in Iraq.
A childhood friend who I had joined the service with - he hated me for leaving - called me out of the blue that night. We spoke for about an hour. He apologized for being angry with me. He was out of the military now and said I'd done the right thing. He wished he'd left, too.
He's an alcoholic now, and said the VA was not giving him support for his PTSD. After three tours, he was all messed up with nightmares. His wife was leaving him, and he was about to lose his job, the sixth in the last year. He wanted to die and wished he had in Iraq. He cried hard into the phone and said he was sorry. . . .
u.s. war resister corey glass speaks out from europe
Corey Glass, war resister from Canada by way of Indiana, speaks out from his travels in Europe in the current issue of NOW.