During the Vietnam War a draft faced just about all young men(unless they escaped to college) with the prospect of serving in combat overseas. As a result, thousands decided to serve in Canada and escape death or being wounded. Current American soldiers face the prospect of once again for the third or fourth time being deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. Patrick Hart, an Army sergeant for ten years, served in Iraq, but when orders came to go once again into the madness of that battle zone, he decided to head for Canada. “I’ve bled for my country, I’ve sweated for my country I’ve cried myself to sleep for my country–which is a lot more than some people who are passing judgment on me have done.” He has decided, “I would rather sit in prison than go to Iraq.”
Ironically, those who flee are discovering a welcome from Americans who fled during the sixties. Charlie Diamond who fled America in 1968 is offering assistance to modern Americans who are sick and tired of a war most Americans have absolutely no interest in fighting. “I want once again my country to be a refuge from militarism.” As Diamond notes, today’s “deserters” enlisted “in good conscience thinking they were defending America when in fact the whole thing was a lie.”
It is estimated about 50,000 Americans fled to Canada during the Vietnam War and about half still remain in the country. Of course, today, the issue is –exactly who is the
“deserter?” The man who fled or men like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Congressmen who abandoned American values by lying to the nation?