Army deserters not welcome in Canada

Posted on: September 19, 2008

Lee Zalosfky, a United States armed forced deserter from the Vietman era, has been giving radio interviews on an organization he is coordinator of, the War Resisters Support Campaign.

He is asking Canadians for support for American war resisters, including deserters, coming to Canada.

I first heard of Mr. Zalosfky today, about two hours ago, on my way home from work, listening to a radio program I hadn’t listened to before. During the interview, Mr. Zalosfky said when he left the army- he was drafted and decided to desert once in- getting into Canada was so much easier in the Vietman era. You simply applied at the border and if you had enough points you were in. It’s much more complex now. You have to apply as a refugee.

Then he criticized our government, saying it was somehow targeting and victimizing American war resisters.

I have no idea if Mr. Zalosfky is a Canadian citizen, but I have the strong view that foreigners who desert their armed forces and come to Canada should never be granted citizenship while that issue is outstanding. He may be landed immigrant. Whatever he is, he makes it plain he doesn’t like our Prime Minister, Steven Harper.

Our Prime Minister, he says, is supportive of the present Republican administration, supports the Iraq war and now is “taking it out on” the war resisters.

Taking it out on war resisters? Hogwash. It is a vile comment, and would be objectionable if it were not altogether silly.

There have been people in exile before this. Mr. Zalosfky is not the first. But his criticism should be directed at his own government of the country he exiled himself from at least 34 years ago. I would have more respect for the organization if it were called War Resisters for Change and lobbied the American government during their self-imposed exile. But to come here and criticize my government for not providing support to American deserters demonstrates the very same gumption Mr. Zalosfky had while in uniform.

I also lived during the Vietman era. I have met many people who left the United States to make a life in Canada. I have met people who drove Americans over the border at that time. I rode in a car with two young men not much older than I was as they arrived here from Wyoming ( I thought it was a city back then) to avoid the draft. But I have never met an army deserter.

I also believe the present United States government administration messed up and there never should have been an Iraq war. The Bush administration told the United Nations to leave Iraq, impatient with its not finding weapons of mass destruction, then invaded a country that was not involved in 9-11, and was no threat to the United States. They found great resistance there. The resisters there are fighting for their country. They are resisting a foriegn occupation. Americans, in their own history, have some experience with that and have trumpeted their experience as an honourable exercise.

Simply put, the Americans are mired in a war of their own making after conducting a horrendous invasion that has killed more than 4,000 of its service people.

The war is in Afghanistan. That is where Canada is, fighting as the tip of the spear in dangerous areas of that country like Helmund Province, where many other countries dare not fight in. Afghanistan is where Osama Bin Laden made a home, where the Taliban thrived, where terrorists camps trained young men determined to export terror to innocents around the world. Why the United States is in Iraq is anybody’s guess, but my guess that it has little to do with 9-11.

If Americans wish to protest their governments’ decisions, protest. It is a country that allows it. If you need to flee, flee. It’s been done before. But once you are in uniform, you owe the uniform respect. You’re in the army.

Deserters are not welcome in Canada.

For Mr. Zalosfky, a deserter of a foreign army, to criticize the government of Canada with such a vile comment, a country that has provided him, and friends of his, safekeeping for a war than ended three and a half decades ago, is indeed a slap in the face.

Go back to the United States of America, Mr. Zalosfky. Face the music. We have protected you long enough, it seeems. You have forgotten the reason democracy exists.

We have the vote because people in uniform fought- yes, and too many died- so we could have and maintain that vote. We have the vote for responsible government because people took responsibility.

If you wish to protest, there is a place for that, Mr. Zalosfky. It is called the United States. For all its faults, and there are many, it is a place rich in democratic tradition which it takes seriously. It is, however, a poorer place when its citizens do not even have the mettle to criticize it from its home turf.

I see you have found it to be a safer and easier occupation to criticize ours from our safer ground.


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  • wordbeeps: No, he doesn't deserve an apology. Who tweets during a funeral? If you do, expect feedback. I didn't say the mourners were faking it. I think they we
  • Holly Stick: Look you fuckwit, are you too stupid to realise that Ghomeshi was an actual friend of Layton's, when you tweeted to him that the mourners were faking
  • aardvarkcola: Thank you. I see the rest of your message now. i'm honoured to to have your words on my blog. That alone is a delight. Lawrence


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