Fugitive U.S. soldier Jeremy Hinzman is an unrepentant embarrassment to his country of birth. Last year, he deserted from the 82nd Airborne Division, fled to Canada and became the anti-war movement's sexiest man alive. Now, in a desperate bid for refugee status, this AWOL poster boy is collectively smearing our brave men and women in Iraq as war criminals to save his hide.
Do our neighbors to the north really want to become a paradise for America's cut-and-run reprobates? Apparently so. At Hinzman's refugee hearing on Monday, the National Post reports, “demonstrators braved the morning snow and icy winds to show their support, carrying signs such as ‘Canada should welcome war resisters.'"
Perhaps too much drug-addled ‘60s nostalgia has burnt out the bleeding-hearts pacifists' brain cells. But there is a Michael Moore-sized distinction between Hinzman and the thousands of “resisters” who fled to Canada during the Vietnam War. Unlike the American draft dodgers who crossed the northern border more than three decades ago, Hinzman volunteered for military service in January 2001. He joined of his own free will. Nobody forced him to go to the recruitment office. Nobody dragged him to Fort Bragg.
He happily cashed in his Army paychecks until deployment to Afghanistan was imminent. After his application for conscientious-objector status was rejected, he grudgingly finished his stint in Afghanistan, declared opposition to the coming war in Iraq, packed up his wife and infant son, and waltzed into the open arms of Toronto's radical leftists.
It's been one big pacifist kumbayah ever since -- a dazzling procession of campus tributes, rock-star galas, and international media martyrdom. And when he's not on his tour of self-promotional duty, Hinzman and his wife (a feminist social worker who has also applied for asylum in Canada) are savoring the good life in their newly adopted home. Hinzman reports on his own snazzy Web site:
In the mornings, we usually take (son) Liam to various playgroups in our neighborhood. In the afternoon, we alternate which one of us cooks dinner. I also try to go for a run while Liam naps. In the evening we play with our son and often go to various parts of Toronto and 'people watch' to get Liam out of the house. After he goes to sleep for the night, I try to read or Nga (Hinzman's wife) and I watch a movie or do various other things. A great deal of this routine, or lack thereof, will probably soon change after I get a work permit and find some sort of employment.
Hinzman is enjoying his domestic tranquility on the backs of each and every American military man and woman who is living up to his or her commitment to uphold a sworn oath of duty. Hinzman and his lawyer plan to argue to Canadian immigration officials that American soldiers are guilty of war crimes and that forcing Hinzman to fight in Iraq would have likely made him a war criminal. Among the witnesses testifying on Hinzman's behalf is former U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey, the Winter Soldier of the 21st century, who claims his platoon killed “a bunch of innocent civilians.” Massey has been making the rounds in the French media and other America-hating swamps.
Several others have followed Hinzman's trail, hoping Canada will buy into their sob stories. But by embracing our cowards, Canada undermines not only the war on terror but also its own asylum system. American deserters face neither execution nor persecution if returned to the United States. Just look at Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, who on Monday refused to board his Navy ship in protest of the war on Iraq.
Unlike Hinzman, Paredes is ready and willing to go to jail. After his release, Paredes is sure to get a book deal, a CBS made-for-TV movie, a party at Susan Sarandon's, and honorary Canadian citizenship -- if he doesn't apply for it himself first.
If Hinzman had half a brain and as much spine, he'd come back to the States and face the music. But that would require an ounce of American character that is as foreign to him as it is to his Canadian comrades.