AWOL soldiers reconsider return to U.S.

By BRETT BARROUQUERE, Associated Press Writer Sat Nov 4, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Since going to Canada to avoid another deployment to Iraq, Corey Glass has considered returning to the United States. But after hearing that a fellow former soldier who surrendered to the military and was ordered to return to his unit instead of being discharged, Glass may not return at all.

“They’re not going to win the hearts and minds like that,” said Glass, 24, who signed on with the Indiana National Guard in 2002.

Kyle Snyder, a one-time combat engineer who joined the military in 2003, disappeared Wednesday, a day after surrendering at Fort Knox and 18 months after fleeing to Vancouver instead of redeploying to Iraq.

Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said a deal had been reached for a discharge, but he found out he would be returned to his unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

His troubles are complicating efforts for those among the 220 American soldiers who fled to Canada and want to return to the United States, according to lawyers, soldiers and anti-war activists.

“Nobody’s going to come back from Canada anymore,” said James Fennerty, a Chicago-based attorney who represents Snyder and other AWOL soldiers.

Several soldiers who went to Canada have said they don’t want to return to Iraq. Sgt. Patrick Hart, who deserted the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division in August 2005, a month before his second deployment, said he felt misled about the reasons for the war.

“How can I go over there if I don’t believe in the cause? I still consider myself a soldier, but I can’t do that,” said Hart, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who served more than nine years in the military.

“The whole story behind it, it all feels like a big lie,” Glass said. “I ain’t fighting for no lie.”

Fennerty said he reached a deal with the Army allowing Snyder, a private with the 94th Engineer Battalion, to receive an other-than-honorable discharge.

It’s a deal similar to one Darrell Anderson, a 24-year-old Iraq war veteran, received in October. After three days at Fort Knox, Anderson, who has denounced the war as “illegal” and “immoral,” was released to his family in Lexington, then discharged.

But Snyder ended up at a bus station in Louisville, with orders to go to St. Louis, then Fort Leonard Wood. Snyder, who said the brutality of what he saw happening to civilians in Iraq prompted him to desert, left with an anti-war activist instead of going back to the post.

Gini Sinclair, a Fort Knox spokeswoman, declined to address Snyder’s case. But she said deserters who turn themselves in are automatically returned to their units if the unit is in the United States at the time of surrender. Once reunited with the unit, the commander there decides what becomes of the soldier, Sinclair said.

When a soldier surrenders at Fort Knox and is sent to his unit, he is either put on a plane or a bus, sometimes alone, she said.

“In some cases, they will be escorted,” Sinclair said. “I don’t know what decides if that happens.”

That policy, and the question of whether an AWOL soldier can reach a deal that trumps it, is causing consternation among soldiers.

“After what they did to him, I don’t see anybody going back,” said Glass, a Fairmount, Ind., native who is currently in Toronto.

Some are seeking refugee status in Canada. Hart, who was joined in Toronto by his wife and their 3-year-old son, served time in Bosnia in the early 1990s, became a reserve, then went to Iraq after returning to active duty. The idea of returning to the United States is appealing to Hart, because he would like to see family and friends.

“I could see going back under some kind of amnesty program or something like that,” Hart said. “But I don’t trust them. My enemy isn’t foreign now. It’s domestic.”


3 Responses to “AWOL soldiers reconsider return to U.S.”

  1. 1 Dave February 15, 2007 at 1:21 am

    I have a legal way for military personell to keep from having to go to Iraq.Simply get a mistermeanor domestic conviction(less than a year in jail and usually just 24 hours incarcertion anyway).Federal law (18 U.S.C. §922 (g)(9)) states anyone convicted of this cannot possess a gun or amunition.This means you cant be in the military anymore.Goodbye A.W.O.L. I believe someone made this loophole on purpose probably a vietnam drafte.This would also make someone ineligiable for a draft if it was ever enacted again (pure genius).I would gladly give up my right to bear arms to stay alive and not go fight this war anyway.

  2. 2 zum February 15, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    dear dave,

    well sounds like a great idea ( smiles ), but in actuality, i don’t think it will work. nowadays, in order to obtain a job, most comany will conduct a backround check including any mistemeanor. which could prevent someone from seeking and becoming employed.

    i am pretty sure a draft may be in order soon, as longest the republicans are in office. and even the democrats.. it is the same thing. politics are corrupt and they stink. the ” illuminati ” is a part of both parties, reps and dems. so therefore whatever its takes to get america back into it’s strong place, i am almost certain, high school students with a gpa of 2.0 and lower, could be targeted by just these recruiters.

    its like the taliban, only thing the us military doesn’t promise – is for the guys to have 72 virgins waiting for them in heaven.

    thanks for your comment,


  3. 3 Dave February 20, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Dear ZUM,What is worce a dishonorable discharge and some time spent at Levenworth,or a mistermeanor conviction that`s really a way for the goverment to disarm us anyway.Australia,New Zealand,Canada,most of Europe have already done this.It`s coming very soon.If you really believe in the “Illuminani” and maybe even a new world order then this is has to happen.Now back to the criminal conviction, I would tend to think that a deserter would have a harder time finding a (factory)job.I maybe wrong.I just stated a fact.You cannot be in the military with a mistermeanor domestic violence conviction no wavers will get you in or keep you in.I know that this is a pure voluntary military but dieing and loosing limbs shouldn`t be taken so lightly.The United States has spent over 400 billion dollars(closer to 500)so far on the war,thats as much as a whole year of the entire Social Security pay out and I`m paying mine even though I`m told that it will run out before I can draw at 70yrs old.The poor really are the ones suffering.They are the ones volunteering for the military.Who holds the rebuilding of Iraq`s contracts?Who has something to gain from this war effort?I hope I didn`t come across as angry,I still think that the United States is the best country in the world.I also think that our elected officals are not a true refelection of the majority of the people they represent.Most are wealthy(old money) and dont live in the same reality that the rest(majority) of us do(skull & bones ect.). Maybe the common man needs to run in elections(your neighbor or you)I just about would bet that there would be a higher turnout.I dont think common people are any less able.I also just dont believe in career politicians.I believe that anyone is capeable of forgetting what there actually elected for if they are there long enough.I want to see farmers,school teachers,druck drivers,factory workers,police officers and just average acessable people in elected positions then maybe I can read laws,ammendments,taxes and understand them instead of having to have a lawyer translate them.

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