Reader Warning - Geek Length:
Back when I was in high school, we read "The Man Without A Country".
This is a short story, written in 1917 (remember WWI?) by Edward Everett Hale.
You can read it here, and I recommend that you do so. It really is very short.
The story is of post-revolutionary war Phillip Nolan, who was peripherally mixed up with Aaron Burr and found himself charged with Treason against the United States of America.
During his trial ... well, let the story speak for itself:
... when the president of the court asked him at the close whether he wished to say anything to show that he had always been faithful to the United States, he cried out, in a fit of frenzy,Nolan was sentenced to be placed on a ship, to constantly be sailed from shore to shore but never to touch upon land, and never shall hear any word of "The United States of America", its condition or its news, until he died of old age.
"Damn the United States! I wish I may never hear of the United States again!"
I suppose he did not know how the words shocked old Colonel Morgan, who was holding the court. Half the officers who sat in it had served through the Revolution, and their lives, not to say their necks, had been risked for the very idea which he so cavalierly cursed in his madness. He, on his part, had grown up in the West of those days, in the midst of "Spanish plot," "Orleans plot," and all the rest. He had been educated on a plantation where the finest company was a Spanish officer or a French merchant from Orleans. His education, such as it was, had been perfected in commercial expeditions to Vera Cruz, and I think he told me his father once hired an Englishman to be a private tutor for a winter on the plantation. He had spent half his youth with an older brother, hunting horses in Texas; and, in a word, to him "United States" was scarcely a reality. Yet he had been fed by "United States" for all the years since he had been in the army. He had sworn on his faith as a Christian to be true to "United States." It was "United States" which gave him the uniform he wore, and the sword by his side. Nay, my poor Nolan, it was only because "United States" had picked you out first as one of her own confidential men of honor that "A. Burr" cared for you a straw more than for the flat-boat men who sailed his ark for him. I do not excuse Nolan; I only explain to the reader why he damned his country, and wished he might never hear her name again.
And die he did: quietly, and under good care, after 50 years of tiresome sailing and increasing regret for his momentary outburst.
That story has been in my mind and memory for almost as long as Nolan's descent into Coventry.
Thus I may be forgiven for making this connection when I read the news article cited at the top of the page.
TORONTO - Corey Glass, a former U.S. National Guardsman who deserted to Canada in 2006 to avoid serving in Iraq, was told Wednesday that his application to stay in Canada has been rejected.
A spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada confirmed Glass has been ordered to leave the country.
At a Toronto news conference, Glass pleaded with the federal government to support his cause.
"In almost two years I've been here, I've been self-sufficient and I've got many friends and I've got a life here," he said. "I don't think it's fair that I should be returned to the United States to face unjust punishment for doing what I thought I was morally obligated to do."
I look at the face of this young man (this sniveling slacker, this coward, this poltroon), and I dwell upon the fate of Phillip Nolan, who through a different path but for not much more provocation denounced his country. And I wonder whether the 20th Century Corey Glass deserves any more consideration from his country than did Phillip Nolan.
Both voluntarily enlisted in the service of their Country, for private reasons. Both somehow decided, for private reasons, to abandon their vows. Both betrayed their country in their subsequent actions and were eventually required to suffer the consequences of their bad choices..
Glass, however, fled his native land and renounced it. By his own words he became self-sufficient, and made many friends and "a life" for himself. Not much suffering there ... until now.
His excuse: He was "... doing what I thought I was morally obligated to do."
What version of morality embraces breaking a vow to "... protect my country against all enemies, foreign or domestic"?
Does the Private Soldier now enjoy the luxury of choosing the enemies of his country? As I recall, the Nuremberg Trials (which are the favorite excuse de jour of deserters) applied to the breaking of the internationally recognized Law of War (codified and updated in "THE UNITED STATES ARMY FIELD MANUAL: The Law of Land Warfare, 1956.")
This describes the prohibited methods of conducting war; it does not, permit the soldier to choose which wars in which he may be engaged under moral, ethical or legal reasons.
Apparently, in the world-view of Corey Glass, your word is not your bond. At this late date, when his life is not one which is molly-coddled by a foreign nation, he finds it "not fair".
According to a May21, 2008 article at CNN.COM:
Glass, who's still on active duty and is considered absent without leave, applied for refugee status at the Canadian border in August 2006 on the grounds of objection to military service.
"All refugee claimants have a right to due process," said Danielle Norris, a spokeswoman for Customs and Immigrations Canada. "When they have exhausted all legal avenues, we expect them to respect our laws and leave the country."
Glass, of Fairmont, Indiana, says he joined the National Guard believing that he would be deployed only if the United States faced occupation. After he returned from his first tour of duty, he said, he tried to leave the Army but was told that desertion was punishable by death.
Penalties for desertion range from a demotion in rank to a maximum penalty of death, depending on the circumstances, said Maj. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman.
[ED: Emphasis Added]
FoxNews (May 22, 2008) reveals details of Glass's military service:
Glass joined the U.S. National Guard in 2002 believing it was a "humanitarian organization." He said he was told he would never be deployed abroad to combat.
In 2005, he was sent to Iraq, where he spent five months in military intelligence. The job, he said, gave him broad insight into what was going on there.
"I realized innocent people were killed unjustly," said Glass, who is living in Toronto.
While on leave in the U.S., he decided to desert. After seven months in hiding, he fled to Canada because he knew it had become a destination for others in his situation, and had given refuge to tens of thousands of Vietnam War draft dodgers in the 1970s.
He joined the National Guard in 2002, and claims that he believed it was a "humanitarian organization". Apparently he never heard the expression "Join the Army, travel the world, see new places, blow them up and kill people" as a job description in an ARMY. This may be the first person in the history of warfare who ever believed that at an Army was a "humanitarian organization". At best, this is disingenuous.
After a three-year "free ride", he was sent to a combat zone. Iraq qualifies.
He was assigned to "Military Intelligence", which is to "Intelligence" as "Military Music" is to "Music". A reasonable interpretation is that he was 'in the rear', not being sent on daily combat patrols, and in the normal course of his duties was not subjected to being under fire from cranky men with automatic weapons who hid behind civilians.
He is said to have
Considering that he "...applied for refugee status at the Canadian border in August, 2006 ...", and also that he "spent several months in hiding (7, in Canada)", we can only guess that his actual duration in Iraq was less than 12 months. A minor detail, perhaps, but still significant in that it suggests that his time "in durance vile" was consistent with John Kerry's time in Vietnam ... from which he also ran like a rabbit at the first opportunity.
... he fled to Canada because he knew it had become a destination for others in his situation, and had given refuge to tens of thousands of Vietnam War draft dodgers in the 1970s.What he knew was, in 1974 President Ford granted "partial amnesty" to VN-era deserters, requiring civil service (the "... program was widely regarded as a failure"), and in 1977 President Carter "... established two programs to assist war resisters. "
He [Glass] knew that what he did ... fleeing his country rather than perform the duties to which he was pledged ... was extra-legal. He also knew that the precedent established by Vietnam-era deserters suggested that he could reasonably expect eventually to receive a Presidential Amnesty or Pardon.
In January of 1977 he [Carter} declared an unconditional amnesty for draft resisters, both accused and those who could face possible prosecution. Later that year, he set up the two stage "pardon" process for military absentees.
At the time of his desertion, Glass most likely relied on established historical precedence to eventually result not only in de facto justification of his selfish choice, but vindication without punishment apart from a relatively short term as a mere "expatriate", after which he could resume a normal life. Add to this, the expectation that he would not only be accepted as a "moral person against The War", but an exemplary "War Resistor" ("Draft Evader"), rather than a "Deserter" ("Military Absentee") as defined by President Carter's terms of amnesty ... see above.
In the actual fact, even under the terms of Carter's 1977 amnesty, Glass would have been excoriated for his desertion. We can only believe that Glass believed that time, and recent Liberal rhetoric, will have blurred the differences which were clear even to the deluded Carter 30 years ago.
Now that he must face the predictable consequences for his own actions, Glass not only reveals his moral and physical cowardice a second time, but whines that it is "not fair".
What's "not fair" about his unilaterally chosen sanctuary country deciding not to protect him from those who he has wronged?
Glass seems to have been infected by the Nanny-State attitude that the world owes him "a life", and he owes nothing in return.
I blame our overly permissive society, which breeds such craven and dishonorable attitudes. Glass has succumbed to the socialistic pseudo-promises of two nations, which were once great, and feels betrayed because they will neither countenance his betrayal.
In this Memorial Day Weekend, the time of each year which we most specially set aside a single day to honor our Fallen Heroes, I find myself unforgiving of such perfidy.
If I could speak to the Nation, the Government, the People of Canada, I would say this:
You took him in, when you knew what he was.
You offered him sanctuary. You protected him from his own people.
Now you want to give him back?
No. He rejected us, now we reject him.
We have no room for beings of no faith. We have no need for a being without honor.
We gave him everything, and he turned his back on us at the first sign that the piper must be payed.
We ignored the cowards who fled our country during the Vietnam war. Through a flaw in our electoral process, we elected a 'leader' who forgave those cowards, thus setting a precedence from which our current crop of cowards hope to profit.
It is time for those of us who remain, those of us who choose to honor our obligation, to assert our right of choice concerning who is, and who is not, an accepted citizen of The United States of America.
We choose not to admit the criminal, the neer-do-well, the opportunist.
Most importantly, we choose not to re-admit the sniveling slackers who deserted us.
You took him in, and you're welcome to him. He made his choice, and you made yours. The only punishment we wish to impose upon him is that he never inflict his immoral, detestable, despicable, dishonored, self-serving, cowardly person upon his native country again.
We do this for our children, so that they will never be presented with such an example from which they may be deceived into believing that they can abandon their country, and their country will not care.
Corey Glass's purpose in life may be to serve as a bad example, to be held up to contempt and ridicule, so that our children will know what an American does not look like. We leave him to his destiny, and hope that he suffers from his shame.
We don't care what you do with Corey Glass. Just ... don't try to send him back.
(Nota Bene: For more information on "Corey Glass", and various opinions on his pathetic attempts to evade the consequences of his poor choice, go here.)