Deserters Fleeing War Go North—Again

In Canada, AWOL troops join forces with Vietnam draft-dodgers
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 17, 2008 3:14 PM CDT

(Newser) – Iraq war deserters aren't crossing the Canadian border in VW buses, but they are trickling across—and connecting with Vietnam draft dodgers who made the same trek 4 decades ago. About 200 Iraq resisters have migrated north, the Washington Post reports. Some grew disillusioned in Baghdad; others went AWOL from boot camp. And both  generations are lobbying the Canadian government to let the younger ones stay.

Ottawa must decide whether fighting in a non-UN-sanctioned war qualifies conscientious objectors for permanent residency; Canadian courts have denied them asylum. Today's deserters don't have society behind them, but many have a lawyer who's one of the 25,000 Americans who took shelter in Canada during the Vietnam war and stayed. "This movement has crystallized a movement that didn't know it even existed," says the Toronto attorney.