German authorities will take up the case next week of Spec. André L. Shepherd, who deserted the US Army and sought asylum rather than face a second tour of duty in Iraq. “I’m having the time of my life,” Shepherd tells the Wall Street Journal from a refugee-processing center as he tests an EU law directing members to take in soldiers fleeing unlawful wars.
The Ohio native enlisted to escape poverty and served in Iraq before being posted to Germany, where, disillusioned about the war, he fell in with like-minded natives who sheltered him when he went AWOL. The US doesn’t actively pursue deserters, but Shepherd eventually turned himself in and requested asylum. If Germany turns him down, he’ll face up to 5 years in US prison.