By lex, on May 24th, 2010
Those who evaded their country’s call during the Vietnam era draft are considered differently depending upon the viewer’s perspective. To those who believe that no man should ever be forced to do what he does not want to do, they were bold individualists. To those who believed that the freedoms enjoyed here must are unique and must be defended they were, plain and simply, cowards. Cowards who, to make things worse, forced some other person who otherwise would not have been drafted to go in their stead. You can probably figure out which side I am on. In a civil society, certain rights are given over so that the vast majority of freedoms may be retained.
Those who fled to Canada back in 60s and 70s are making common cause with a new generation:
Deportation, court martial and prison are imminent threats to Hart and about 200 other U.S. troops seeking sanctuary in Canada. Despite being members of an all-voluntary military, some oppose the war in Iraq so strongly they are willing to leave their country behind — much like Americans of an earlier generation who crossed the border in the 1960s and ’70s to avoid serving in Vietnam and built new lives here.
Some of the draft dodgers and deserters of the Vietnam era, most of them now graying Canadian citizens, are helping the young deserters fight legal battles and find work and housing.
“They understand,” Hart says.
Whatever you may think of draft dodgers – and however self-affirming this alliance of old and new may feel – this new generation of deserters are not brave individualists, nor mere cowards (although they of course also that), they are oath breakers. They volunteered to serve their country in a time of war. Deserting their units as they were being sent to war means that those who they have served alongside were forced to take up their burdens – no one could have been found and trained in time to replace them. And they are self-centered hedonists, wanting the joys of a free society without the responsibilities of defending it.
Because it’s interesting, isn’t it?
No one ever deserts to Mexico.