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Army deserter seeks asylum in Germany over Iraq

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by Maikeru-sama, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    Army deserter seeks asylum in Germany over Iraq
    Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:25pm EST

    By Andreas Buerger

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier who deserted his unit to avoid returning to Iraq has applied for asylum in Germany, saying the Iraq war was illegal and that he could not support the "heinous acts" taking place.

    Andre Shepherd, 31, who served in Iraq between September 2004 and February 2005 as an Apache helicopter mechanic in the 412th Aviation Support Battalion, has been living in Germany since deserting last year.

    "When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing," Shepherd told a Frankfurt news conference Thursday.

    "I could not in good conscience continue to serve."

    Shepherd, originally from Cleveland, Ohio and ranked as an army specialist, applied for asylum in Germany Wednesday, said Tim Huber from the Military Counseling Network, a non-military group which is assisting him.

    According to U.S. law, soldiers who desert during a time of war can face the death penalty.

    The soldier said he was particularly hopeful he would be granted asylum in Germany, a staunch opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, due to the legacy of the post-war trials of Nazi officials, notably in Nuremberg in 1945-1949.

    "Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders," he said.

    Shepherd, who enlisted in January 2004, is only the second U.S. soldier to have applied to Germany for asylum "in a similar situation," said Claudia Moebus from the government's department for migration. The earlier application was later withdrawn.

    The specialist was posted to Germany in 2005 where he undertook desk jobs, but he gradually began questioning the justification for the Iraq war and began worrying he would be sent back to serve there, said Huber.

    "That's when he went AWOL," he added.

    Earlier this year, Jeremy Hinzman, an American who applied for refugee status in Canada after deserting the U.S. Army when he received orders to go to Iraq, said he would appeal a deportation order returning him to the United States.

    Another U.S. deserter, Robin Long, was deported from Canada in July and sent to jail in Colorado.

    (Writing by Josie Cox; Editing by Sophie Hares)

    link
  2. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    I don't know where I stand on this issue.

    Is he doing this out of fear or is does he really believe that the Iraq War is Illegal?

    Also, everyone currently serving in Iraq are volunteers and each one of them knew that there was a chance that they could be sent overseas and placed in Life or Death situations.

    I wonder why he went to Iraq in the first place? If he felt strongly about this, he should have not went and paid the penalty for not going, which is jail time I believe.
  3. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Unless he had a history he would be probably be given 30 days and a dishonorable discharge.

    They would also go after any money he received for college.

    This is probably about money ...... it usually is.


    Contrary to what most people think (especially those who hate the Military)..... todays Military do not want you if you do not want to serve anymore.
  4. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    He should have gone to France. They might have surrendered and he'd be in charge.

    It was a joke people, relax.
  5. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    How big of a deal is a Dishonorable Discharge? Is it difficult to find a job with it on your record?
  6. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Not really something most people look for unless you use your Military training or experience as a resume.

    Definitely not as big a deal as being a deserter.
  7. bbgun

    bbgun Benched

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    Even Canada isn't offering asylum to deserters. Nor was this guy conscripted against his will.
  8. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Dishonorable

    A Dishonorable Discharge (DD), like a BCD, is a punitive discharge rather than an administrative discharge. It can only be handed down to an enlisted member by a General Court-Martial. Dishonorable discharges are handed down for what the military considers the most dishonorable of conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (e.g. desertion, sexual assault, or murder, etc.) which call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence.

    With this characterization of service, all veterans' benefits are lost, regardless of any past honorable service. This type of discharge is universally regarded as shameful, and the social stigma attached to it makes it very difficult to obtain gainful post-service employment. Additionally, many states prohibit ownership of firearms from those who have been discharged dishonorably, as does Federal law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_discharge
  9. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    There are other ways to get out with a general discharge. Not honorable or dishonorable...aka General under honorable conditions which if memory serves the soldier can later apply to have that upgraded if they want.

    A good example of the above would be someone that failed the PT test a multitude of times so they are discharged.

    The military, at least they did at that time, also had the conscientious object status. We had a SGT in our company in Korea that had that status. Did not carry a weapon. But in our case we were a medical company so it was not such a big deal.

    Sounds like this guy was sent to a desk job, so he was not helping to fix helicpoters that could harm people so it just sounds like he did not want to go back to Iraq at all. In other words it did not seem like he was in a position to be in danger and it seems they did move him to another job so it sounds like this guy was/is being a pain in the arse even if he does not believe in the war.

    There are other ways he could have gotten out, whether it was honorable, dishonorable or general under honorable conditions.

    He could say he was gay, he could come up hot on drug tests, fail PTs, get a medical discharge (whether it would be mental of physical) and some other drastic methods that could get him booted out even if those drastic methods included jail time.

    Running to another country for Asylum seems like a cowardly move in this case.
  10. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    Bullet or rope?

    In all seriousness the guy is being a coward. He enlisted a full year after we invaded Iraq and he went to Iraq 2 years after we invaded. The soldier doesn't have the right to decide if it is a just war only that the orders he is given are lawful orders. He was not asked to go out on the line and kick in doors, he was fixing helecopters and arming them, good luck in trying to argue against lawful orders. There are several ways he could have gotten out but going AWOL was not the smartest, nor was claiming asylum.
  11. Phrozen Phil

    Phrozen Phil Active Member

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    Other vets have finished their tour and come home to object to the war. His choice is a puzzling one, as it creates more barriers for him. His credibility would be better if he finished his tour, but I don't know all the circumstance.I had the chance to peer-review an article about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and it talked about combat troops struggling with the kinds of issues that soldiers face, but this guy wasn't in a combat role, at least not according to the article.

    I have read literature about how the U.S. Army deals with soldiers struggling with mission related issues. It sometimes appears to depend on the Commanding Officer in a particular scenario. Most of the submissions paint a pretty compassionate picture of the Army, with officers wanting guys to get help asap. Gone are the days of General Patton slapping a soldier for perceived cowardice. Most of the officers interviewed were concerned with supporting their enlisted men and were active advocates for better equipment, food, and any other logistical or emotional support thay could get. I don't have the article, as it was in draft form at this time and dealt with PTSD from multiple perspectives. Beacause it also dealt with children, I was asked to review the document.
  12. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    I'm certain he cashed all the checks paid for by American taxpayers. Lock him up till his enlistment is over and recover any monies paid him and then dishonorably discharge his chicken ***.
  13. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Yup

    I hate that most will not dig into the reasons ...... and just assume that the Military is trying to force a guy to fight in a War he does not believe in.
  14. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    Funny thing is in the military you actually help pay your own check because you still pay taxes. Always thought that was crazy that I paid federal and state taxes and in essence was paying myself.:laugh2:
  15. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    I actually believe "most" will not assume that about the military, but a very "few" vocal individuals might. I think many people are silent but aware.
  16. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Andre Shepherd...you can't hide!



    [IMG]
  17. DaBoys4Life

    DaBoys4Life Benched

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    I know someone who's been to Iraq 3 times and is currently there right now who cares about this guy.....
  18. Aikbach

    Aikbach Well-Known Member

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    The only non haunting discharges he could seek involve either hardship claims or an ELS, but an ELS can only be obtained by someone with less than 180 days service and has been proven to not be compatible with military service/ culture; these two scenarios are his only non detrimental methods of walking away without what would essentially be a Scarlet letter upon his permanent record.
  19. Aikbach

    Aikbach Well-Known Member

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    Short story is, if you don't want in there are multiple chances to walk away before Basic and he should've done so.

    When you are in DEPS you are not obligated to your contract, even if sworn in, until you set foot at Basic Training; if you change your mind after you meet a drill Sergent its already too late.
  20. suspenceman

    suspenceman Jerry's kid

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    Hang this coward. I dont give a rats *** if you think the war is not right. there are Americans in this mans unit that need him to fix helicopters, and those helicopters transport troops and provide combat fire support.
    So in essence, him leaving, leaves that unit not as combat effective, which makes the ones in the sand kickin in doors and fighting bad guys not as effective.
    Hang him till he's dry
    The last military hanging was in the 1960's for an army soldier trying to rape and kill an australian girl. This is the same level of offense. end this cowards pathetic life

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