Friday, November 03, 2006

Kyle Snyder needs your help

Since going to Canada to avoid another deployment in Iraq, Corey Glass has thought about returning to the United States.
But after hearing about the travails of fellow former soldier Kyle Snyder - who surrendered to the military but was ordered to return to his unit instead of being discharged - Glass may not return at all.
"They're not going to win the hearts and minds like that," said Glass, 24, who signed on with the Indiana National Guard in 2002.
Snyder, a one-time combat engineer who joined the military in 2003 to help pay for college, went AWOL on Wednesday, just 24 hours after surrendering at Fort Knox and 18 months after running to Vancouver, Canada, instead of redeploying to Iraq. Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said a deal had been reached for a quick discharge, but he found out he would be returned to his unit at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. There the unit's commanding officer would decide Snyder's future.
Snyder's troubles are complicating efforts to have more of the 220 American soldiers who fled to Canada return to the United States, according to lawyers, soldiers and anti-war activists.
"Nobody's going to come back from Canada anymore," said James Fennerty, a Chicago-based attorney who represents Snyder as well as other AWOL soldiers.
Several of the soldiers who went to Canada and spoke out have said they don't want to return to Iraq. Sgt. Patrick Hart, who deserted the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division in August 2005, a month before his second deployment to the desert, said he feels misled about why the war was launched.
"How can I go over there if I don't believe in the cause?" asked Hart, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who served more than nine years in the military. "I still consider myself a soldier, but I can't do that."
Glass echoed Hart and other deserters about why they went to Canada.
"The whole story behind it, it all feels like a big lie," Glass said. "I ain't fighting for no lie."

The above is from Brett Barrouquere's "AWOL soldier's travails give pause to others in Canada" (Associated Press). Associated Press, airing on public radio, college radio, some NPR stations . . . . (Yes, that was a joke.) The illustration is from The Third Estate Sunday Review and Rebecca was kind enough to freshen it up last night. Last Friday, when Mike Howell's
"U.S. army deserter ready to head home" (Toronto Star) broke the news that Snyder was returning Saturday, could you have pictured all the twists and turns in this story? Could you have guessed that independent media would be so uninterested it?

Snyder self-checked out, originally, in April 2005. Then he turned himself in at Fort Knox on Tuesday only to find out that the same military that lied to him (in recruitment and in training) was lying to him again causing him to check out again.

Maria passes this on from Courage to Resist (not up at the site yet, it's from an e-mail they sent out and will be up at the site probably later today):

Tell Ft. Knox Commander "Discharge Kyle Snyder!"
Kyle's future is uncertain and your phone call can make a difference. Forward this action alert to your friends!
Kyle Snyder, Iraq veteran and war resister, returned from Canada to turn himself in to Army authorities on October 31, 2006 at Fort Knox. Now he is once again AWOL after officials at Ft. Knox have reneged on a previously arranged deal with his attorney, Jim Fennerty, to discharge Kyle.
The Army broke its promise to Kyle and his lawyer, a promise which led Kyle to abandon his refugee claim in Canada and return to the U.S. in good faith."We wouldn't have brought him back here if we knew this was going to happen," Jim Fennerty said.
Instead of discharging him, as promised, the Army dropped him off at the Greyhound bus station in Louisville and told him to head for an ominous and uncertain fate at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
In fact, nobody in authority at Fort Knox has been willing to explain the Army's turnabout. Your phone calls can make a difference! Make the call today.
Commanding General of Fort Knox, Major General Robert M. Williams 502-624-2707

Demand that Ft. Knox honor their agreement to discharge Kyle Snyder.
If you can't reach him directly be sure to leave a message
Your donation toward Kyle Snyder's legal and political defense is needed!
Take Action to Support GI Resistance and GI Rights Dec. 8-10th!

How can it make a difference? Maybe you're asking that? Maybe you're independent media and you're asking that in a "Why should I bother to cover it" kind of way?

Darrell Anderson scared the hell out of them. For four reasons. 1) His mother, Anita Anderson, had made it very clear (and very public) that when her son returned, she'd be outside every day protesting. 2) Since he had married a Canadian citizen, he could have stayed in Canada. That's true of all war resisters in Canada but with Anderson, there was no threat of deportation because he was legally married to a Canadian citizen, Gail Green. 3) He was awarded a Purple Heart on his tour of duty in Iraq. 4) There was no attempt to help him (or most) with PTS. They didn't want that messy public fight.

With Ehren Watada, there's a measurement of how interested is the public? Have they lost interest? (No and Bob Watada's efforts continue to keep his son's name in front of the public.) So they bide their time despite the fact that the Article 32 hearing was in August. (Remember how quickly Ricky Clousing was court-martialed?)

So with Snyder, they looked at the situation and thought they could screw with him. He grew up in foster homes. Indymedia showed no interest in his story. Not even noting it until after he turned himself in and then just as a headline. They thought they had the perfect case where they could railroad him and no one would be looking.

Your call lets them know Snyder is not alone. Your call lets them know that Snyder might have fallen through the cracks as a child but he's not alone today. They don't want public, they don't want messy. They don't want to discharge him or anyone else but they will if they fear not doing so will result in more publicity.

Only by repeatedly lowering the standards were they able to meet some of their quotas this year. Kyle Snyder is their recruitment nightmare. If he gets attention, one urge will be to 'wrap it up quickly.' They don't want the attention, they don't want potential recruits to hear his story.

So be your own media, get the word out on Kyle Snyder and make that call.

The e-mail address for this site is