Sunday, March 04, 2007

Editorial: The wrath of the jealous 'Big Boys'

And I know I'd never go back --

it's broken-hearted street

and a paranoid street lamp.

My only precious thing I had

has been broken.

But I'm soulful and grateful,

and gleeful

Hey, hey yeah

caught me in its ray ...

-- "It Hurts," written by Rickie Lee Jones and Peter Atanasoff, from Jones' CD The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard

US war resister Kyle Snyder served in Iraq, self-checked out and went to Canada (April 2005) after seeing that reconstruction wasn't an issue but targeting Iraqis was. He found work in Canada, got a job working with disabled children that he enjoyed and that paid well. He was making a life for himself up north.

Then, as the summer of 2006 became all about the war resisters (except in media, big and small), he became one of the war resisters in Canada thinking of returning to turn himself in.

He ended up doing that, in fact, on October 31st, he turned himself in at Fort Knox and quickly decided to self-check out again the same day (not, AP, in November 2006).

How come?

The same US military that had lied to recruit him, that had lied to him in Iraq, lied again. An agreement Synder's attorney at the time, James Fennerty, had worked out with the US military securing Snyder's return got tossed out the window shortly after Fennerty left the base. Now it wasn't about processing Snyder out, it was about shipping him off to Iraq, it was about, "No, you can't talk to your lawyer." It was about the usual b.s. that they've pulled with Snyder repeatedly. As Snyder told Gerry Condon, "I didn't leave Canada in order to go to jail -- just the opposite. I returned to the U.S. because the Army said they would discharge me with no jail time. But the Army lied to me -- again."

So he checked back out. Synder hung around the US (Fennerty was attempting to iron out the situation which was difficult when the military refused to return his calls) and did what he did in Canada, spoke out against the illegal war. He teamed up with Iraq Veterans Against the War and, still speaking out, went to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding (what he was told he would be doing in Iraq) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Then he started a West Coast speaking tour and suddenly the police were very interested in Snyder. Suddenly, they were showing up at his scheduled stops. Like the Road Runner, Kyle Snyder always outsmarted him and then he returned to Canada.

During the Vietnam era, Canada had some beliefs they stood by. Not only did the government not send troops to that illegal war, they also granted US war resisters asylum. Things have changed (and not for the better). No US war resister has yet to be granted asylum in Canada.

(Even though Canada also chose to avoid this illegal war.) Everyone who has been heard by the immigration board (supposedly independent) has been denied and they have appeals outstanding. One thing that Canada does do is refuse to deport US war resisters back to the US while their appeals are being heard. And, of course, US forces can't come into Canada and grab the war resisters.

But never one to miss a chance to attempt to screw over Snyder, the US military decided that laws and customs don't matter all that much if they can get someone else to do their dirty work.

So they worked out a little back door deal with the local police in the area of British Columbia where Snyder was staying and soon enough the police were knock-knocking on his door Friday, February 23rd.

US war resister Ryan Johnson answered. He, his wife Jenna, Snyder and Snyder's wife to be, Maleah Friesen, share a residence. Snyder stepped out to speak to the police, in a robe and boxers, and was immediately grabbed and nabbed, refused the right to change into street clothes, and arrested. Lawyers Against War explain what went down here and pay attention to this:

Joci Peri, an Immigration official in Vancouver , later told Snyder he had been arrested at the request of the U.S. Army.
Being AWOL from another country's military is not an extraditable offense in Canada , nor does it have any bearing on immigrating to Canada , according to Vancouver lawyer Daniel McLeod, who is representing Snyder. "And the U.S. Army is not the boss of the Canadian police," says Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven.

Oh, but they thought they were. Wife to be? Snyder was supposed to get married. That got postponed due to the arrest. (Which the Canadian press portrays accurately as an arrest but the US press tends to prefer the term "detained." They also prefer to not note the US military's involvement in the matter.)

Snyder plans to get married this month. The US military is probably dreaming up new schemes and conspiracies to ruin that moment. They can't get over the fact that Kyle Snyder outsmarted them. There's a bit another bit of reality they can't face, they outsmarted themselves. Snyder came back to the US, he turned himself in, the matter could have been resolved. They decided to screw with him again.

So if this "loose end" is just obsessing them, they have only themselves to blame. And you have to wonder how they have so much time to repeatedly plot against Snyder considering there is an illegal war for them to fight, considering there are high school kids for them to lie to and try to trick in order to meet their recruitment numbers, considering that the US military medical facilities are a source of national shame. So many things to do.

Kyle Snyder's getting on with his life. But the 'Big Boys' of the US military prefer to act like desperate ex-girlfriend in a really bad movie (such as Fatal Attraction), willing to do anything to hang on, refusing to let go! That's neither "mature" nor "macho." Something the Big Boys might want to consider the next time they gather to plot. Again, Snyder's getting on with his life. The 'Big Boys' would do well to remember some advice passed on to Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann: To get back, is to go back.
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