Pardon them: The point in "No Canada" about this being a "poverty draft" is a good one. Though these people enlisted and weren't drafted, their pitiful circumstances at home made the military the best job option they could find.
Then they get to Iraq and find out what they've gotten themselves into — a political war that the United States never should have engaged in. They see atrocities committed by U.S. troops and want no part of it.
Some way out of poverty!
They go home on leave and desert to Canada rather than do another tour of duty. It's very complicated, but I feel for them. It might not be the same as it was during the Vietnam era, but a lot of these people deserve not only asylum in Canada but pardons by the U.S. government.
My feeling is that the Barack Obama administration won't turn its back on these people like the George W. Bush administration did. Obama realizes that getting into the Iraq War was a fraud committed on the American people by his predecessor.
Nell Shuster, Phoenix
They owe us: "Poverty draft," my ass! Even if these people did enlist because they were impoverished, they still owe their country a debt. Running away is not the honorable thing to do, no matter how they spin it.
Ted Pullman, Tempe
Lazy so-and-so: Typical. "I want somebody to provide for me. I have to do what to get my benefits? I know I signed up for this deal, but I'm not doing that."
This lazy so-and-so [Kim Rivera] is a victim? Total BS! That's why this country is going down the toilet.
Scott Davis, Phoenix
Should have known better: Upon reading the first part of the article, I really thought I would have sympathy for the subjects involved. But I don't.
The Vietnam-era deserters, who didn't have the balls or were too rich or too smart to fight? Good riddance. They were never Americans to begin with.
I bet they have as many problems and guilt as the men and women who stood up and served our country honorably, as most of our military personnel did. Better to live life bravely than be a coward. And make no mistake, they were and always will be cowards.
I know this is a harsh judgment, but one has to live by one's choices.
As far as the modern-day deserters are concerned, if one joins the Marines, [she or he] should know better. I noticed no Navy personnel were involved. The Air Force guy sounds like the usual fuck-up who got busted. He should be a politician, because it sounds like he is a liar and a weasel.
What is very disturbing about the article is the fact that Kim Rivera was even allowed in the Army. I can't believe that the Army is so desperate to think she would be a good soldier. This is what happens when the standards are so low.
"Boo-hoo, I joined the Army voluntarily to get free stuff," Rivera's saying, "and they sent me to a place where bad things happened."
As far as I'm concerned, the Canadians can keep them all.
Andrew Noe, Tempe
BAY OF RECKONING
We're supposed to be better: See, I don't get this: They say this kid [Omar Khadr] is guilty because "he's the only one who could have thrown the grenades."
How do they know this? They say the fighting went on for an hour, but since the kid was the only one alive, he's the only one who could have thrown grenades an hour ago? So he held the Special Forces guys off for an hour single-handedly?
Secondly, why is it a crime to fight back in a wartime situation? So the guys weren't part of an organized military. Neither were the French resistance fighters in World War II; did we bring them up on charges?
Third, if these guys [in Guantánamo] are criminals, why no actual charges? This game of semantics is ridiculous: "He's not a POW, he's not a civilian. So we can keep him forever if we want."
We should expect anyone to do better with our captives, civilian or military, and we can't use the "but-they-are-meaner-to-our-guys" excuse. We have always striven to be above that, or we would have stuck our Vietnam prisoners in holes for months at a time, with watery rice for their only meals, torturing them on a daily basis.
It's about time the country grew up. I, for one, am glad that the new administration in Washington is moving in this direction.
Mike Wells, Phoenix
No, really, no Canada: I am surprised to hear you say that Dennis Edney is prepared to have Omar Khadr move in with him. My understanding from speaking with him in late October was that he had considered that option and decided it was not a workable one.