Skip to comments.Vietnam deserter says going to Canada 'wasn't worth it'
Posted on 03/22/2006 6:05:03 AM PST by Kitten Festival
YAHK, British Columbia (AP) -- A Vietnam war-era deserter who was caught crossing into the United States and held for a week says he made a mistake when he fled the Marine Corps in 1968.
"When I was 18, I wasn't aware that duty and honor would mean as much to me as they do now," Allen Abney, 56, said Monday in this southeast British Columbia town.
"Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have done what I did 38 years ago," he said. "It wasn't worth it, all the pain I caused my family."
Abney was arrested March 9 while crossing the border to Idaho, something he had done countless times before, but he said that was the first time he was asked for birth certificate as identification. When the Customs agent asked him to pull over, Abney said, he knew he was in trouble.
(Excerpt) Read more at edition.cnn.com ...
He should be whipped.
His Canuck citizenship ended up trumping his Marinehood, politically.
I liked Col. Hunt's reply concerning this traitor. Do not waste our money trying him or putting him in prison, but brand him a deserter and never allow him back in the country. Stated the clown was on a 38 year vacation while he and his buddies pulled his load and some paid the price. Col. Hunt has nothing but contempt for him and so do I. I never had to go to war and I was in one of the easier services - Navy - but I volunteered several times and did 18 years. Most of it was pretty good and I met fine people and had great times and memories. Some commands sucked and the people sucked there too. But I did my time and did not run away. On second thought, this idiot needs to be horse whipped in the public square.
I'm not sure letting this jackass come back is worth it either.
Nonsense. Unless there was something especially agregious about the context of his desertion, the draftee has suffered enough and learned his lesson.
""The (Marine Corps) is one of the finest military organizations in the world," he said. "Good or bad, they take care of their own and I feel privileged to have shared some time with those fine young warriors."
Abney's younger brother, who had been ill with cancer, died while he was at Camp Pendleton this month. The Marines expedited his release so he could attend his brother's memorial service Saturday."
Put yourself in an 18-year old's shoes. All he sees and hears is how American soldiers are getting slaughtered as if they are cattle in a slaughterhouse. Every night images of the absolute worst of the worst are put forth in a media with only three networks for news, all colluding to put out the same liberal biased crap.
Then you have a young kid, who's lumped in with millions of others across the nation that have been taught either directly or indirectly to incorrect things and immoral things as the basis for everything, and to hate all that's good including belief in God.
Just as women that have had abortions and regretted it, at some point ya have to punish mildly, but let it go IMO fore people that admit that they were wrong. If this is simply a matter of he thinks he was correct but just regrets the fruits of his decisions, then that's a different matter.
I would think that having had to live in Canada is somewhat of a punishment as someone that was originally American. IDK...
You are right on. There were so many honorable options in those days, there's absolutely no excuse. That fire still burns strongly in most of us when it comes to those cowards.
If you are not a liberal at nineteen, you have no heart. If you are not a Conservative at twenty one, you have no brain.
...And you believe this? It doesn't strike you as a little convenient that his sudden patriotic enlightenment would occur just when he got caught?
imho the grew up in canada part is wherein lies the problem.
And in the end...
...some paid the greatest of prices when their Freedom was taken from them by our non-support in Congress:
Pictures of a vietnamese Re-Education Camp
I believe the military is much too advanced and professional than to lead it by "whipping this guy. Our troops are not ignorant peasants motivated by fear, and I think most would laugh at your suggestion.
"Put yourself in an 18-year old's shoes. All he sees and hears is how American soldiers are getting slaughtered as if they are cattle in a slaughterhouse. Every night images of the absolute worst of the worst are put forth in a media with only three networks for news, all colluding to put out the same liberal biased crap.
Then you have a young kid, who's lumped in with millions of others across the nation that have been taught either directly or indirectly to incorrect things and immoral things as the basis for everything, and to hate all that's good including belief in God."
I didn't believe in the draft at the time, so with a number 14 in the first lottery I fought it for two years, won my permanent deferment, then enlisted in the army and went Airborne. During my time in the anti draft movement I met many guys that were living in Canada,but would make trips back here (the U.S.) I would call them cowards and anti- American, and tell them I was going to kick their ass if they didn't leave my presence. For me fighting the Draft was legit, but you had to do it inside the U.S., and go to prison if you failed, it was disappointing for me to discover how little principle was involved in the anti-war movement, outside of my self, I remember less than 5 or 6 guys that I believed were genuinely involved in a matter of conscience.
"And you believe this? It doesn't strike you as a little convenient that his sudden patriotic enlightenment would occur just when he got caught?"
This guy is a loser, but almost all males regret not serving when they hit their late 30s or 40s, that is why I advise every young man that I think has the right stuff, to join the military. I really had to work on my son to get him to enlist, he had all the usual arguments against it, but now that he is in his early thirties he is very happy he pulled a hitch with the 10th Mt., and he knows it will serve him well as a man, the rest of his life, that he is a veteran. We need to start pushing service to our Republican and conservative young men.
It wasn't worth taking him and his like in either.
Had Abney not been caught at the border on his latest entry to the States it's very likely that he never would have had his "Come to Jesus" moment. Your "empathy" is wasted on a deserter who finally got caught.
I know. And it's a good point. Again, if the guy is genuinely remorseful, even perhaps to the extent of making up for it somehow, then I would lean that way. But you are correct, in all likelihood he's simply not happy with his circumstances since then, and given that if true, then I'd fully side with the implication that he deserves all he gets.
The guy is not in the military anymore. The (theoretical) whipping would be for his own personal cowardice and deceit.
Our troops are not ignorant peasants motivated by fear, and I think most would laugh at your suggestion.
I was a Marine. No they wouldn't.
You said -- "I didn't believe in the draft at the time, so with a number 14 in the first lottery I fought it for two years, won my permanent deferment, then enlisted in the army and went Airborne."
Well, I didn't have a problem with the draft, per se. The draft was simply one way of meeting the requirements of the military at the time. And having a military is something that is required for the existence of a country. These days, our government has taken a different approach to meeting those requirements (for maintaining a military), which is fine, instead of a draft.
In that first lottery, I had the number of 17. However, I did have a student deferrment, so I didn't have to confront the issue, personally, at first. But, in time, I did have to address it, because of personal religious beliefs and some health issues.
I thought I might not, because of the deferrment, but the circumstances changed for me and put me in the middle of a draft board fight. The circumstances that led to the confrontation with my draft board, was an illness that put me out of school for a while. I came back to school, but had lost the deferrment in the meantime. So, what I thought wouldn't have to be confronted, at the time -- had to, in the end.
I remember those protests at the time, in college, but I never participated in them, because I wasn't politically motivated in such a way to do so. I did have a personal and religious conviction, but it wasn't relevent to the anti-draft and anti-war movement. So, I never took part in any of that. But, the time did come when I had to put my personal and religious convictions on the line -- when it came to my door.
I went from student deferrment to a 1-A status. It was then that I appealed the 1-A to seek a 1-O (Conscientious Objector), immediately at the time of being issued the 1-A. I knew a notice was coming (an induction notice). I filed for a temporary and one-time deferrment, just to give myself some time to prepare for it all. That one-time deferrment ended up cancelling a "Greetings" notice that came to my address.
Then started a series of hearing and appeals that went on for about two years. If you were a Quaker or a Jehovah's witness (at the time) it was virtually an automatic 1-O, because the position was "institutionalized" in a particular denomination, that way. But, if one didn't belong to a particular denomination that had that as a "tenet of faith" -- then it was literally impossible to get a 1-O.
Even though knowing that, I proceeded, anyway. I lost all the appeals, all the way to the top and then was finally issued a second "Greetings" letter. However, my position was that one doesn't even *start* the process of a 1-O unless one is prepared to go all the way to the end of it. You don't "bail out" and say, "It's too bad I lost; I guess I'll go..." No, that's "bailing out."
I lost (for sure, legally speaking), but it was a "hard draft board" (that's for sure). And so, I reported to the Armed Services Entrance and Examining station and took all the exams and what-all. However, some military people there got the idea that I was going to refuse induction (I didn't tell them, though). And so, I was asked (point-blank), if I was going to do that. I said I was still thinking about it. So, they took me and several others (that the military decided to "segregate" -- and put us in another room and gave us the "step forward" routine.
I had "decided" and I didn't step forward. Then I was sent home and told to wait for prosecution under the law. The draft board sent the case up to the U.S. Attorney of the United States to prosecute for a felony violation of the law. Everyone was being prosecuted in those days and they were all gettings sentenced to jail. So, that was my expectation. However, I did retain an attorney to get ready for a court case. My attorney made sure I knew that there was *no chance* of winning this case, as they were *all* being convicted, at the time. I said to proceed anyway, because I had taken my stand.
My attorney did *only* draft cases -- but he would not just take anyone. He said he would have to review my case, first -- to see if he would even take it. And after he looked it over (I had a big thick Selective Service file..., from many appeals and appearances) -- he said he would take it. He was a mysterious sort of fellow, working all alone and did nothing else other than these cases, and being very selective about them. I can't even remember how I got him.
And continuing..., I had decided -- when I started -- that running away to Canada was not facing up to one's convictions. So, I decided it was necessary to see it through. Even if I had received a 1-O (Conscientious Objector), it would have still required two years of service (but it would have been in some other capacity, other than military). That was a "given". And I knew that, too.
Finally, the time came when the U.S. Attorney instructed my attorney to send me down to his office for an "interview". He wanted to see who I was, I guess. Then after about 15 minutes, he sent me back home again and said to wait for my attorney's instructions.
Finally, after a couple of months, I received word from my attorney. The U.S. Attorney (in a very, very rare move) had refused to prosecute my case and sent it back to the Draft Board for them to "re-open" my case.
Upon that move, we made a move to request the new category of 1-H (called the "Holding Category"), which was like having a high draft lottery number. They were not going to draft you unless it was an "all-out nuclear war" on our soil.
Within 30 days I received my 1-H, and that was the end of my draft board and selective service confrontation.
All the while, when presenting my case, I based my position upon religious ground and not political motivations (which was allowed in the exemption in law). However, the Draft Board was not very open to considering any such thing, even if it were in the law. And, as it turned out, the U.S. Attorney's Office kicked it back to the Draft Board to re-open and reconsider on those grounds. However, the Draft Board didn't want to deal with it any longer and they simply issued a 1-H and got rid of me.
That was the end of the story.
At the time I didn't know whether I was going to be in jail or successful with the case. But, it didn't matter, because I always kept in mind the situation of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego in the book of Daniel. Just as they thought, so I thought. I was thrown into a "fiery furnace" and I came out not even smelling of smoke. Thanks be to God.
You also said -- "During my time in the anti draft movement I met many guys that were living in Canada,but would make trips back here (the U.S.) I would call them cowards and anti- American, and tell them I was going to kick their ass if they didn't leave my presence. For me fighting the Draft was legit, but you had to do it inside the U.S., and go to prison if you failed, it was disappointing for me to discover how little principle was involved in the anti-war movement, outside of my self, I remember less than 5 or 6 guys that I believed were genuinely involved in a matter of conscience."
Yeah, at the time, most of it was "political" and there was not an understanding of the "religious exemptions" or motivations written into the law for "Conscientious Objector" status. At the time, it seemed that 1-O was simply the "means to the ends" of "politically objecting" to the situation in Viet Nam.
And that's why I ran into such a hard time with my Draft Board, as they thought they were going to *completely shut down* that "loophole" (apparently what they considered to be a "loophole" in the law). And so, I'm sure that's why the U.S. Attorney refused to prosecute, on behalf of the United States Government, even though the Draft Board wanted him to do so.
In my case, I was going to simply let it play out the way God would have it. And He showed me the way. And that's how it ended up.
And, it's as I said -- the military is a necessary ingredient in the existence of the nation (as it always has been). Some will go and others won't. There are reasons for going and reasons for not. The law (and the Bible) provides for reasons for not doing that in service of your country. And, for me, it has to do with the Bible.
We'll always need the military until the time that Jesus Christ comes again. When He returns -- we will no longer need or use a military and there will no longer be wars or soldiers. At that time, all those former things (of the military) will be past. At that time Jesus Christ will set up His One Thousand Year Reign (as it says in the book of Revelation) and there will be peace all over the world. People will learn war no more. That will be the day.
Right now, it's different and there are enemies to God and enemies to our country and enemies to our way of life. I fight with God, in the ways that He wants me to and others fight in the way that they think is proper and what is needed.
You should know better then. Im sure the Marines who took care of him knew better. Semper Fi
You, sir, turned your back upon America. Now America turns it's back on you.
No entry, for at least a long while. Alas, the man can do just what he pleases- which is what he did anyway. He is protected by police if he enters. He will receive medical care, if in a road accident. If destitute, he will receive shelter. He will be entitled to everything that his own country offers. I do not believe he is sorry.
I wonder what his attitude is to the Iraq war?
Desertion used to be a serious crime. Sparing this clown sends the wrong message to would-be deserters.
A good read, if you have the time.