Soldier flees to Canada rather than return to Iraq

Rather than face another tour of duty in Iraq, a US soldier who received a Purple Heart medal after he was wounded by a roadside bomb has deserted to Canada.

Darrell Anderson, 22, wounded in Iraq last April, was deeply disillusioned about the war, said his mother, Anita Anderson. The possibility of another tour in Iraq this summer was something he could not face, she said.

When Anderson’s holiday leave in Lexington, Kentucky, ended three weeks ago, he did not return to his army unit in Germany. Instead, he fled to Canada, where he is hoping the Canadian government will provide refuge for him and a small number of US military deserters who want to avoid the war.

“I started to think ... what’s it really for? I was willing to die for my country. I thought I was going over there to defend my country. But that’s not what I was doing,” Anderson said in Toronto.

Anderson might be allowed to stay in Canada, but never be able to return home again to see his parents or his four-year-old daughter without risking arrest. His daughter now lives with her mother.

A US army spokeswoman said there have been 2,594 desertions since October of 2003.

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