<\body> Stories in America: A Message from Kyle Snyder, AWOL Iraq Veteran

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Message from Kyle Snyder, AWOL Iraq Veteran

"At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if this is something you can live with. It's your life and the choice is ultimately yours to make. I said NO and I will never regret it."
-Kyle Snyder

This is from Courage to Resist:
Kyle Snyder plans to present himself to Army authorities at Fort Knox, KY, Tuesday, October 31. Before turning himself in he will hold a press conference at 10am in nearby Louisville at Central Presbyterian Church, (4th and Kentucky St.) He will arrive at Fort Knox at approximately 2:30 pm.

"I joined the military when I was 19 years old from a government program called Job Corps, in Clearfield, Utah," Snyder explains. "I wasn't a good kid. I didn't have a good background. I was in foster homes from thirteen to seventeen, then when I was seventeen, I went through a government program called Job Corps. So, from thirteen all the way up, I didn't have parental figures in my life really. My parents divorced; my father was really abusive towards my mother and he was abusive toward me. I've still got scars on my back. I was put in Social Services when I was thirteen. I was an easy target for recruiters, plain and simple. I wanted to go to college. I wanted to provide for a family; I wanted to have a family. I wanted all the benefits that the military had to offer."

Snyder thought about the war in Iraq at the time, but "more than anything I wanted to reconstruct the civilization of Iraq. I wanted to help liberate the people of Iraq, just like the American president was saying. So, I signed up to be a heavy construction equipment operator, part of the 94th Corps of Engineers. I figured if I was an engineer in the United States Army I could build foundations for the Iraqi people to form their new government, to form a civilization after the bombings of 2003." When Snyder arrived in Iraq, however, he says he saw no reconstruction of Iraq. "The only reconstruction I saw was building Army bases."

In the meantime, he had been retrained to be a 50-caliber machine gunner. "I was in Mosul. I was in Baghdad. I was in Stryker. I was in Scania. [Both, military bases.] I was in Tikrit. There was reconstruction of forward operating bases and military bases, but no city work being done."

Kyle traveled to Canada in April 2005 while on leave from the war in Iraq. Proclaiming that he was lied to by military recruiters and that the war in Iraq is "illegal and immoral," Snyder applied for refugee status in Canada.

Last week, Kyle Snyder was busy saying goodbye to the many friends he has made in Canada. "Many Canadians have supported me in extraordinary ways. I will never forget that," he says. "Canada will always have a special place in my heart."

Returning to the U.S. is a personal decision, says Snyder. "It is my right to return home to my country, and now is the right time for me to do so."

Kyle Snyder’s message to soldiers and youth:

"If you really want to 'support the troops,' you don't send them into unjust, counterproductive wars. Until all our young men and women are home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would advise against joining the military.

If you are already in the military, I would advise you to follow your conscience before simply obeying any order. In fact, under international laws and treaties ratified by both the U.S. and Canada, it is a soldier's duty to refuse to participate in war crimes.

"Sure, there are consequences to standing up for what you believe in. But there are graver consequences if you just go along blindly following orders. You could be killed or seriously wounded, as over 20,000 U.S. soldiers have been in Iraq. Or you could become a completely different person than the one your family and friends knew and loved. The images and memories of war may haunt you for the rest of your life.

"At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if this is something you can live with. It's your life and the choice is ultimately yours to make. I said NO and I will never regret it."


At 10/31/2006 12:51 AM, Blogger Jack Boo said...

Then there are guys like Sargeant John Gebhardt, who chose to honor the contract he signed to participate in this "illegal and immoral" war.....


At 11/26/2006 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Jack, individual soldiers doing good things in Iraq does not make up for the fact that the US military is there in the first place, under false pretenses, and doing more harm than good. So Sgt. Gebhardt comforted this little girl...who wouldn't? Oh yeah - a bunch of Iraqis who don't have enough respect for their own country to not kill their own neighbors. Our presence in Iraq will not teach Iraqis to respect themselves.


Post a Comment

<< Home