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Jeremy Hinzman

A reader and fellow blogger at New Frames, tipped me off to this story. I had not heard anything about this man, maybe some of you had, but certainly not from any of the media outlets in South Dakota. Jeremy Hinzman is a 26-year-old native of Rapid City South Dakota, who after he joined the Army started to practice Quakerism and applied for Conscientious Objector status with the Army and was denied. As a result he, his wife and young son have fled for Canada.

Did you know that over
5,500 soldiers have joined him there? "An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted from the U.S. Army since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting growing problems with troop morale in the United States. Many people are fleeing to Canada, according to the Sunday Telegraph, a trend that rekindles memories of the draft dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam.

Jeremy Hinzman, a 26-year-old from South Dakota who deserted from the 82nd Airborne, is among those who have applied for refugee status in Canada. 'This is a criminal war and any act of violence in an unjustified conflict is an atrocity,' Hinzman said. 'I signed a contract for four years, and I was totally willing to fulfill it. Just not in combat arms jobs.'"

According to
JeremyHinzman.net, Jeremy and his wife Nga "began attending meetings of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. As a result of this, they became acquainted with the Quaker Peace Testimony, which intensified their questioning of the meaning of military life.

This questioning culminated in Jeremy submitting an application to the Army requesting conscientious objector status in August of 2002. Apparently, the Army never received the application, so he resubmitted it on Halloween of 2002. Just over a month later his unit was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Eventually the application surfaced and a twenty five minute hearing was held. Jeremy stated that, should he be attacked, he could not always turn the other cheek. Thus, not meeting the Army's criteria for conscientious objector status, his application was denied"

In a radio interview last month Hinzman said something interesting, "So anyway, I felt that we had attacked Iraq without any defensive basis, and I think it's been well established at Nuremburg that in those instances, you cannot simply just say that you're following orders, but you have a duty and obligation to disobey."

I don't really have a political message here, although I do agree with most of what Hinzman says about the war. Still, I have to admit, something about the fact that there is actually a JeremyHinzman.net rubs me the wrong way. It's a complicated issue, involving among other things, religious freedom, and a soldiers duty to disobey unlawful orders (see Charles Graner who was following orders to "soften up" detaninees and now gets to spend 10 years in jail). My real question is, why is this such a non-story in South Dakota when there are over 16,000 hits when you type "Jeremy Hinzman" into Google. Now, I didn't look at all 16,000 hits, but I looked at a lot of them and not one was from a South Dakota News outlet or a South Dakota Blog. The whole world is talking about this guy except the people in his own state. I'm not sure what my point is except I just don't get it. If this has been in the local news or on a South Dakota blog I'm sure I will hear about it, I could be wrong, but I looked long and hard for any mention on South Dakota sites and found nothing. Are we ashamed? It would see that the Thune Blog Alliance would be all over this guy. It would also seem that the "liberal msm" would be all over it, and yet nothing. Presumably his family still lives in South Dakota, and not one Sunday feature in one South Dakota newspaper. Again, I don't really have a point, this just seems like a pretty big story for our little state, and nobody is talking about it.


At 1/18/2005 05:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, great post. That's amazing that so many people have googled Jeremy's name, but not one single SD paper has written about him.

Maybe he set up a website to get his side of the story out. I can only imagine what conservatives must think of him.

Here in Oregon, 51% of the National Guard who have fought in Iraq are not reenlisting. That's the highest it's ever been. They're expecting it to go even higher when the 700 who are over there now return. 8 from that 700 have been killed and 23 seriously injured.

Sid from New Frames


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