The American war deserter is one of an estimated 700 U.S. military personnel currently residing in Canada seeking refuge from the long reach of the U.S. Navy. On June 3, MPs voted 137 to 110 in favour of a resolution that called on the federal government to allow U.S. war resisters to apply for permanent resident status in Canada and to cease all deportation and removal proceedings against them. However, the government is only morally obligated to follow the resolution, it's not legally binding.

After serving in the Kosovo War in 1999 and then in Iraq in 2006 aboard the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, Chief Petty Officer Wiley - responsible for a crew of 70 nuclear technician personnel - took issue with the navy in terms of the treatment of its personnel and the air combat missions his vessel was running in both conflicts.

Fast-forward to May 2006 in the Persian Gulf, he became alarmed when he learned of the tactics the navy was deploying with its aircraft to flush out the enemy.

"The idea was if you had a small village where insurgents were suspected to be ... you take a couple of F-18s and fly them multiple times over that village as low and as fast as possible to scare the crap out of everyone and get them moving," he explained. "The logic (the military) was pushing was anybody who runs has a reason to run away from the U.S. forces. I think anybody who's gotten beyond the fifth grade can probably understand that anyone who runs maybe doesn't want a bomb dropped on their head."

He set about educating himself in international law and that lead to conclusions he didn't like. Following arguments with his superiors for "getting too friendly" with his charges for discussing, among other things, the military's Individual Augmentee program - the re-assigning of officers from non-combat roles in one branch of service to replace thinning ranks in a conflict zone - he was reprimanded.

"I was told what I was doing was contrary to the good order, discipline and command (of the ship), which in the military means they're about to drop a very big hammer on your head," he said. "I told (my superior officer) something my high school geography teacher once told me: 'The truth is never afraid of honest inquiry' ... that's when he started talking about mutiny ... but I never talked about taking command of the ship."

Returning stateside, Wiley exhausted efforts to have the navy reassign him anywhere and in any capacity other than near Iraq or on the Enterprise.

The real punch in the gut came when the 17-year military veteran was reassigned to another carrier, the USS George Washington, due to sail to Iraq in less than four months. He contacted U.S.-based military lawyers and support groups seeking help, but no one could.

"If I refused to be deployed to Iraq ... I'd have been sent to (the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at) Fort Leavenworth, Kansas."

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