His group opposes U.S. action in Iraq
By Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press, November 25, 2006

NEW ORLEANS — A U.S. soldier who fled to Canada rather than return to Iraq spent Thanksgiving week gutting houses flooded more than a year ago by Hurricane Katrina.

“There are so many engineering units of the U.S. military — they should be here and not Iraq,” Pvt. Kyle Snyder, 23, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said yesterday. He was among two dozen volunteers from Iraq Veterans Against the War spending the week in New Orleans, gutting veterans’ and musicians’ houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005.

Snyder, a former combat engineer, has said that he was put on patrol when sent to Iraq in 2004, which he said he was not trained to do, and that he began to turn against the war when he saw an innocent Iraqi man killed by American gunfire.

On Oct. 31, Snyder, 23, held a news conference in Louisville, the day before he was to turn himself in at Fort Knox as part of a deal to be discharged without a court-martial.

But the next day Snyder went AWOL again, and his attorney, James Fennerty of Chicago, said the Army had reneged on its arrangement by deciding instead to have him sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where his 94th Engineer Battalion was stationed.

His commandeers there were to determine his future, Snyder said.

Snyder said he’s getting help from Iraq Veterans Against the War and other groups. “I just travel,” he said.

“Legally, I’m AWOL again. My lawyer has tried to contact Fort Leonard Wood like 75 times — it’s documented, 75 times — and tried to get in touch with the military. They’ve avoided this entire subject,” Snyder said.

Mike Alley, a public affairs officer at Fort Leonard Wood, directed calls to the public affairs office at Fort Knox, where nobody answered the phone yesterday.