ImageArmy PFC, Eugene, Oregon native. Wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. In May 2007, on the eve of his schedule redeployment to Iraq while still recovering in Germany from his injuries, James took his family to Ottawa, Canada.

“I did sign a contract to serve but you kinda have to be in the situation to know what it’s like,” he said. “I went there to do a good thing and not to fight a illegal war, and I feel like it’s my right to say no to an illegal war.”

From The Common Ills Blog:

James Burmeister was a new face for American TV (he’s been profiled by Canada’s CBC before). Burmeister was in Germany following wounds received in Iraq after he experienced his third bombing. He had joined up when the talk was ‘reconstruction’ and ‘rebuilding’ and he believed the hype that humanitarian work was going to be done and the recruiter who told him he’d be doing just that. Instead, he found himself setting up traps for Iraqis — leaving US property out in the open so that when Iraqis touched them that had ‘violated US sovereignty’ and could be attacked. Burmeister, his wife and their young daughter set their sights on Canada where they now live in Ottawa and he attempts to be granted asylum by the Canadian government.

AWOL (video and transcript available)
NOW, PBS. August 24, 2007