Iowa National Guardsman “stop-lossed” for Iraq deployment November 2005. “My only options were to go to Iraq and take part in an immoral war, or to go on the run and risk jail. But in the end I resolved that to desert was the best thing I could do.” Tim currently studies at the University in Ontario, Canada.
Tim Richard comes from the mid-western state of Iowa and joined the Army National Guard when he was 17. He served six years as a part time soldier, and his period of service was coming to an end in November 2005 when he became a victim of the “stop-loss” program. His National Guard unit was ordered to Camp Shelby in Mississippi for special training before being shipped out to Iraq. Tim decided the best thing to do was to break out of the camp and get out of the country. He relates his experiences in an interview with Socialist Worker, 8 July 2006.
“I was morally against the war, so I decided to go my superiors and explain why I did not want to go, and why I considered the invasion of Iraq to be immoral.” He inquired about applying for conscientious objector (CO) status, but found that he did not qualify as he was not opposed to all wars, just to the occupation of Iraq. “I was informed that even if I did apply for CO it would take 18 months to be processed, and by then I would have been shipped out,” he said.
“My only options were to go to Iraq and take part in an immoral war, or to go on the run and risk jail. But in the end I resolved that to desert was the best thing I could do. At the end of the day this option was also available to other soldiers.”
Because his dad is Canadian, Richard was able to acquire Canadian citizenship, which allows him to work and go to school, and protects him from extradition to the U.S. to face desertion charges. But opposing the war means he can never return to his home.
Tim recognizes that “…other resisters face a tough time, as they can expect to be deported back and dumped in military jail. In the US, desertion in a time of war still carries a maximum sentence of death. That is a gamble no one should have to take.”
Tim Richard has used his singing talents (he sings in local choirs and gives numerous solo performances) to raise money for the Nanaimo War Resisters Support Group and charitable causes. He is in the process of completing his music degree at a University in Ontario.