29-year-old Army Spc. Rodney Watson from Kansas City, Mo. served 12-months in Iraq. He has refused to return and is currently seeking refuge near Vancouver, Canada. “I’d rather do my time in jail than be a party to the racism I saw in Iraq. As an African-American, I grew up with racism. But in Iraq, I saw the same kind of abuse and mistreatment, only this was U.S. enlisted soldiers and American contractors, like security forces, abusing Iraqis.”
GI won’t be ‘armed guard for oil’
By Suzanne Fournier, The Vancouver Province. November 16, 2007
Rodney Watson went to Iraq with the U.S. army to serve his country, but instead was horrified by the “violence and racism a lot of American soldiers showed toward the Iraqi people we were supposed to be helping out.”
Watson, 29, said he refused to be “an armed guard for oil.” So, after his first 12-month tour of duty, he deserted the army and fled from his home and family in Kansas City, Mo., to play a waiting game in north Burnaby.
“I realized the war had nothing to do with 9/11 or helping Iraqis or stopping terrorists,” said Watson, who has been living in Canada for a year and applied for refugee status six months ago. “It’s all about guarding oil for the U.S.”
Watson has been waiting to learn whether Canada will let him stay as a refugee. His chances do not look good, and yesterday they appeared to get even worse when the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear appeals from two U.S. Iraq war resisters who are seeking refuge in Eastern Canada.
Watson knows that, if returned to the U.S., he would go to jail, but said: “I’d rather do my time in jail than be a party to the racism I saw in Iraq.
“As an African-American, I grew up with racism. But in Iraq, I saw the same kind of abuse and mistreatment, only this was U.S. enlisted soldiers and American contractors, like security forces, abusing Iraqis.”