Monday, January 19, 2009

Chris Teske Faces Deportation on Inauguration Day

1.19.2009

Chris Teske, a war resister who lives in BC, is scheduled to be thrown out of Canada and sent back to the US tomorrow. Chris and his lawyer will be in federal court today, asking for a stay of deportation.

Here's Chris's story in his own words.


January 4th, 2009

Hello,My name is Christopher John Teske. I am a former paratrooper and infantryman in the United States Army. I enlisted prior to the September 11th attacks on the world trade center for patriotic reasons and to fund the completion of my college education.

As I finished my training as a soldier, my country was attacked on September 11th, 2001. I was deeply upset that that civilians were specifically targeted. Shortly after the events of 9/11 I volunteered for combat assignment and was immediately deployed to Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division.

While there I took part in the largest ground offensive of the war: "Operation Anaconda". When I returned from my deployment I was deeply troubled with the morality of armed conflict. I was also not convinced that the US Military's objectives and long term goals in Afghanistan were transparent, honest, or even attainable. Before I was able to personally sort out my feelings I was redeployed to Afghanistan, this time to the Waziristan Region to conduct counter insurgency operations.

Deciding to return to Afghanistan for a second tour of duty was the hardest decision of my life. And now, in retrospect was wrong. I based my decision to deploy based on fear. I failed to listen to my conscience because I was scared of what the Army would do to me if I did not follow orders.Ultimately, I was more scared of official punishment than I was of losing my life in combat. I have always paid deeply for that decision. I am haunted by that decision.

After my second tour of duty, I was honorably discharged from the Military and tried to move on with my life. I continue to be haunted by my military experiences in Afghanistan. I am very guarded about discussing what has happened to me and what I have seen. For me it was a time best left forgotten. To make peace with myself I decided I would never repeat what I had been through with the Army and I would never try to harm anyone, anyone ever again.I was unaware that the Army had placed me into the "Inactive Ready Reserve" until two years after my discharge from Afghanistan, when they ordered me to report for a physical exam as I was to be reactivated for combat service, this time in Iraq. I had already made the personal decision to not participate in any armed conflict based on my personal belief that it is immoral.It soon became apparent that I was trapped in the Army, escape was impossible and my only intended purpose was to “engage and destroy the enemy”, IE: kill. Period.

At this point I made the only decision that seemed logical. I researched desertion and stumbled across the War Resisters here in Canada. In a sea of madness I made the only sane choice available. I deserted my unit and came to Canada.I have lived and worked in Canada for over 2 years now. I call the Kootenays my home. I came here to start fresh and make a new life for myself. I do not discuss my military past with anyone, most people I know or work with have no idea I am from the United States, was in the Military, or served in a War.

As I said, for me it was a time best left forgotten.However, it seems as hard as I try to forget the institution which enslaved me, they have not forgotten about me. I have been denied at every turn in my immigration process. I have now been ordered to leave Canada and I am about to be turned over to the American Government and in turn the US Army.I face a multitude of charges: The first is desertion max time 4 years. The second: failure to deploy with my unit to Iraq with a max time of 3 years. (All felony charges) And the last, is desertion in time of war. Which if they choose is punishable by death. I also face possible redeployment to Iraq.

I am proud of my decision to come to Canada. It is the first of my adult life which I can say that about. Looking back I would do it all over again. I believe it was the only correct choice I had at the time. I am proud I had the courage to follow my conscience.I am going to fight to protect the life I have started here in Canada. I love Canada and have found a certain peace in the mountains of the Kootenays that I have never before experienced in my life. I appreciate the support and understanding from all the Canadians I have met. Canada is my home and in these final days I intend to fight to maintain the legal right to remain here with the people that I love so much.I would appreciate anything that you can do to assist me in that endeavor.

Christopher John Teske
Former Specialist, US Army

Chris' friends and supporters are holding a pot-luck tonight, so they can be together when they get word that the deportation has been stayed. Local people have been very supportive, and Member of Parliament Alex Atamanenko (NDP, BC Southern Interior), a strong supporter of war resisters in Canada, has been speaking out on Chris' behalf.We'll be holding our breath all day. More later. Now please go write your letters!

6 comments:

wickedscholar said...

Is he gone yet? Be a man and go home Chris. You joined the military knowing that the Army generally frowns on desertion. Cheer up, 50 years ago you might have been executed. Now you'll just get a slap on the wrist, maybe a year in jail. At least you'll be able to visit the US at will (assuming you try to come back to Canada, but I doubt that you will once your legal issues are cleared up). You won't have to miss out on all of those important family events.

You're not a refugee - no way, no how. You're abusing Canada's immigration system and I think most Canadians are tired of it. Have you noticed that the media doesn't even report when one of you gets deported, and there is no outrage in the streets? That's because no one cares. We don't want you here.

Bogtrotter said...

Did Nazi soldiers "owe" their government service even if they changed their minds after service in a concentration camp? If not, why would soldiers of a criminal enterprise started by the US owe further service after experiencing disillusionment in Iraq? Polls show that a landslide majority of Canadians agree with the repeated votes of their parliament and not with the "conservative" executive of the country. Many Americans also agree, despite their sympathies for those whose conscience allows them to rationalize continued participation in that war.

Cornelia said...

Harper and Kenney are just accomplices of Bush, Cheney and Rummy and even continue to be after the latter were all sent packing. The majority of the Canadian population and majority of Parliament wants to let war resisters stay. A progressive coalition government would act on that. Hope Harper and Kenney will soon be sent packing, too!

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Unknown said...

I was in teskes unit. His story is BS. He rejoined the Army voluntarily. He even reclassed to become a signal soldier. This means he had next to no chance to face combat. We were in mannheim, Germany and were told we would be deploying to Iraq in about 9 months. Shortly after it was discovered that he had married his wife without ever divorcing his first wife. He was about to face heat for bigamy. That is when he ran away and came up with his BS sob story.

Unknown said...

I was in teskes unit. His story is BS. He rejoined the Army voluntarily. He even reclassed to become a signal soldier. This means he had next to no chance to face combat. We were in mannheim, Germany and were told we would be deploying to Iraq in about 9 months. Shortly after it was discovered that he had married his wife without ever divorcing his first wife. He was about to face heat for bigamy. That is when he ran away and came up with his BS sob story.