The Court Martial of Capt Semrau, Part III: Memories

Back in 1998, I was called as a witness in a military Summary Trial. I had spent the summer as an instructor teaching Basic Training in Dundurn, Saskatchewan. Basic Training is only slightly less exhausting for the instructors than for the students. Even though I was young and at my peak physical condition, an understrength […]

The Lumpless Deserters

I’ve discussed the proposed amnesty for “war resisters” before, but the issue continues to drag on: A federal court has sent Jeremy Hinzman’s immigration application back for reconsideration. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s a bit disheartening to hear that our immigration system works so slowly. Back in 2004, Hinzman was the first of a trickle […]

The Court Martial of Capt Semrau, Part II: Small Mercies

The coverage story on a recent issue of Macleans takes an in-depth look at what is currently known about the circumstances surrounding the murder trial of Captain Semrau. It is an interesting read and includes a brief look at several similar cases in the United States, all of them seemingly motivated by a sincere sense […]

Deserting Soldiers

A few years ago, when I was working full-time in the Canadian Forces, I remember facilitating an all-ranks discussion about ethics. The audience was mainly comprised of Reservists, a young but serious and thoughtful group. Running out of time I proposed a final question: “is it ethical to kill people?” The first response came from […]