AWOL Soldier Who Fled to Canada Surrenders, Says He Sinned By Fighting in Iraq

An Army soldier who fled to Canada rather than redeploy to Iraq surrendered Tuesday to military officials after asking for leniency.

Spc. Darrell Anderson, 24, said he deserted the Army last year because he could no longer fight in what he believes is an illegal war.

"I feel that by resisting I made up for the things I did in Iraq," Anderson said during a press briefing shortly before he turned himself in at nearby Fort Knox. "I feel I made up for the sins I committed in this war."

Anderson, of Lexington, Kentucky, returned to the United States from Canada on Saturday and technically could face a charge of desertion.

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But his attorney, Jim Sennerty, said Anderson will be interviewed by military investigators, given a uniform and assigned to a barracks while his case is processed. In three to five days, he will be given a discharge of other than honorable. At that point, he should be free from his military commitment and face no other charges, Sennerty said.

"He's not a criminal," Sennerty said.

Fort Knox public affairs officer Connie Schaffery has said officers had been in touch with Anderson but she could not say what would happen until after he surrendered.

Anderson joined the Army in January 2003 and went to Iraq a year later with the 1st Armored Division. He was wounded and received a Purple Heart in 2004.

He fled to Canada in early 2005 after receiving orders to return for a second tour of duty in Iraq, becoming a highly visible war critic and spokesman for Canadian peace groups.

Anderson's mother, Anita Dennis, said the military failed in its responsibility to take care of her son after he returned from war.

"They treated his physical wounds, but they left his emotional wounds untreated," Dennis said through tears. Anderson said he suffered from nightmares and was unable to get the treatment he needed by the time he was ordered to redeploy.

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