Rodney Watson was given sanctuary at First United Church on Sept. 18, days after his refugee claim was rejected, it was learned Monday. Watson, 31, fears he will be sent to prison and separated from his fiancée and infant son if he is forced to return to the U.S. Watson joined the U.S. army in 2004 and spent a year in Iraq. He later came to Canada after learning he'd have to go back to Iraq for one more year. He said he deserted because of the racial hatred he witnessed against the Iraqis during his first tour of duty. "I love my family. I love my country," Watson told a Vancouver news conference at the church in East Vancouver. "But I don't love the fact that we're over there fighting a war that is unjust and has no way or no means to protect the U.S. population," said Watson.CBC News - British Columbia - War resister takes refuge in Vancouver church. Soldiers refuse to serve for all sorts of reasons. A few have left the Army because of intense harassment from fellow soldiers because they are gay, lesbian, or transgendered. Under the still "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy they can be kicked out of the military. But they probably won't be due to the ongoing wars. Instead, they often face verbal and even physical violence that has led to more than one death. I'm not sure what George W.'s reasons were when he didn't show up for duty for months on end. Perhaps for being too privileged? But most of the soldiers I've encountered joined the military because they love their country and wanted to do what was right. They also joined to get a college degree and a better life down the road. What they encountered in Iraq (and for some reason they had all served in Iraq) was racism against the Iraqi people, religious bigotry, and even racism and religious bigotry within the military itself. They also encountered the truth that America had been "misled" (lied to) about the reasons for being in Iraq. And finally, they encountered the awful truth that they could be sent back indefinitely, that making it through one or even two tours of duty did not guarantee them freedom. And so they left- their families,, their lives, their country behind.