Canadian Forces veteran Dillon Hillier is asking for help in his fight against the Islamic State. He wants a pair of night vision goggles, and his brother Russell Hillier has turned to crowdfunding to make it happen.
Dillon Hillier, who served in Afghanistan as a member of Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, travelled to Iraq in November. There, he joined up with the Kurdish Peshmerga, who have been fighting ISIS in the region.
According to the fundraising campaign’s Indiegogo site, Dillon has already been involved in a battle against ISIS fighters. A video of the battle surfaced on a Facebook page run by the 1st North American Expeditionary Force, a group supporting volunteers with the Peshmerga, by placing them with units and offering advice.
The post, signed by “DH”, read in part, “I accomplished more good in those 20 hours than the previous 26 years of my life. I dragged a man who had been shot in the face to safety and patched him up, while many others stood around in shock. I am unsure if my actions saved his life but I truly hope so.”
“I find this story deeply troubling,” said Christian Leuprecht, associate professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University.
“Any support or glorification of these sorts of endeavours is not helpful. This does not advance Canadian interests. It does not advance our objectives in the region,” he said. And although he believes that Hillier is well-intentioned, he worries too about what would happen if the former soldier was injured or captured.
“It’s also very troubling in the sense that I find it a very selfish undertaking. Because it is you and I who are going to get stuck with having to float the bill if and when he gets injured,” he said.
“If he were to get captured, it puts the entire Canadian mission in jeopardy because now we would have ISIS probably going on international television saying that they are going to slit his throat unless the Canadians withdraw their bombing runs.”
Now, Hillier is looking for funds for equipment, notably night vision equipment. “It’s for a good cause,” he said in a video on the fundraising page. “These people really need our help, and anything you can give and spare is very much appreciated.”
Video: Dillon Hillier, from the Indiegogo campaign webpage
The campaign is seeking to raise $8,200 for the equipment. By Monday afternoon, on the day after it started, it had raised just under $3500 from 43 donors.
Leuprecht has a warning for those donors: “I think anybody who is looking to give to this particular cause should be aware that should this equipment end up in the hands of the PKK or any other illicit organization on the ground (…) any individual who supported this cause could be subject to prosecution for material support of terrorism under Canada’s anti-terrorism legislation.”
In other words, if the equipment were to be obtained by a terrorist organization, people who funded its purchase could be running afoul of Canadian law.
Leuprecht said that Canadians, if they wish to help, could instead join the Canadian Forces or contribute to humanitarian organizations.
“We simply can’t have Canadians going off and joining their own boutique military organization,” he said. “If we have people going off and taking up arms, that only perpetuates the violence on the ground.”
Dillon Hillier is the son of Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier, who said in a statement that he is proud of his son.
Video: Global National story on Dillon Hillier, November 21, 2014