The anger and bitterness of the Vietnam war era still hounts activists in the American exile communities of Sweden, France and Canada.
Deserters, draft evaders and other war resisters describe themselves as victims of an immoral war. They say they unjustly have been made to feel like criminals by the past three administrations in Washington.
President Carter's limited pardon of draft evaders is described as too little, too late and a sham. The exiles denounce it with the same hostile rhetoric they once reserved for the "war crimes" of the Johnson and Nixon Administrations and the Ford Administration's unsuccessful "earned pardon" program.
"It's a cheap pardon" because the Carter program doesn't include the estimated 100,000 deserters from the U.S. military, George Kazolias, a deserter now living in Paris, told a conference of war resisters here this past weekend.
President Carter, who has been severely citicized by veteran's groups for his pardon of about 10,000 draft evaders, has said the cases of deserters should be reviewed individually.
That was a political mistake, according to Kevin Vrieze, a draft evader who has been active with exile organizations in Toronto.
"The damage was already done politically for Carter" when he said during the election campaign he would pardon evaders. "Pelitieally he could have included the deserters," Vrieze said in an interview.
The pardon "has actually proved a lot less controversial than expected," the Rev. Barry Lynn of Falls Church, Va. said.
Lynn, a United Church of Christ clergyman and board member of the National Council for Universal Unconditional Amesty, the conference organizers, said the Veterans of Foreign Wars tried to get the list of names of those affected by the pardon and use it as a blacklist, but he told the group such action might result in a $1 million defamation suit.
Speakers at the conference here said that President Carter has, in effect, established two classes of war resisters - those who expressed their dissent by refusing induction and those deserters who came to the conclusion that the Vietnam war was wrong only after they were in the military.
The evaders are mestly white, middle-elass youths, many of whom were first exposed to the anit-war movement on college campuses before they were ordered to report for induction, while the deserters are frequently black, poor or otherwise disadvantaged.
Representatives of both groups said this distinction is artificial and that evaders adn deserters would remain united in their demand for universal unconditional amnesty.
They were joined by spokesmen for veterans who received less than honorable military discharges because of acts of resistance while in the service.
"The majority of those (with general or undesireable discharges) did not directly resist the war. They reacted spontaneously to the oppression and racism of the military and were quietly shuttled out of the military," said Gerry Condon, a former Green Beret who deserted when he was ordered to Vietnam.
Condon, who lived as an exile for six years in Canada and Sweden, returned to the United States to confront the military charges against him. The army eventually dropped the charges and he was issued a bad conduct discharge.
The amnesty question means the Vietnam war remakes as a divisive, emotional issue in American politics. While the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars condemn the new administration for letting draft evaders off lightly, deserters, evaders and other war resisters, particularly those living in exile, say Presesident Carter has done little to heal the wounds.
The conference issued a call for draft evaders, "using their new mobility" to return to the United States and work with other amnesty supporters to "ocntinue to fight for universal, unconditional amnesty fro all categories or war resisters and victims" and to have less than honorable discharges upgraded.
"I think it's time to get the Vietnam war over with," candidate Carter told Washington Post editiors last March. "I don't have the desire to punish anyone. I'd just like to tell the young folks who did defect to come home."
Minugh, 30, feels he never really defected. He like many other exiles, feels his private war is not ever yet.
"I want to remain an American. I can't give up my U.S. citizenship," Minugh said. But as an Army deserter he cannot go home.
"I really believe in things like the Declaration of Independence. Those kinds of feelings were the things that led me to resist," he said.
Minugh, a Long Island, N.Y. native, was doing postgraduate studies in West Germany in 1969 when he received his inductin notice. While there he learded "about the tremendous guilt a lot of people had about what happened in World War II."
It was then he began to form his ideas about just and unjust wars and defensive and aggressive wars.
He returned to the United States for induction, and after basic training he was sent to a Vietmanese language training course. By talking with teh native Vietnamese instructors, he began to realize they did not support U.S. involvement in their country.
Minugh believes he was headed for a posting as an Army intelligence interrogator in Vietnam when he deserted.
Like many exiles who have lived abroad for so long - some as long as a decade - minugh has put down new roots, Uppsala, Sweden is now home. He has married a Swedish girl and he teaches English as the University of Stockholm.
Minugh said his faculty for languages has made the adjustment to a new country easier for him, but while in Toronto this weekend "I was overjoyed to walk around in a city and hear English spoken on the street."