April 9, 2007
In Sign of Desperation, Desertion Rate Plummets!
The New York Times reports that the American military has been "cracking down" on deserters ever since 2002, which they conclude is a sign of desperation:
The increased prosecutions are meant to serve as a deterrent to a growing number of soldiers who are ambivalent about heading -- or heading back -- to Iraq and may be looking for a way out, several Army lawyers said in interviews. Using courts-martial for these violations, which before 2002 were treated mostly as unpunished nuisances, is a sign that active-duty forces are being stretched to their limits, military lawyers and mental health experts said.
“They are scraping to get people to go back, and people are worn out,” said Dr. Thomas Grieger, a senior Navy psychiatrist. Though there are no current studies to show how combat stress affects desertion rates, Dr. Grieger cited several examples of soldiers absconding or refusing to return to Iraq because of psychiatric reasons brought on by wartime deployments.
At an Army base in Alaska last year, for example, “there was one guy who literally chopped off his trigger finger with an axe to prevent his deployment,” Dr. Grieger said in an interview.
Another sad example of how the criminal Bush regime has broken our military, all just to put more billions of dollars into Dick "Haliburton" Cheney's pocket... oh, wait; there is also this next paragraph:
The Army prosecuted desertion far less often in the late 1990s, when desertions were more frequent, than it does now, when there are comparatively fewer.
"Oh! That's very different. Never mind."
So how much has the desertion rate dropped since 9/11? The Times doesn't want to tell -- it doesn't quite fit the Story -- but there are other sources, such as UPI, back in March of 2006:
Desertions from the all-volunteer U.S. military have dropped to half the number faced at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, a report said.
The 2005 desertion rate was 0.24 percent of the 1.4 million members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines. In 2001 there were just over 9,500 desertions from all services, while last year there were just over 4,900....
Vietnam-era desertions were far higher. In 1971, the U.S. Army had more than 33,000 desertions, a desertion rate of 3.4 percent.
Thus, the desertion rate today is about half what it was during the Clinton presidency, and just 7% of what it was during Vietnam. Clearly, "active-duty forces are being stretched to their limits," our soldiers and Marines are "worn out," and we're "scraping to get people to go back." Why, they're even too demoralized to make a nuisance of themselves by deserting!
The Army enunciated a clever bit of handwaving to explain why they might be more willing to prosecute desertion today than in the 1990s:
“The nation is at war, and the Army treats the offense of desertion more seriously,” Maj. Anne D. Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman, said.
Pish tosh! What an obviously concocted rationalization. Why should desertion be treated as something more serious than an "unpunished nuisance," merely because we're in an existential fight against global jihadism?
We may as well let the sociologists have the last word. They will anyway, you know; try and stop them!
Morten G. Ender, a sociologist at the United States Military Academy at West Point, said soldiers’ decisions to go AWOL or desert might come in response to a family crisis -- a threat by a spouse to leave if they deploy again, for instance, or a child-custody battle.
“It’s not just that they don’t want to be in a war zone anymore,” Dr. Ender said. “We saw that a lot during Vietnam, and we see that a lot in the military now.”
Trust the New York Times to focus on the nuances of desertion during time of war.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 9, 2007, at the time of 2:40 PM
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The following hissed in response by: Steelhand
Another reason for the far lower desertion rates now vs. Vietnam era: all volunteer army. It's not rocket science that if you sign up, you're more committed than if you are there on demand.
But the lower than 2001 rates are more interesting. There was much made of the post-9/11 patriotic rush to enlist. One would expect that, as these young men and women came to the end of their commitment, and saw the futility and cynicism of Bushitler's war, they would bail as fast as possible, or run away before they got sent there.
But, not only are they not running away, they are also re-enlisting at above projected rates. Could it be that they believe in what they are doing? Are they morally equipped with such quaint notions as duty and honor and self-sacrifice?
These young men and women are the backbone of our country. It's a shame so many of our citizens are unworthy of their sacrifice.
The following hissed in response by: Fritz
Sigh, its so predictable. When there isn't any other sufficiently bad news to report, the media once again drags out military desertions. Just over two years ago it was USA Today doing it, now the Times. And once again there is little to report, but much editorializing in the story. Goebbels would be so proud of the Times. However I must admit to being surprised that it took the Times two years to discover what USA Today had reported.
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