RickWilmes

Army Desertions on the Rise

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It still remains to be seen how successful the surge in Iraq has been. The following article provides one more example on how the "Battle of Iraq" in the "Long War Against Terrorism" is having a negative impact on our military.

US Army desertion rates rise 80 percent since 2003 Iraq invasion; highest rate since 1980

According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscal year 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared with nearly seven per 1,000 a year earlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared with 3,301 last year.

The Army has had to bear the brunt of the war demands as many soldiers served repeated, lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military leaders — including Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey — have acknowledged that the Army has been stretched nearly to the breaking point by the combat. Efforts are under way to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps to lessen the burden and give troops more time off between deployments.

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It still remains to be seen how successful the surge in Iraq has been. The following article provides one more example on how the "Battle of Iraq" in the "Long War Against Terrorism" is having a negative impact on our military.

Perhaps some context? What is the historical desertion rate for American armies during time of war, and how does this compare?

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It still remains to be seen how successful the surge in Iraq has been. The following article provides one more example on how the "Battle of Iraq" in the "Long War Against Terrorism" is having a negative impact on our military.

Perhaps some context? What is the historical desertion rate for American armies during time of war, and how does this compare?

According to this article at "The American Thinker":

November 18, 2007

Military Desertion Rates and the Associated Press

By Alan Fraser

[...]

According to author Rod Powers (who spent 23 years in the Air Force), the desertion rates per 1,000 for the Army and Marines from 1997 through 2004 are as follows:

ARMY

1997 2,218 : 4.58 per 1,000

1998 2,520 : 5.20 per 1,000

1999 2,966 : 6.13 per 1,000

2000 3,949 : 8.16 per 1,000

2001 4,597 : 9.50 per 1,000

2002 4,483 : 9.26 per 1,000

2003 3,678 : 7.60 per 1,000

2004 2,376 : 4.91 per 1,000

Marine Corps

1997 1,375 : 7.94 per 1,000

1998 1,460 : 8.43 per 1,000

1999 1,689 : 9.75 per 1,000

2000 2,019 : 11.66 per 1,000

2001 1,310 : 7.57 per 1,000

2002 1,136 : 6.56 per 1,000

2003 1,236 : 7.14 per 1,000

2004 1,297 : 7.49 per 1,000

Look at the above rates of Army desertion in the years just prior to the Iraq war. Years 2000, 2001, and 2002 (8.16, 9.5, 9.26) show higher rates than we have had during this terrible quagmire of an Iraq war, with its multiple tours of duty.

Why doesn't AP correspondent Lolita C. Baldur discuss that?

Powers states that in the fiscal year the Iraq war began (the invasion was March 2003) the desertion rate was 7.6 per 1,000, the same as 2006, a terrible year for the U.S. in Iraq. The AP article seems to be confused as to fiscal years. According to Powers, the desertion rate was quite low, 4.91, for fiscal year 2004 (from October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004), not fiscal 2003 as stated in the AP article.

A rate of less that 5 per 1,000 eight months after the start of the Iraq War? This is a rate that was much lower than the rate prior to the begininng of the Iraq War.

The AP article also does a poor job of putting these desertion rates in historical context. It was just a year and a half ago that another news organization was exclaiming how historically low the desertion rates were then: "U.S. Military Desertion Rate Drops"

With about 15 minutes of internet research, even a non-journalist can put the Iraq War desertion rates in context. What was the desertion rate during World War II?

"Desertion during World War II was no less a problem than in previous wars. Desertion rates peaked at 6.3% [that's 63 per 1,000] in 1944, but dropped to 4.5% [45 per 1,000] the following year. During the war, 21,049 soldiers were sentenced for desertion..." Desertion And the American Soldier: 1776-2006, Robert Fantina, Page 116.

That was "The Greatest Generation"! So how great is today's generation of soldiers who have a desertion rate of 1/10th the rate of The Greatest?

Of all the guys who served during World War II, over two thirds of them were drafted. What percent of today's soldiers are draftees?

How do the desertion rates of today's soldiers compare to the rates during the Vietnam War? The article discusses it a bit but here is more: in 1966 the rate was 14.7 per 1,000; by 1970 the Army had a rate of 52.3 per 1,000. [Vietnam and America: A Documented History , Marvin E. Gettleman page 334.] The Vietnam rates are all lower than the rate of the Greatest Generation. The desertion rate for the Korean War was 22.5 per 1,000. [ibid, Page 334.]

[...]

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"Desertion during World War II was no less a problem than in previous wars. Desertion rates peaked at 6.3% [that's 63 per 1,000] in 1944, but dropped to 4.5% [45 per 1,000] the following year. During the war, 21,049 soldiers were sentenced for desertion..." Desertion And the American Soldier: 1776-2006, Robert Fantina, Page 116.

That was "The Greatest Generation"! So how great is today's generation of soldiers who have a desertion rate of 1/10th the rate of The Greatest?

Of all the guys who served during World War II, over two thirds of them were drafted. What percent of today's soldiers are draftees?

How do the desertion rates of today's soldiers compare to the rates during the Vietnam War? The article discusses it a bit but here is more: in 1966 the rate was 14.7 per 1,000; by 1970 the Army had a rate of 52.3 per 1,000. [Vietnam and America: A Documented History , Marvin E. Gettleman page 334.] The Vietnam rates are all lower than the rate of the Greatest Generation. The desertion rate for the Korean War was 22.5 per 1,000. [ibid, Page 334.][...]

That's an excellent concrete example showing the evil of the draft. I would personally argue on ethical grounds that a drafted man is *not* deserting if he goes AWOL. Nobody and no society owns any individual's life.

I would say that it still doesn't excuse the relentless grind being imposed on volunteer soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of Washington's desire to not be "too mean" towards our enemies.

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