The NY Times: Army Revises Upward Number of Desertions in ’06

True, but even more accurate is Scrappleface: Army Desertions Rise to Near All-Time Average

Many seem to be trying to make the case that unhappiness over the campaign in Iraq is behind the desertion numbers, but the fact that desertions are down since the invasion just plain doesn’t support that idea.

Then there’s this:

My installation serves as one of two main collection centers for AWOL returnees and deserters. What this means is that if you go AWOL and are dropped from the rolls as a deserter, you eventually will come to my installation when you’re returned to military control. On top of that, I am the trial counsel for that portion of the installation, so I get to advise the command on what to do with these returnees.

That VAST majority of these people aren’t grizzled veterans coming off their second or third deployments. They are not combat veterans who, because of BushHitlerHalliburtonCo’s ™ incompetence just can’t handle the strain anymore. Quite the contrary, the majority of deserters are kids that enlisted within the past 2 years, have just recently completed basic training and AIT, and have only been with their units for a short time.

Most have not deployed. When they are returned to military control, they routinely give reasons for their AWOL as being “my mom got sick” or “my wife had problems with the kids.” The horrors of war are conspicuously absent from the personal statements or enlisted record briefs (ERBs) of these returnees.

So, to recap, desertions are down since the invasion and those that are deserting are very often not those who have had many (or even any) deployments to the combat zones.