Army Desertion at Highest Rate in Over 25 Years

News & Politics
This post, written by Pam Spaulding, originally appeared on Pam's House Blend

There are four ways someone can leave the Army prior to the end of a first-term contract:

* they cannot meet physical fitness requirements (that threshold has been lowered, considering who they are recruiting these days)

* they are found to be "unable to adapt" to life in the military (lord, what on earth qualifies as that -- being exposed to IEDs on a daily basis -- how does anyone adapt to that?)

* they declare they are a homo and DADT is invoked.

* they go AWOL.

According to the Army, more than 18 percent of the soldiers in their first six months of service left under one of the above four provisions. The peak of desertion rates was during Vietnam, but the numbers these days, while Dear Leader's Big Endless Military Adventures go on, are still staggering. (AP):
Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.
While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War, when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past four years and a 42 percent jump since last year.
...The increase comes as the Army continues to bear the brunt of the war demands with many soldiers serving 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.
The Army spokesperson said more than 75 percent of deserters are male soldiers in their first term of enlistment, but didn't know whether the numbers reflected those signing up for a short or long tour of duty (two to six years).

Also, the Pentagon isn't punishing most deserters -- they need the warm bodies.

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