Little Effort Made to Find Deserters
By ESTES THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer
7:02 PM PDT, June 28, 2007
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- There is no crack team of bounty hunters, no elite military unit whose job is to track them down and bring them in.
Despite a rise in desertions from the Army as the Iraq war drags on into a fifth year, the U.S. military does almost nothing to find those who flee and rarely prosecutes those it gets its hands on.
However, our paper illustrates the power of a headline. They ran the exact same story but with the following headline: Military desertions rising.
If you read the story, you see that it says no such thing. In fact, desertions in the military since 2001 have decreased from 9,264 in 2001 to 5,473 in 2006. What has happened is that the number of desertions in Army have risin. They account for 60 percent of all military desertions. That's the story; that, and the fact that few desertion cases are ever tried.
The reason that these cases aren't tried is simple -- it costs too much money to hunt deserters down and court martial them. It's easier to let them be caught through their own actions and simply chapter them out of the service, or, in many cases, allow them to come back into the service at a reduced rank.
What's particularly funny about our paper's story is not only the fact that the story and headline don't match, but that they ran a graph with the story that bluntly shows the lie of the headline.
Who watches the watchmen, eh?