The ongoing strain of constant deployments, re-deployments takes a toll on many brave members of the military. All told, there were 4,698 soldiers who were classified as deserters, a 42.3 percent increase over the previous year when 4,399 deserted. In a rather surprising aspect of the desertion rate, about 63.6% of this year’s desertions occurred from April through September. Marine desertions rates fell but it is the United States Army which has borne the greatest burden in fighting the Iraq war. Soldiers must spend a fifteen month tour in Iraq, return home for 12 months, and then are sent back for an additional 15 months. Lawrence Korb, a former member of the Pentagon during the Reagan administration notes, “It’s a combination of not enough dwell time, and having to go back to the war as well as the type of people you’re taking in.” In an effort to boost recruiting, the Army has given waivers to 11.6 percent of new recruits.
War is not pretty and war creates tensions ordinary humans do not like to confront. There have been desertions in all wars and as long as people fight one another, some will opt out of the conflict. There is o question the strain of returning over and over is simply too much for many members of the military, particularly those with families who have been compelled to witness their civilian careers get torn to pieces.