Troop Desertions Rise and Decline According to USA Today

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on March 8, 2006

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Directions

-Read the excerpt below from Jason Smith's post at newsbusters.org on March 7th.
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the question.

Bill Nichols writes an article in today’s USA Today with the headline: “8,000 desert during Iraq war

Then the author starts citing statistics about the number of soldiers deserting “since the Iraq war began” in an another bogus effort to show that troops disagree with the war and are fleeing in droves. Then the article cites the head of Citizen Soldier, an anti-war group that offers legal aid to deserters, and says:

Some lawyers who represent deserters say the war in Iraq is driving more soldiers to question their service…

Is the war in Iraq really driving more soldiers to question their service? Not if we look at the very statistics cited in this same article:

Since fall 2003, 4,387 Army soldiers, 3,454 Navy sailors and 82 Air Force personnel have deserted. The Marine Corps does not track the number of desertions each year but listed 1,455 Marines in desertion status last September, the end of fiscal 2005

That’s 9,296 desertions over 2+ years. But if you look at the stats for just 2001, a single year prior to the start of the Iraq war:

The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in 2001, compared with 3,456 in 2005. The Marine Corps showed 1,603 Marines in desertion status in 2001.

There were 9,581 deserters in 2001 alone… 2 years BEFORE the Iraq war began and then 2 years AFTER the start of the war, there were only 3,456.

So, once again, I’ve read a MSM article and finished with the thought… “Where’s the story?” …

For the complete posting, go to NewsBusters.org

Questions

Jason Smith asserts that USA Today wrongly implies that soldiers are deserting the U.S. military because of their opposition to the Iraq War.  What do you think about this USA Today news story?


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

Opinion question.  Answers vary.