Sunday, January 01, 2006

AP Reporting Increased Conscientious Objectors in Army

The AP's Martha Mendoza has an article out titled Some Soldiers Trying to Get Out of Army The headline editor I think did a much better job on this piece than the author as you will see if you read the article.

The body of the article appears to attempt to present a case for a movement of "conscientious objectors" within the Army who are refusing to return to Iraq. Mendoza tells the story of six soldiers who fit into this status and sets the article up with this statement:

Increasing numbers of men and women in uniform are seeking honorable discharges as conscientious objectors. Others are suing the military, claiming their obligation has been wrongfully extended. Many have simply deserted, refusing to appear for duty.

The stats however that Mendoza uses in her own article show nothing dramatic or what I would say to be even a minimum trend:

Requests for conscientious objector status, which can qualify someone for an honorable discharge, have steadily increased since 2000 - about 110 soldiers filed the complex paperwork in 2004, about four times the number in 2000. Of those, about half were approved. Those who were rejected either went back to the war or refused to serve. Some are now on the lam. Others have been court-martialed and done time.

So the number filing such requests went from 28 in 2000 to 110 in 2004, and that is a "steady increase" and merits an article that clearly is attempting to paint the picture that such requests are reflective of great sentiment of "disillusion" within the general population of the Army? That is more than a weak statistic for Mendoza to make the center piece of such an article. I'd say it reflects just the opposite of the argument Mendoza is attempting to put forth.

Given that this is the first war in 35 years that our troops have faced the level of dangerous and violent combat that has been present in Iraq, I think the number seems impressively low. Considering that the current Army troop levels are at 120,000 that would mean that statistically the number of Army soldiers filing for conscientious objector status has gone from 0.02% in 2000 to 0.09% in 2004. For the level to reach 1%, the total filing would have to register 1,200. Even if it were at 1% I'd say that still seems like a very low percentage. Given the factors in play, I say that an increase of 82 filings over four years is more of a positive trend than a negative one.

The American military men and woman are winning the war in Iraq, even with the MSM trying at every turn to report only the negative aspects, and in some cases like this trying to invent a negative story.........................................