AirForceTimes.com, Thousands of troops say they won’t fight,
Since 2000, about 40,000 troops from all branches of the military have deserted, the Pentagon says. More than half served in the Army. But the Army says numbers have decreased each year since the United States began its war on terror in Afghanistan.
Desertion these days is not usually about the war,
The vast majority of soldiers who desert do so for personal, family or financial problems, not for political or conscientious objector purposes,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for the Army.
In fact, the numbers deserting for political reasons are very low compared to the Vietnam era.
Jeffry House, an attorney in Toronto who represents Magaoay and other deserters, said there are about 200 deserters living in Canada. They have decided not to seek refugee status but instead are leading clandestine lives, he said.
Like many of the people helping today’s war resisters, House fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War. About 50,000 Americans sought legal residency in Canada during the Vietnam era.
Of course, people in the military signed up voluntarily, so deserting is very different from the VietNam days. More on this later.
Is it treason?
Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said deserters aren’t traitors because they’ve done nothing to help America’s enemies. But he rejects arguments that deserters have a moral right to refuse to fight wars they consider unjust.
“None of us can choose our wars. They’re always a political decision,” Davis said. “They’re letting their buddies down and hurting morale – and morale is everything on the battlefront.”