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March 18, 2005
NYT Gets Hysterical About "Un-Volunteering"

It's difficult to fathom what constitutes news to the New York Times. For instance, the head of a major American news network makes repeated and unsubstantiated allegations of American servicemen assassinating and torturing journalists, and the Paper of Record doesn't bother to report it until two weeks later, hours before the executive resigns in disgrace. However, when a handful of American servicemen attempt to evade the service for which they volunteered, they splash that all over the paper:

One by one, a trickle of soldiers and marines - some just back from duty in Iraq, others facing a trip there soon - are seeking ways out.

Soldiers, their advocates and lawyers who specialize in military law say they have watched a few service members try ever more unlikely and desperate routes: taking drugs in the hope that they will be kept home after positive urine tests, for example; or seeking psychological or medical reasons to be declared nondeployable, including last-minute pregnancies. Specialist Marquise J. Roberts is accused of asking a relative in Philadelphia to shoot him in the leg so he would not have to return to war.

And when the Times says "a few", they're not kidding. They come up with three or four examples of servicement who applied for conscientious-objector status, including one who claimed that he deserved it because war not only went against his religion, but that he has an open marriage and is actively bisexual. I'd love to attend services at that church. The Times uses a photograph of one recently-released soldier, but pictured him behind a chain-link fence despite his current status in order to emphasize the prison-like culture that they want to cast onto military service.

The military in the United States has been volunteer for thirty years now. People who sign up for this duty understand exactly what the military does and what they will be called to do if deployed to battle. Almost without exception, these men and women fulfill their duty honorably and courageously. There have always been exceptions, those who sign up for the money and bug out when actually called to perform the job they volunteered to do. Those people do not deserve our sympathy; they have left their comrades high and dry, the people in their units who depended on them to do the specific tasks for which they were trained.

Besides, at the end of the article, the Times makes clear that this phenomenon hardly even rates as a blip. In 2002, 31 CO status applications were received. In 2003, that number went to 92, and last year it dropped to 75. This is the emergency on which the Times spends at least 2,000 words reporting? It's a damned good thing the Exempt Media has all those editors acting as checks on the reporting process.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 18, 2005 7:58 AM

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