Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics/AWOL/Desertion
The following are articles related to American soldiers who are considered to be AWOL or to have deserted in order to avoid the war in Iraq.
Making it official
A federal warrant, which remains valid for forty years, "is issued the moment a soldier crosses the line between absent without leave and desertion. A soldier who does not show up for duty is classified as AWOL for 30 days. After that, he or she becomes an official deserter. During a time of war, the 30-day grace period disappears."—Army Lt. Col. Susan Danielsen at Fort Bragg, NC, November 2003.
Going AWOL in Canada
The external links for this article were primarily posted in 2003 at a time when it was believed that the length of the war in Iraq would be brief. Unfortunately, the links have not been kept up-to-date.
That said, Gregory Levey reported May 3, 2007, in Salon that "[w]ith the Iraq war in its fifth year, an increasing number of American soldiers have been going AWOL and fleeing to Canada, particularly over the last six months. One lawyer who works on their behalf puts the number of American war resisters currently living in Canada at 250 or more. Advocates for them here talk of a kind of 'underground railroad' that has developed south of the border to help war resisters make their way north."
- US Occupation of Iraq: Depression, Suicide & Chaos by ConspiracyPlanet.
- Dave Muniz, "Ex-Army Boss: Pentagon Won't Admit Reality in Iraq," USA Today, June 3, 2003: Former Army secretary Thomas White "said Monday it is time for the Pentagon to admit that the military is in for a long occupation of Iraq that will require a major commitment of American troops. ... [and] that senior Defense officials 'are unwilling to come to grips' with the scale of the postwar U.S. obligation in Iraq. The Pentagon has about 150,000 troops in Iraq and recently announced that the Army's 3rd Infantry Division's stay there has been extended indefinitely."
- Daniel Williams and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "U.S. Troops Frustrated With Role In Iraq. Soldiers Say They Are Ill-Equipped For Peacekeeping," Washington Post, June 20, 2003.
- Edmund L. Andrews, "Once Hailed, Soldiers in Iraq Now Feel Blame at Each Step," New York Times, June 28, 2003.
- Ann Scott Tyson, "Troop Morale in Iraq Hits 'Rock Bottom'. Soldiers stress is a key concern as the Army ponders whether to send more forces," Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2003.
- Robert F. Worth, "Extension of Stay in Iraq Takes Toll on Morale of G.I.'s," New York Times, July 19, 2003: "Earlier this week ... soldiers in the Army's Third Infantry Division learned that their tour of duty in Iraq had been extended indefinitely. ... For the division, which engaged in some of the war's heaviest fighting when its tanks rolled into Baghdad in April, the news was almost too bitter to believe. Originally scheduled to be home by early June, they have been in the Persian Gulf region continuously since November and have had their return deferred three times."
- "US army deserters on rise in Iraq", Utah Indymedia, September 23, 2003. (Unsubstantiated story). Source: Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
- Leonard Greene, "AWOL State of Mind: Calls From Soldiers Desperate to Leave Iraq Flood Hotline," Objector.org, October 5, 2003; New York Post, October 6, 2003: "The GI Rights Hotline, a national soldiers' support service, has logged a 75 percent increase in calls in the last 12 weeks, with more than 100 of those calls from soldiers, or people on their behalf, asking about the penalties associated with going AWOL - 'absent without leave' - according to volunteers and staffers who man the service."
- Rohan Pearce, "IRAQ: First US soldiers go AWOL," greenleft.org, October 21, 2003: "At a Pentagon briefing on October 21, in response to a question about soldiers who had missed their flights back to Iraq, General Peter Pace, vice-chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told journalists that 'there are in fact some soldiers who did not return when we thought they were going to return', but 'the vast majority of those have already been tracked back to guys who missed planes, missed connections'. ... According to the October 5 New York Post, however, an affidavit submitted to a recent court martial for a soldier charged with desertion put the number of troops who have gone AWOL ('absent without leave') at more than 50."
- "US soldiers go Awol", news24.com, October 21, 2003: "At least 28 soldiers have failed to report for flights back to Iraq after two weeks of leave in the United States or to call ahead with an explanation, US military spokespeople said on Tuesday."
- "US Soldiers Fail to Report for Flights Back to Iraq", Agence France Presse (Common Dreams), October 21, 2003.
- Leonard Greene, "US Soldier AWOL Hotline Traffic Up Seventy-five Percent. AWOL State of Mind: Calls From Soldiers Desperate To Leave Iraq Flood Hotline," New York Post, October 25, 2003.
- Holly Hickman, "Fort Bragg: Deserters on increase, but will get caught," Wilmington Star, November 25, 2003: "Between September 2002 and September 2003, Fort Bragg listed 235 total reports of AWOL and desertion, up from 107 dating back to September 2001. Danielsen said 133 deserters and AWOL soldiers turned themselves in this year versus 73 the previous year. And 100 were apprehended this year compared to 43 the previous year."
- "AWOL: 1,700 U.S. Soldiers Quit Iraq," NEFAC, December 4, 2003.
- Justin Raimondo, "GOING AWOL. As the Iraq war escalates, so does the desertion rate: now reservists are rebelling. Can the draft be far behind?" Antiwar.com, December 5, 2003.
- Kirsetn Schamberg, "Iraq war objector surrenders with fanfare," Chicago Tribune (Yahoo! News), March 16, 2004: An "...estimated 600 soldiers who have gone AWOL to avoid service in Iraq."
- "AWOL From Iraq. Exclusive: Soldier Says War Is Morally Wrong; His Commanding Officer Responds," CBS News, March 31, 2004.
- "Deserters: We Won't Go To Iraq. U.S. Soldiers Seeking Refuge In Canada May Face Serious Penalties," CBS News, December 8, 2004.
- Andrew Buncombe, "Desertion huge problem for US in Iraq war," New Zealand Herald, May 23, 2005.
- "Going AWOL," PBS Online NewsHour, May 25, 2005: "Identifying themselves as "conscientious objectors," some American soldiers are forgoing a second tour of duty on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan because of personal or moral reasons."
- Patrick Cockburn, "5,000 US Troops Have Gone AWOL. Getting Out of Iraq...One Way or Another," CounterPunch, July 30/31, 2005.
- Severin Carrell, "Soldiers going Awol have trebled since the invasion of Iraq," The Independent (UK), March 19, 2006.
- "One thousand UK troops AWOL in Iraq," Daily Mail (UK), May 29, 2006.
- Tim Moynihan, "1,100 go AWOL since Iraq war," The Scotsman, May 29, 2006.
- Peter Laufer, "When AWOL Is the Only Way Out," AlterNet, June 2, 2006.
- Andrew Gumbel, "Walking Away from War. Increasing numbers of soldiers are refusing to serve in Iraq, but conscientious objectors face obstacles tougher than the battlefield," LA City Beat, October 5, 2006.
- Mary Ambrose, "AWOL Soldiers Get Cold Shoulder from Canada," New America Media (AlterNet), January 5, 2007.
- Mary Wiltenburg, "Going AWOL vs. Going to Iraq," Der Spiegel (AlterNet, March 26, 2007.
- Ian Herbert, "British soldiers 'go Awol because Army ignores mental health problems'," The Independent (UK), March 26, 2007.
- "Army fails 'traumatised' soldiers. Soldiers are going absent without leave (AWOL) because the army cannot cope with those suffering combat stress," BBC News, March 27, 2007.
- Sarah Olson, "Another Soldier Goes AWOL Rather Than Deploy to Iraq," Antiwar.com, April 20, 2007.
- Gregory Levey, "Northern exposure. American soldiers are fleeing the Iraq war for Canada -- and U.S. officials may be on their trail. North of the border is no longer the safe haven it was during the Vietnam era," Salon, May 3, 2007.