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    Telegraph | News | Military desertions triple since invasion of Iraq

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    ****
    Military desertions triple since invasion of Iraq
    By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
    (Filed: 29/05/2006)

    The number of servicemen deserting has tripled since the invasion of Iraq, raising fears of a growing refusal to serve on dangerous missions abroad.

    More than 900 troops have gone permanently "absent without leave" (Awol) since the start of 2003, and the number leaving is rising.

    The figures were disclosed after a Commons debate over a law that would mean military personnel refusing to take part in a foreign occupation could face
    life jail sentences.

    Figures from the Ministry of Defence show that the number of permanent Awols has risen from 118 in 2002 - the year before the invasion - to 377 last year.
    So far this year, 189 troops have not reported back for duty, although the MoD says that some of these cases have yet to be resolved. Morale is low among
    troops, many of whom are said to feel that they are not making a substantial difference to Iraq's reconstruction while still being targets for insurgents.

    Justin Hugheston-Roberts, a solicitor who represented Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, who was sentenced to eight months in jail for refusing to serve in Iraq,
    said: "We are seeing an increase in the numbers who have absented themselves from service who come to us for advice. We do what we can to defend them."

    Ben Griffin, an SAS trooper who left the Army after witnessing "illegal acts" by American troops, said: "I can't speak for others, but there's a lot of
    dissent in the Army about the legality of the war and concerns that they're spending too much time there." Hundreds of US servicemen have also deserted.

    The MoD does not record reasons for people absconding. But one reason is thought to concern troops faced with a second or third tour to Iraq and under pressure
    families fearing for their safety.

    About 2,800 people go Awol each year, but most return to their units.

    The MoD said the numbers who remained Awol had gone "slightly up" year on year since the Iraq invasion.

    "We have found that the main reason for troops going Awol is for domestic reasons rather than our operational commitments overseas," said an MoD spokesman.
    "A vast majority of the absentees return to their unit after a few weeks away and are usually disciplined with a fine or other minor punishment. "

    Hundreds apply to leave the Armed Forces each year before their contracted time is up under a system called "premature voluntary withdrawal". But this can
    take six to 12 months, and some leave early without permission.

    Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, called the figures "astonishing". He said: "It shows how much pressure the armed forces are under with
    dangerous missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, often undertaken with inadequate resources."
    British and Iraqi forces have seized their largest haul of bomb-making equipment and weapons during efforts to improve security around Basra. Several suspected
    insurgents were arrested during the weekend raid.

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    Re: Telegraph | News | Military desertions triple since invasion of Iraq

    thanks for the post

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    Re: Telegraph | News | Military desertions triple since invasion of Iraq

    Sallaams
    Thanks for showing your appreciation.
    It shows that some people do appreciate when we share what we find to be interesting.
    Sallaams and have a lovely day further.


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