Their Just Deserts

Turns out the US Army has been fudging the desertion numbers, erroneously reporting far few desertions since Chimpy’s Vanity War began three years ago.

A total of 3,196 active-duty soldiers deserted the Army last year, or 853 more than previously reported, according to revised figures from the Army.

The new calculations by the Army, which had about 500,000 active-duty troops at the end of 2006, significantly alter the annual desertion totals since the 2000 fiscal year.

In 2005, for example, the Army now says 2,543 soldiers deserted, not the 2,011 it had reported. For some earlier years, the desertion numbers were revised downward.

National Public Radio first reported on Tuesday that the Army had been inaccurately reporting desertion figures.

[snip]

The new figures also show a faster acceleration in the rate of desertions over the previous two fiscal years than announced. In 2006, for instance, desertions rose by 27 percent, not 17 percent, as the Army had previously reported, a spokesman said.

The revised figures show 2,543 desertions in the fiscal year 2005, an 8 percent increase from the 2,357 the year before. Previously, the service said 2005 desertions dropped by 17 percent, to 2,011 from 2,432.

But from the fiscal year 2000 through 2003, there were hundreds fewer desertions than the Army had previously reported. The Army’s revised data, while reflecting significant errors in year-to-year desertions, showed a total of 22,468 desertions since the fiscal year 2000, nearly the same as the old count of 22,586.

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