She got off lightly

From NBC News:

Army deserter who fled to Canada sentenced to 10 months in prison

Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera speaks at a press conference in Toronto in August. Rivera, who is pregnant with her fifth child, returned to to the U.S. in September and on Tuesday was sentenced to 10 months in prison for desertion. (Vincent Elkaim / AP via The Canadian Press)

By Keith Coffman, ReutersDENVER — An Army private believed to be the first female U.S. soldier to seek refuge in Canada rather than return to duty in Iraq was sentenced to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to desertion, military officials in Colorado said on Tuesday.

Kimberly Rivera, who said she grew opposed to the war during a three-month tour of duty in Iraq, pleaded guilty at a court-martial proceeding in Fort Carson, Colo., on Monday and was sentenced immediately.

In addition to the prison time, the 30-year-old private was reduced in rank, ordered to forfeit pay and benefits and given a bad-conduct discharge, base spokeswoman Meghan Williams said.

Rivera fled to Toronto in 2007 while on leave after serving in Iraq with Fort Carson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, in Baghdad, according to her lawyer, James Branum.

More at the link. But what the story doesn’t tell you, I was able to access via Wikipedia:

A long-time resident of Mesquite, Texas, Rivera worked at Walmart prior to her military service, meeting her future husband Mario there. After she and Mario married, they agreed that one of them should join the army for financial reasons, but both were initially too overweight for the army’s requirements. Because Rivera shed the weight faster, she enlisted instead of her husband, signing with the U.S. Army in January 2006 for an $8000 bonus.1

Having deserted in 2007, it was possible, I thought, that she had enlisted prior to the war in Iraq; that’s why I checked further. She actually enlisted in January of 2006, long after the war began, long after negative stories about the war had come out, long after the stories about Abu Ghraib emerged, and long after it became apparent that the quick initial victory which deposed Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party government had turned into a drawn-out conflict trying to keep the country from falling into the hands of thugs.

Your Editor, the father of two soldiers, believes that PVT Rivera got off too lightly.

  1. Original Wikipedia source: Tamara Jones (December 1, 2008). “Why I went AWOL”. Marie Claire. Retrieved September 1, 2012.(subscription required)

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