A sympathetic article in the New York Times on soldiers who abandon their military duties in wartime has invented a new term: “un-volunteering.” I tend to agree with columnist Michelle Malkin, who calls un-volunteering “a new euphemism for deserting.”

What was once seen as dishonorable is now portrayed in the New York Times as ‘taking a stand’ for yourself:

“What I’ve seen is that soldiers are more afraid to make a stand for themselves than they are to go into combat,” said Sergeant Mejia, who was released in February after nearly nine months of confinement at Fort Sill, Okla., for desertion. “Until I took a stand, I was really going against my own conscience. I was so afraid to be called a coward.”

This is an Orwellian use of language.

Though not as bad as John Kerry’s portrayal of Vietnam-era soldiers as war criminals, the article does seem to say that the soldiers who remain in the service of their country are actually inferior to those who desert:

“These soldiers come from all different towns, all over the country, but their reasons for wanting out echo one another. Some described grisly scenes from their first deployments to Iraq. One soldier said he saw a wounded, weeping Iraqi child whom no one would help; another said he watched as another soldier set fire to wild dogs just to pass time. Others said they had simply realized that they did not believe in war, or at least not in this war.”

It would require a very hard heart not to feel for the soldier who has been in combat and is afraid of going back. But the tone of the article is gag-inducing (Malkin again): There is not only no shame involved in deserting — it’s really the right thing to do.