For years, Sein Win's job in the burmese army was to guard citizens who had been forced into hard labor, building the nation's roads, railways, helipads and barracks. "We threatened them with guns to make them work," says Sein Win, now 20, who recently deserted from the military. "No soldier would dare be kind to the villagers because the officers would beat us if we showed them any mercy."

Burma has long been a pariah state — a target of human rights activists worldwide after the military junta slaughtered democracy protesters in 1988 and voided the 1990 election....

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