Kyle Snyder, a former combat engineer, left the United States in April 2005 while on leave to avoid a second deployment to Iraq.
"I don't see a lot of positive things coming from this war," Snyder told reporters Tuesday morning at a Louisville church. "I see it as a counterproductive mission."
The 23-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colo., had trained as an engineer with the 94th Corps of Engineers, but he said he was put on patrol when he got to Iraq in 2004, something he said he wasn't trained to do.
Snyder said he began to turn against the war when he saw an innocent Iraqi man seriously wounded by American gunfire. He believed the shooting was not properly investigated.
Attorney James Fennerty said a deal has been reached to keep Snyder from being court-martialed. Instead, he said, Snyder will receive an other-than-honorable discharge.
That would be the same punishment received by another deserter, Darrell Anderson, 24, of Lexington, who surrendered at Fort Knox on Oct. 3. Anderson was held for three days while his case was processed, then released.
Snyder had fled to Canada while on leave from the Army and applied for refugee status. He said he worked as a welder and at a children's health clinic while there.
Snyder was nervous about returning and said he understood people may not agree with his decision to desert the Army.
"I don't know how the American people are going to take the things I say," he said Tuesday.