Everything that's being said here is pretty much accurate. The military legal system tends to go out of it's way to keep "little" things from blowing up into a complete media shitstorm. The military in fact would prefer to keep all of it's legal processes in-house so-to-speak. With modern media methods, you almost never hear of a military legal matter from within the military... it's almost always from the family trying to gain support for their sailor/soldier who has done something really illegal, but think if they can get enough public support, some Senator/Congressman who has never served will raise a big stink and "fight" for them. It's disgusting.
As a former command legal officer, I've been in on some mind-blowingly retarded stuff.
We had a kid go AWOL, and was declared a deserter for about 8 months. While he was gone, he let his buddies use his on-base house as a crash pad and they destroyed it. While he was gone, he got divorced, and then re-married, but was single for about 2 months. So, his buddies caused $15k damage to the house, and he didn't work for 8 months.
When he shows back up, the results of the legal process are as follows.
#1: Receive full backpay.
#2: Not at fault for damage to house.
#3: Full MARRIED housing allowance granted for the entire time he was gone (even though he was single 2 months).
#4: SEA-TIME counter still running (your sea-time is the total time you are "at-sea" on a ship which counts towards bonus pays... it's a big deal)
#5: And given a nice cushy desk job for 6 months to re-acclimatize.
WHY??? Because about 4 months after he left, he texted a buddy and told him where he was, the buddy told his Chief, and the Chief sat on it, hoping the scumbag would stay gone. This was a significant technicality, and when the kid finally showed back up, he said, "What, I called, nobody called me back... I wanted to come in, but nobody seemed to care about me."
So you see, the military legal system is just as f'ed up as civilian courts. We have the same lawyers and same burdens as just about anywhere else... and no matter how bad you f'up, you can always find somebody else to blame. And usually, they just transfer you to a new command, and you go right back to work like it never happened.
Currently, most cases of "refusing to obey a direct order" are people who refuse to deploy with their units, and then claim a "conscientous objector" status. I know of not a single combat related "refusal" in my time in the military... they just don't happen all that often anymore. As an all-volunteer force, it's gonna be a rarity that you're not willing to do something you signed up for. Running away to Canada was all the rage for awhile, and the military does prosecute some of those cases when they return, but it tends to happen quietly and under the radar. Mostly those types are simply dishonorably discharged in-absentia. Currently, pecifically with regard to running away to Canada... it's not going to do you any good to go there if that country supports the war as well. This article is a few years old, but...: