Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Army Lowers Recruting Standards

According to an article in today's NYTtimes,

The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown nearly 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show.

The sharpest increase was in waivers issued for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the Army’s moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide. The number of waivers issued for felony convictions also increased, from 8 percent to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006.

Should the Army be lowering its standards to meet recruiting quotas?

Absolutely not.

I served in the Army during the Korean War. I remember distinctly that two of my fellow soldiers in Infantry Basic Training were clearly unfit for military duty. One was a half-awake heroin addict and the other one was a very low IQ brutal bully.

Fortunately, I was not sent into combat. Because of my advanced education, the Army made better use of my skills in the Chemical Corps.

It would have been very dangerous for all concerned to have to serve in combat with the two misfits described above.

War is a messy, extremely dangerous business, full of unanticipated events. Soldiers have to be able to rely absolutely on the skills, alertness and uncompromising teamwork of their fellow soldiers. There is no room for drug addicts, criminals and idiots in the ranks.

If the Army cannot meet its staffing needs with capable people, it's time to institute a draft or cancel the whole bloody war and withdraw.

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