Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting

11.7 percent of new recruits have a criminal history and we wonder why we are charging soldier’s with crimes in Iraq?  Almost 12 of every 100 new recruits in the Army are law-breakers!

Does this scare you?  It scares me, and one of my best friends is a civilian Army Recruiter – I know her job is tough.  But can we really afford, as a country, to have 12% of our new troops be criminals?  If not, how do we fix it?  Sure, “Get out of the war” is an easy answer, but not a realistic one – not for a while.  And what about the next war (yes, I’m afraid there will always be a “next one”).

I’m certainly not pro-draft – I have an 18 year old son who I hope never serves (I think my family has done way more than it’s fair share).

I don’t have any solutions here, but this new trend certainly doesn’t seem like a good one – at all!

While soldiers with criminal histories made up only 11.7 percent of the Army recruits in 2006, the spike in waivers raises concerns about whether the military is making too many exceptions to try to meet its recruitment demands in a time of war. Most felons, for example, are not permitted to carry firearms, and many criminals have at some point exhibited serious lapses in discipline and judgment, traits that are far from ideal on the battlefield.

Source: Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting – New York Times


  1. According to your (IMHO naive) opinion above, we have ALREADY won this war – we have, after all, killed MANY more of them then they have of “us”.

    But that’s my point – wars are NOT won by the side that kills the most – it is lost by the side that loses the support of their country. And as you cited very well, we have several examples of shit-head soldiers (and sailors, airmen, and marines, no doubt) who crossed the line – even in warfare.

    And don’t get me wrong – I am not suggesting we send in Harvard Marketing Grads to talk our way into victory. War is bloody – I realize that – I was a combat medic. I know the reality. But that doesn’t mean we need to hire thugs (and that is exactly what we are doing when we allow known criminals into our military) to wage war for us. We can’t hire thieves and murderers to do our work in our name. That is exactly how you become a hated country.

    My original point, now well obfuscated was simply that we as a society are failing not only ourselves, but our true “warriors” by “settling” for less than the best we can get, and that I do believe we could build a better, smarter military without having to resort to hiring known criminals.

    And that we should do exactly that. By paying soldier’s more (at least enough to get ALL of them off of welfare). By respecting them more. By making Military Service a respectable occupation again – and we certainly can’t achieve the latter while we are hiring known criminals to man 12% of our Army.

    And yes, I am sure some of these 12% (perhaps even most) are great soldiers (although I doubt anyone tracks the actual statistics). That doesn’t mean that they are the best we have to offer in service to our country.

  2. Oh, and by the way, every time you say I’m wrong, or say ‘bullshit’, you owe me a beer!

    OR ELSE!!!

  3. In short… you can go in and try to win with the right smart intelligent well thought out strategy …. or with a killer instinct.

    In most cases .. the killer instinct wins. (especially when you KNOW about your oponents strategies).

    I learned this by playing poker!! (and it works!)

    If I have to win a war … I’ll send in my killers!

  4. Rob, we agree and disagree.
    Of course (you know me) I wrote that to ‘provoke’.
    But I still think I have a point.
    While I appreciate your point of view, you’re neither realistic nor pragmatic. And quite frankly, a bit naive.
    Your serving in the military may have biased you a bit too much, in my opinion. (and yes, I was in the military once too).

    I agree, it would be ideal if we could halt some horrible roque state by sending in a few well trained, smart, ethical uber-men for a surgical operation and take care of it.

    In real life, it doesn’t work that way (remember when you tried that in Teheran and Panama?). If one of your ‘leaders’ tries to make you believe that ‘we march in there and they will throw flowers at us for liberating them’, … get rid of him! (oh wait, they already did…).

    In its essence: war is simple: He who can kill the most people wins. Intimidation (acting like you CAN kill the most people) can sometimes work too, when wars are in the ‘bluffing’ stage, but that’s clearly no longer the case in Iraq, and is very likely to fail in any war against religious fanatics.

    So .. how do we win this ‘game’? By sending in our intelligent, smart, ethical, well educated, white, Christian college boys (and get them back being a ‘monster’ (Abu Ghraib, or the ones who raped a civilan girl, shot her in the face and set her on fire, go read some Vietnam veteran stories!), or, the ones who already ARE monsters.

    You’re not really counting on your enemy’s respect for your being ‘nice’ are you? You’re already one of the most hated countries in the world!

    As for “I don’t want us hiring thugs” … you’re already doing that. In a very cowardly way. You tell your people that we can’t torture people (well, Cheney thinks we can). While we do it anyway, and for the more serious cases, we just ship our prisoners to countries with more ‘liberal ways’ and have THEM do it.
    ( I use ‘we’ and ‘you’ very freely here ofcourse)

    Come on Rob. Wake up… War is dirty business. It takes dirty people to win it. We still can’t win it by being just technically superior.

  5. Bullshit, Paul – “warriors” have historically been some of the best thinkers of their time. Yes, war is a nasty bloody business – but it isn’t a “lawless business” and we aren’t (or shouldn’t be) a mercenary country.

    Ryan Block, in his personal blog, just entered a post today that I commented on – it relates to this one ( kind of.

    We get out of our Amed Forces what we put into them – if we put in the crourges of cociety then we have a lawless military. If we put in people unwilling or incapable of thinking then we get a mindless military. Personally, I don’t want either.

    I want a smart military that will do it’s job quickly and efficiently – and LEGALLY. I want people representing me that have character, and intellect, and the ability to reason.

    I don’t want us hiring thugs to make sure we can do business without being hassled – I don’t want “protection” as if I am dealing with the mafia.

    And you are wrong about Warriors – true warriors aren’t out to exact the most damage on an enemy – in fact modern warriors strive to do just the opposite – achieve the goal with as little damage as possible.

    Our military personnel our our diplomats on the ground – they represent who we are, and what we believe in – what we value. I don’t want a felon doing that for me. Sorry.

    And you know I’m not one to glorify war – in my opinion, if it must be fought at all, it should be fought from a distance, and it should be fought to win, and win quickly (let’s not argue the definition of “win” in this thread!).

    So yeah – having thugs and felons represent me does scare me.

  6. What scares you about this?

    Chances are that those 12% are amongst the more effective warriors.

    Let’s stop glorifying our wars! It’s very dirty business.
    And if a ‘dirty’ part of your society is attracted to doing that business for you … well…