Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Military Grants More Waivers To Criminals

Army and Marine Corps are letting in more recruits with criminal records, including some with felony convictions, reflecting the increased pressure of five years of war and its mounting casualties.

According to data compiled by the Defense Department, the number of Army and Marine recruits needing waivers for felonies and serious misdemeanors, including minor drug offenses, has grown since 2003. The Army granted more than double the number of waivers for felonies and misdemeanors in 2006 than it did in 2003. Some recruits may get more than one waiver.

The number of felony waivers granted by the Army grew from 411 in 2003 to 901 in 2006, according to the Pentagon, or about one in 10 of the moral waivers approved that year. Other misdemeanors, which could be petty theft, writing a bad check or some assaults, jumped from about 2,700 to more than 6,000 in 2006. The minor crimes represented more than three-quarters of the moral waivers granted by the Army in 2006, up from more than half in 2003.

As a veteran, this absolutely disgusts me. To this day, the President, the hawks in the Congress, and the elite in this country do not go on tv and request people to join the service. Ever notice that? While only a few members of congress have children in the service, we have finally stopped convincing enough poor inner city and rural kids to join to keep this war going on. We have been told to shop. We have been told the rich need tax breaks, the first time taxes weren't raised to support a major military effort since the Mexican-American war in 1848. But we aren't asked to serve.

The war being a stupid mistake is obviously one reason why this is occuring. The other of course is that national leaders don't want to be the people to tell their constituents to send their kids into a meat grinder. It's bad sometimes for votes when you think of the kids who went away on your suggestion returning in a coffin, or in a wheelchair.

If our leaders don't even have the guts to meekly suggest that our best and brightest youth join this war, they have no business continuing it on the back of criminal labor.