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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Military Standards Issue

“Army recruiters found 8,756 new recruits for active-duty service last month, surpassing their stated target of 8,600 — marking the 13th consecutive month the service met or exceeded its target. The active Army now has 51,612 new recruits, and it hopes to sign up a total of 80, 000 new recruits by the end of the 2006 budget year on Sept. 30.
The Navy in June met its goal of 3,961 recruits for that month. The Marine Corps and the Air Force exceeded their recruiting objectives, signing up 4,357 and 2,564 service members, respectively. The Reserve and National Guard components of the services met or surpassed their recruiting goals last month, except for the Navy Reserve, which recruited 95 percent of its target.”
-San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2006

“Fantastic! Back on track. The American people understand the mission and support Fearless Leader in his endless War on Terror. Excelsior!”

“Pentagon officials announced Monday that the Army has managed to achieve its latest recruiting goals, while admitting that they have lowered some standards that had been set to ensure the quality of the force.
-San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2006

“A few standards lowered. That is practically the definition of Fearless Leader’s Administration. No big deal.”

“He said if the Army can reach its goal in July, the rest of the recruiting targets for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 should be easy to reach.
The Army had been having trouble meeting recruiting goals, reportedly because of extended tours of duty in Iraq.
To reverse the decline in enrollment, the Army has boosted enlistment bonuses, added thousands of recruiters and raised the maximum enlistment age to 42.”
-UPI, July 10, 2006

“And sure, the new troops may be a little bit older than in previous years, but that isn’t saying much.”

“To allow more recruits to join, the Army last fall amended its rule that it can sign up no more than 2 percent of recruits who score between 15 and 30 out of 99 on the Army’s aptitude test. Now, up to 4 percent of Army recruits can score under 30 on the aptitude test, which measures such things as the applicants’ knowledge of mathematics and command of the English language, said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman.
He said the Army will have ‘less than 4 percent’ of recruits who scored under 30 by the end of the year, but did not elaborate. In 2005, 1.8 percent of the soldiers the Army signed up scored between 15 and 30 percent.
‘We’re being held up to an impossibly high standard,’ Hilferty said.
At the same time, in the first four months of this year, the percentage of recruits whom the Army otherwise considers fit for service but who required special waivers to join rose to 15.5 percent. The waivers were for misdemeanor offenses, drug- or alcohol-related violations or medical problems, Hilferty said. In 2004, 12 percent of recruits required such waivers; in 2005, 15 percent needed them.”
-San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2006

“Hey, those are just statistics. The troops are, on average, becoming older and with greater crime and stupidity issues, but so what? It isn’t like this kind of thing really has any impact on the real world. Just because 4 percent of recruits can’t get a 30% on a test (I’m assuming that this is roughly a percentage since it is out of 99). I mean sure, in school a 60% is an ‘F’, but only one in 25 of our troops won’t be able to get at least half of that. I can’t think of why that would cause any problems. And heck, only 15% need special dispensation for their previous criminal behavior. Just numbers. Nothing to get upset about.”

“On the last day of January 2005, Steven D. Green, the former Army private accused of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her family, sat in a Texas jail on alcohol-possession charges, an unemployed 19-year-old high school dropout who had just racked up his third misdemeanor conviction.
Days later, Mr. Green enlisted in a soldier-strapped Army, and was later assigned to a star-crossed unit to serve on an especially murderous patch of earth.
He arrived at the very moment that the Army was increasing by nearly half the rate at which it granted what it calls ‘moral waivers’ to potential recruits. The change opened the ranks to more people like Mr. Green, those with minor criminal records and weak educational backgrounds. In Mr. Green’s case, his problems were emerging by junior high school, say people who knew him then.
Mr. Green’s Army waiver allowed a troubled young man into the heart of a war that bore little resemblance to its original declared purposes, but which continued to need thousands of fresh recruits.
Now, there is shame and rage in the Army — from the ranks of the enlisted to the officer corps — over the crimes attributed to Mr. Green, who was discharged in April on psychiatric grounds, and four other soldiers charged with a rape and four killings in March in Mahmudiya, a town about 20 miles south of Baghdad.
The share of Army recruits who received ‘moral waivers’ for criminal records increased last year and through the first half of 2006 by 15 percent from 10 percent or 11 percent before the war, according to statistics released this week. (According to the Pentagon, the number of waivers in 2001 totaled 7,640. The figure increased to 11,018 in 2005, and for the first six months of this fiscal year totaled 5,636.)”
-New York Times, July 14, 2006


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