Escalation in Iraq: Bush recruits people with criminal records

Chickenhawk, cartoon

From Women’s Media Center in the USA:

Escalation Forces Bush to Resort to Recruiting Convicts

By Robin Morgan, Women’s Media Center

Posted January 22, 2007.

Escalating the war in Iraq means the military will grant more “moral waivers” — permitting recruits with criminal records and emotional problems who would otherwise be unfit to serve.

Brace yourself. Bush’s Iraq escalation, euphemized as “surge,” sends just over 20,000 more troops into that bottomless pit, and flirts with an invasion of Iran.

But because Iraq has depleted our armed forces — and recruitment levels plummet as our population wises up — Bush’s plan requires still more: the entire Army active-duty force must swell to 547,000 over the next five years (an increase of 39,000), and the Marine Corps grow by 23,000 (to 202,000).

Constitutionally, Congress must approve or disapprove the expansion — but one never knows whether this particular executive branch recognizes that the legislative (or judicial) branches exist.

Meanwhile, Bush simply changes the rules to suit his mad plans, raising the enlistment age to 42, and removing the cumulative limit — 24 months active duty in any five-year period — for National Guard Reserve units.

Furthermore, the military will now mobilize units, not individuals, so soldiers who’ve completed their duty tours, but, perhaps, transferred to a new unit, will still be eligible. Never mind how destructive this is to “family values” or a “sound economy.”

Then there’s the still-astonishing “moral waiver” — employed to produce more cannon fodder.

In 2005, already desperate for fresh recruits, the Army started increasing, by nearly half, the rate at which it grants what it terms “moral waivers,” permitting recruits with criminal records, emotional problems, and weak educational backgrounds to serve.

Afterward, if these recruits survive, they’ll be called heroes and released back into society.

One returned hero, who credited the military with having “properly trained and hardened me,” was Timothy McVeigh.

According to the Pentagon, waivers in 2001 totaled 7,640, increasing to 11,018 in 2005.

Peace movement in the USA: here.

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