Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Our Military Is Being Destroyed From Within

At the risk of looking like John Kerry when he loosed his gaffe intimating that soldiers in Iraq were ones not able to find their way through the nation’s education system, I have to ask whether what I am reading and hearing about in the news concerning lowered recruitment standards is true.

Are we cutting corners? Are we turning a blind eye to the fact that while army recruitment numbers are up over last year, standards have been lowered in order to make that possible?

I first looked here to find out what standards have been like historically. The author makes the point that it is not the right of anyone to enlist in the military, and that the military has rather high standards. Not everyone is qualified.

Well he did mention that congress raised the maximum age of service in the army from 35 to 42 last year. Honestly, men and women in mid-life crisis can now join the army.

It seems that there are 4 (or is it now 5?) categories for army recruitment.

The top category consists of high school graduates who score in the upper 50 percentile on the AFQT test or Armed Forces intelligence test. The army takes every able bodied person in this category.

The second category consists of those who did not graduate from high school, but got their GED and can score 50 or above on the AFQT. Various branches of the military allow varying percentages of their total recruitment from this group.

The third category consists of those who did not graduate high school and do not possess a GED. They score below 50 on the AFQT

A fourth category consists of high school dropouts who score in the lower third on the AFQT

I am told that there is a fifth category now, those of the above that score in the lowest 10 percentile on the AFQT.

We are now being told that previously, the army was taking 10% of its recruits from the second category, that number is now in the teens. We are now being told that before, the army never took recruits from the 3rd or 4th categories, but that they are doing so now.

This is wrong on so many levels.

First and foremost, it sends a bad signal to our troops. That we think so poorly of them that we are supporting them by sending replacements into battle that we would not have sent previously.

It sends a bad message to the nation. People are going to start to think that our troops are the least of us, and not the brave, loyal, intelligent and honorable men and women that they are.

It dilutes our military strength. Numbers is one thing, effective numbers is another. Intelligence matters in battle. Recruitment of lower level soldiers should go hand-in-hand with an increase in overall training. But the opposite is occurring, isn’t it?

Slowly, ever so slowly, the Bush Administration is destroying our nation’s military. They began by sending, then re-sending troops into a no-win civil war. They adopted the “back door draft” policy of calling up soldiers who thought they were done with the military. The time between deployments has decreased and the length of deployment has increased. Personnel and materiel have both been worn down. And now we are supporting our troops by sending out first-time soldiers with less training and more need for training than ever before.

We are losing our NCOs and our mid-career officers. Individuals who thought they were going to make the military a life’s career are leaving the services. I came across this startling statistic: 54% of the 901 2001 West Point graduates have left the military.

This no-win civil war is breaking the back of our military and the strength of our nation. We are losing the backbone of any military, non-coms and mid-level officers. It will take years for the military to recover from this.

And we have all of this just so that one man can’t look like the complete idiot that he really and truly is.

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