Friday, July 02, 2004

 

Another Aunt Deb link

The official new War-On-Errorism blog motto: I blog so Aunt Deb doesn't have to. Anyhow, this story by Ken Silverstein from the LA Times is pretty disturbing. Apparently, "six studies prepared over 10 years by an outside expert at the Pentagon's request found that too little was being done to discipline lawbreakers in uniform or even identify problem recruits." Even after having reaped the fruits of these practices in the Abu Ghraib fiasco, there remains the problem of finding enough people to serve in the armed services. Thus, until our good friend the draft makes a comeback, the military isn't likely to make any real changes.
Although the Pentagon adopted some new procedures, they were not adequate, Flyer's most recent report said. The military services have resisted improving screening procedures because that "would reduce applicant supply," the 2003 report said, alluding to problems some services have had in recent years meeting recruitment goals.
And my reference to Abu Ghraib is more than just an aside.
Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., an accused ringleader in the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib, served in the Gulf War (news - web sites) in a Marine reserve unit. He reenlisted in the Army in 2001, joining a reserve unit at a time when allegations of violent behavior had been made against him in two civil court proceedings. His wife alleged in divorce proceedings in 2000 that he beat her, and she obtained three "protection of abuse" orders against him, court records show.

An inmate at a state prison where Graner worked filed a lawsuit against him and other guards in 1999 for allegedly kicking and beating him, according to court records. Graner denied abusing the prisoner. The case was dismissed in 2000 when the man, who by then had been released from prison, failed to appear in court.
Possibly the most disturbing part of the entire article is this:
One measure of the overall problem is provided by the record of a special Defense Department screening program called the Personnel Reliability Program, or PRP, which is designed to ensure that only persons of sound character were assigned to duty involving nuclear weapons. Between 1987 and 1990, three individuals approved by the PRP committed murders while on active duty.

In a 1986 case, the Navy gave a PRP clearance to a man known to be a suspect in an unsolved murder. Three years later, when the man was a fire control technician on a nuclear submarine, he was charged in the murder of an elderly couple while off duty. He was later convicted.
I am down with innocent until proven guilty. I think it's the best way to do things and all that. But giving somebody clearance that would allow them involvement with nuclear weapons while this individual was a suspect in an unsolved murder seems absolutely batty. There is a very real problem, I think, in allowing somebody who is unable to control their penchant for violence to serve in the military - the place where control over violence is the very essence of the job.

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