Friday, November 03, 2006

Update on the Mahmoudiyah killings

Steven Green, the former Army private arrested in the March rape and slaying of a 14 year old Iraqi girl while he was on duty in Mahmoudiyah was indicted yesterday on 17 counts of murder, sexual assault and obstruction. Green was discharged from the Army in May, not because of these allegations, but because of a “personality disorder.”

I’m glad he is no longer representing the US in Iraq, but he should never have been there in the first place. To field recruits for this war the Army has lowered its standards to a dangerous level. Green, for example, was allowed to enlist despite his having a criminal record and a history of drug and alcohol abuse. The US military has granted thousands of exemptions to new recruits with issues that would normally disqualify them from military service. In the first four months of this year, these special recruits accounted for 15% of all new recruits. So while Green is no longer on the streets of Baghdad, there exists the possibility that others like him are.

EPIC addressed this and the lowering of basic training stndards in a press release it put out in June:
"Given the role the U.S. military is playing in Iraq today, EPIC believes that President Bush and U.S. commanders must maintain the highest of standards for those who wear the uniform, particularly in a war zone where innocent lives are at stake. EPIC is deeply concerned about the U.S. military practice of lowering standards to meet recruiting goals."

At a recent speech in Washington, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, said, "I continue to believe that some of these things that are alleged here are not representative of either the values or the nature of our force, or a result of failures to address these things." That is fine and well, but when you compromises your values to recruit new soldiers, you must to a certain degree accept responsibility for their actions.

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