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April 7th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

1 in 8 Army recruits needs conduct waiver

ALT TEXT

U.S. Stryker Brigade Combat Team. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The war in Iraq comes to Washington this week. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are set to give two days of testimony to Congress on the progress of the war starting tomorrow. President Bush is then expected to address the nation on Thursday, and talk about the future of Iraq as well as the administration's decision to reduce combat tours of duty from 15 months to 12 months.

The highlight of the two days of testimony will no doubt be the questioning of Petraeus and Crocker by the three candidates for president, all senators. Out on the campaign trail, you have John McCain, who has said the U.S. could be in Iraq for 100 years... versus Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who insist the war hasn't made the U.S. safer and want to pull our troops out.

As the war grinds on, our military forces continue to be stretched thinner. Consider this: one out of every eight new soldiers now requires a waiver to join the Army either because of a criminal record or other past misconduct. That's a number that has more than doubled since 2004. One top military official told USA Today it's because of the difficulties the Army faces attracting young people to join during a time of war. Officials insist that the military has granted waivers without hurting the quality of recruits.

Another depressing sign of the state of our military is this: the percentage of high school graduates among Army recruits is down from 91% in 2001 to 79% last year.

Here’s my question to you: What’s the future of the U.S. military if one in every eight new Army recruits requires a conduct waiver?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Patricia from Boise, Idaho writes:
Jack, It means we're not sending our best and our brightest. We all know that without a draft, we can't get enough people willing to go and die to liberate Iraq from itself. We're happy with warm bodies so our military can claim that they're not having trouble keeping the surge alive.

David from Natchez, Mississippi writes:
This is not a bad thing, Jack. This is an opportunity for these people to turn their lives around. I was one who got this opportunity a long time ago and it made a big difference in my life.

Ted from Beaverton, Oregon writes:
Not a problem at all. They just get referred to Blackwater, where they can put their bad conduct to full use protecting Americans from all those pesky unarmed Iraqis. Whatever happened to that investigation anyway?

Edward writes:
As an officer in the U.S. military, I can tell you that the young men and women that I lead into combat are some of the finest young men and women this country has. I know that some of them have a past that has to be accounted for before they can join and serve their country. The military offers these young men and woman a chance to put that past behind them and do something great, serve their country and better themselves.

Keith writes:
I will have served 5 years in the military in August and new recruits are taking a rough turn. More and more 18-year-old, brand new soldiers come in with medical conditions that make them undeployable, and training is getting easier and easier just trying to push soldiers through… It seems as long as you can walk in the graduation ceremony, you pass and it forces the units to have to instill the discipline in these soldiers.

Tim writes:
Jack, A better question: What does the future hold for our country if one in eight requires some sort of waiver? These young Americans represent the future for us all (no matter what profession they chose!).


Filed under: US Military
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Patricia

    Jack,
    It means we're not sending our best and our brightest. We all know that without a draft, we can't get enough people willing to go and die to liberate Iraq from themselves. We're happy with warm bodies so our military can claim that they're not having trouble keeping the surge alive.

    I also means that once again, we are telling our young people that we were just kidding when we told them they had to live by the law and by a moral code. We're enabling them in school and that's why they lack basic skills and then we're enabling them to go over and die to perpetuate Bush's lie.

    Patricia in Boise, ID

    April 7, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  2. R. Lopez in South TX

    Jack, actually I'm surprised the ratio is that good. The way I look at it is maybe they are risking joining the military (and hopefully returning as responsible citizens) as their only way out of going to prison. It's a bet they are willing to take and I am willing to let them.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  3. dennis north carolina

    It shows that this country is in decline. we pay more attenion and use our time and money to take care of the world problems when we should first addressing our problems at home like education. we are taking one more step to becoming a third world country.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  4. Burt, Sun Lakes, AZ

    So much for the Professional Armed Services. I just wonder if Scooter
    Libby isn't one of the new recruits.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  5. Jim Galvin

    Bring US troops home, send all US prisoners to Iraq for the balance of their sentences – no parole.

    Put a pause on military recruitment for one year, let new blood, so to speak, emerge.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  6. Erin in Battle Creek

    The deterioration of our cause in Iraq shows itself no less here than it does in 1. the inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad or 2. the draining of the American economy here at home; in fact it is all quite related.
    For where else are those with a criminal background to go when competition for the few existing jobs is so steep? And worse, the strenuous job of an American soldier at war is hardly the ideal re-entry position for the recently rehabilitated.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  7. Terry in Hanover, VA

    If Bush has his way, we won't be asking about the quality of the troops. We'll be knee deep in the draft and conduct waivers won't be needed. As to the waivers themselves, who's to say those enlisting aren't trying to turn their lives around? The military offers folks a second chance and teaches kids discipline, something many are not getting at home because parents are too busy working so they can buy gas and put food on the table. Anyone willing to go into the military and fight for our country has my respect, not my distain.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  8. Karen - Branson

    I don't have any objection to someone who's been in trouble with the law to try to serve his/her country. After all, this is a volunteer army. When we had the draft system, everyone wasn't exactly squeeky clean either.

    1 in 8 really doesn't sound that bad. Give the recruits a break...second chance so to speak.

    I seem to recall a lot of draft dodgers during Vietnam...which would you rather have, someone who paid their dues to the justice system then asked to serve the country, or someone who ignores the country and skips out to another country? What's your choice? Hey, we're not talking about applying for a job at the Vatican here.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  9. Chris Swansea, MA

    ...It should be conduct and integrety training with harsh penelties for anyone with a waiver who breaks the UCMJ.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  10. Mike S., New Orleans

    Jack, it means we are scraping the bottom of the barrel to avoid the obvious need for a military draft.

    Maybe if people saw their own sons and daughters go to war involuntarily, they wouldn't be so anxious to send their neighbor's kids.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  11. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    It doesn't mean much at all. At all times in our history the armed forces has taken men who were not perfect. World War II and Vietnam were perfect examples. In it's proper context,the military can take men and with discipline and structure can turn their lives around and make them good citizens. Our prisons would have fewer inmates if we still had a draft and worked to make good soldiers and people.I know,because I was one of them and have lived an exemplary life because I was able to turn my life around. For that,I will always be grateful.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  12. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    I guess by “conduct” you mean undisciplined, unruly, sociopaths with criminal records. Just what the military needs right now. You have to consider that many of these misfits will eventually have to come back into civilian life – after they have been trained to kill and destroy their targets.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Keith Irving TX

    I don't know what the future is, Jack, but it simply shows what 7 1/2 years of failed leadership has really done to our military strenght, when we have to resort accepting that many new recruits who warrant "a conduct waiver."

    Thanks Bush... You are beyond an embarassment. SAD, SAD, SAD

    April 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  14. Chuck in Alabama

    I retired from the Army at 23 years with the offer of a promotion on the table because the level of recruits was so dismal. i was spending way to much time tending to the "bad" soldiers instead of praising and complementing the "good" ones.

    The old "military code of justice" which had served us well for over 200 years was pushed aside in favor of a "kinder, gentler" way of military business. Supervisors have come to fear the backlash of hurting subordinates' feelings.

    The "X-box " generation have no idea what words like "authority, respect, manners, and courtesty" mean. How can we expect them to perform as professionals in our military?

    April 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  15. John from Chicago

    Jack this news does not suprise me at all. I served in the Army and got out of active duty in 2005. The Army was in a big decline when I left. The quality of new recruits was discouraging. I did my tour in Iraq and got out. That what alot of my buddies did too. One tour is enough.

    The bottom line is its getting harder and harder for the Army to find quality recruits. No one wants to be immediately shipped to Iraq and fight in George Bush's war. I left the Army to finish college. The recruiters are hurting. Nowadays the recruiters are practically throwing money at a person to join and sweeping the bad apples under the rug, allowing them to join with criminal pasts or medical issues.

    After Barack Obama wins the election and ends the Iraq war the Army can finally have some balance and rest time. We'll get back quality recruits when that happens. It will take only a few years.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  16. Chuck - Plain City, Ohio

    The military used to be a great place for young men and women to go for the promise of dedicated service for education and a promising career. As the Bush Administration has continued to keep our dedicated military service men and women deployed in a war that they never will end; the level of potential entrants has been diluted to the point that only those forced to go into the service due to economic and educational factors remain. As we have seen, the young men and women are taking a more active role in this years election process, proving that they are not going to stand for this outrageous misuse of the US military anymore!

    April 7, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  17. AndyZ; Fairfax, VA

    Go back to the time from 1965 – 1980 and ask the Army for their statistics on how many enlistments the Army required before it could be sure that they had enough recruits in the system to provide required/full troop strength for its units. The biggest sin of this administration is that they have all but destroyed the best military in the world. Additionally, the cost is not just in the caliber of the recruits that come into the force but the cost of refurbishing all of the equipment, buying new equipment, and on and on.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  18. Leevaughn Brown

    Hey Jack
    I didn't know that you had to be a stellar citizen to go die for your country?

    This is a "no brainer" it means absolutely NOTHING!
    Cinti, Ohio

    April 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  19. Harry

    Sounds like we need to do away with the draft and develop a professional military. Whoa!! Having a flashback, sorry about that!!!

    Yeah we could get a couple of guys, like Cheney and Rumsfeld to work with the president, and build this professional army. Oops!, it happened again.

    Harry
    Ky.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  20. Joe in DE

    That is a better ratio than for high Bush Administration oficals.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  21. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Sounds about right to me. About one in eight citizens of this wonderful country need conduct vouchers. Not you or me, Jack. I worry about Wolf.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  22. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    There's a war going on right here in our streets that's being ignored. With the high school drop out rate and no jobs the military recruits these young people whose conduct requires a waiver.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  23. Bob, VA

    Jack, the Com-in-Chief himself has goatten a ' conduct waiver' for the last eight years and so, why not his troops ?

    April 7, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  24. Teddie

    MY conduct would need a waiver too if I was used as a world's policeman for many years and not given a break. It is time to come home and let our soldiers regroup and get a breather for awhile.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  25. John Kelty

    Aside from possibly seeing more reports such as this in the general media, I expect no real changes.

    If enough people make a fuss of it I suppose the military will release some sort of generic press release stating that they are simply accepting more people with very minor (insignificant) infractions. The issue will soon go away due to lack of interest or proof that it makes a difference.

    San Francisco, CA

    April 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  26. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    One word P O O R !

    April 7, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  27. IFEANYI AZUBIKE Houston, Texas

    Jack, the recruits are no different from the rest of us. they leave in the same country where governors pay prostitutes, presidents sleep with interns, candidates lie about their credentials, and teachers are gaining prominence for the number of students they sleep with. It is a country that is in a hurry to do the flip. Moral values are dipping and the urge to undermine religion and God is gaining prominence. Isn't part of the military's new assignment torture? and is it not easier to teach that to someone who already has a favorable dsposition? Jack, I hate to admit that it stinks that the men and women who are joining the most disciplined institution in the world already have discplinary issues stacked against them. Unless we, as a nation, begining to retrace our steps to wherever we deviated, Jack, it spells doom.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  28. Tom Smith, Madison, Wisconsin

    Why not, downgrade the Military some more. This was done during Viet Nam. It took many years for the Military to recover. Just remember that the people that are recruited today will be the people that are up for promotion tomorrow.
    But then, how could we expect someone with a fuzzy military history to know that.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  29. Chuck in Eugene Oregon

    Jack,

    To be honest that is not a surprise. Back in my days when I was a recruiter 85-88 working out of Miami Florida, the waiver ratio was higher than that. However, the waivers were not for conduct, but were for education/test scores. The Army seems to accept recruits on a lower standard/expectation then the other branches of service because the job of an (basic grunt) infantry man is less demanding. The draw back is now the Army infantryman is more technical then ever before so they are doing all they can to draw the technical soldier even if it means a character/behavior waiver. Scary isn't it? It all goes back to what ails this nation, education, values, morals...ect.

    April 7, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  30. dave, michigan

    What's the problem, the Brits did it for years, along with transportation, capital punisment,etc. If you don't want a draft where else can you get your cannon fodor, the prisons or overseas as I see it.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  31. Allen L Wenger

    It makes me think that the all volunteer army will be replaced by Blackwater mercenaries or drafted civillians.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  32. Mischelle from Illinois

    It just shows that today's youth (18-25) don't have a CLUE about thier own futures and the future of our Country. To take risks with your own future in the spirit of "youthful indescretion" and to take risks with the country's future by "drinking the cool-aid"...shameful...It's all the parents fault!

    April 7, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  33. Jerry, Fayetteville Tennessee

    It depends on how these folks are integrated into the services. Actually, maybe we should relax the standards even more and segregate them into their own companies and battalions and send them on perilous missions (ala 'The Dirty Dozen").

    April 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  34. Beverley, Fredricksburg Va

    Jack,

    Actually I am extremely pleased that the military is willing to educate, train and value the millions of American children who were not educated, trained or valued by our inadequate education system, corporate America and sometimes sadly even their own parents.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  35. Lori/Battle Creek, MI

    As long as we are fighting stupid wars we will have to keep lowering the standards or initiate a draft...yeah right, like that would really go over for this war. Maybe we could draft whoever agrees with Bush that the Iraqi war was a good idea.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  36. Brian From Fort Mill, S.C.

    They say we need more soldiers, right? They're no longer weeding out the riff-raff, right? Well, why don't they just allow prisoners to enlist, and in return, shorten their sentences?

    Maybe it's time for some of these criminals to start giving back, after all they've taken. Wouldn't you rather have someone kill the enemy, rather than your daughter?

    April 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  37. J. Onofre - CA

    I think its an excellent idea Jack! Let's just send all the convicts into the frontlines and do all our dirty work. It's not like it would be hard to train them, figuratively they are also repaying a debt.

    It's up to the Army to decide at what degree of conduct is tolerated in the waiver.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  38. Velle In Halifax

    Jack, I know you will recall that during the "draft" during the Viet Nam years, many judges offered miscreants a choice between military service or prison. To some it may be a chance to redeem themselves or at the very least improve the chances by 12% that some fine young men will return to their families.
    If "they" can't assume their military responsibilities, well Federal Prisons are still prisons.
    Sign 'em up!

    April 7, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  39. Alfie --- Palmdale, Cal.

    Because the crime rate is higher, due to lack of respect and morals. Lets go back to the draft, and get these kids off the street, and get a rifle in their hand. Felony or not, let them in. Liberals whine about not giving the poor under priviliged youth a chance to do better. This is their chance. Teach them respect, and even just how to get out of bed at the same time each morning. When I was stationed in Germany, all male students were required to join the military for 2 years when they turned 18. Works great over there.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  40. David Natchez, MS

    This is not a bad thing Jack, this is an opportunity for these people to turn thier lives around. I was one that got this opportunity a long time ago and it made a big difference in my life. The military has gotten soft and it needs some of these harden citizens to do what must be done and not come out with PTSD.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  41. Patricia

    As of right now Jack, the military is attempting to maintain it's force levels by a form conscription. The forces that are in Iraq & Afghanistan & are due to be seperated & sent home are facing extreme pressure to re-op without the guarantee of the $40K in bonus, & they being held in Iraq past their discharge dates.
    I'm not worried about the military taking gang-bangers & using them in Iraq. They've faced death before & they actually know how to use a weapon.
    I'm more worried about the break-down of the forces that are in Iraq & Afghanistan.
    Before you ask, NO John McBush's speech today doesn't make me feel any better. Furthermore, I still say that man is going to start another war, probably in Iran & I just wish the Republicans would stay home this election & stop themselves from electing a NEO-CON old fart.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  42. Chryssa

    I don't think there's anything wrong allowing convicts to join an organization that will give them training, skills and money for college (should they come out alive.) If we deny them this opportunity, how on Earth can we expect them to make anything of their lives?

    Boise, Idaho

    April 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  43. kb from Iowa

    It means if we want to jump into any more scuffles to combat the dreaded axis of evil we'll have to seriously look into reinstating the draft. I keep that in mind every time I consider McCain for president.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  44. Paulette Dallas,PA

    It says that many prisoners would prefer to take their chances rather then serve out their sentences in jail.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  45. mitchell martin ark.

    everyone makes mistakes,and to keep someone from serving in the military,because they may have tried marijuana,once,or got caught drinking underage etc.,would be disqualifying some of our best and brightest.even our commander -in-chief has made more mistakes than any of our servicemen have.maybe we could build a new branch of the service,using gangbangers and violent offenders to serve .at least they wouldn't be shooting up our own streets ,here at home.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  46. Jay - Atlanta

    Isn't that about the same conduct-waiver rate as we have for Congress members?

    April 7, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  47. Gary, Colchester, CT

    Come on jack, if we had to give conduct waivers to Congressmen who cheated on their taxes, their spouses, their jobs, wrote bad checks, got DUI's, took payoffs, and commited the dozens of other immoral acts that members of Congress have gotten away with, then there wouldn't be but a handfull of 'senior Congressmen. Comparatively, Congress has a much worse record.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  48. Fish god Las Vegas,Nv.

    [ iTS A GENERATIONAL THING. I WAS DRAFTED IN 1952, WE HAD ALL KINDS OF FOLKS IN OUR UNIT.I can only think of four instances of disciplinary action worse than restriction to barracks for 30 days.Look at the crap going on in this conflict.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  49. Tim

    Jack,

    A better question, what's does the future hold for our country, if one in eight requires some sort of waiver? These young Americans represent the future for us all (no matter what profession they chose!).

    April 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  50. Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: There is an old New York saying, "you get exactly what you pay for".......nothing more.......nothing less. These young men are going to put there life on the line when nobody else will. How many of the Senators' son or daughters are serving? If I were Commander in Chief, I would vacate all the prisons of their tenants, and trained them for service to our country. People don't change their behavior unless it makes a difference for them to do so. Remember, "still people are the most dangerous."

    April 7, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  51. Curtis in Philadelphia

    Jack, are you sure that's Army recruits and not Congressmen and Senators that require a conduct waiver? The phrase: "to hell in a handbasket" comes to mind.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  52. Kris

    Jack,

    I had always wondered what he meant when Obama had said that he would advocate National Service obligations in exchange for college tuition. It's that or a draft, Iran has a huge population and will require several hundreds of thousands in ground troops.

    This question highlights the efforts made to avoid having to draft individuals...but in my opinion it's inevitable.

    Kris
    Abbotsford

    April 7, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  53. Greg in Leavenworth Kansas

    We get what we pay for.

    Many times our Soldiers are the "face of America" . If our military enlists people who are less-than-moral (or less-than-ethical) will these enlistees be more or less likely to commit the same or worse "offenses" on foreign soil? Can America afford another Abu Gharib-like embarassment?

    Taking "the fight" to the enemy on foreign soil is one thing, but let's not forget that terrorist are bringing "the fight" to America's soil. How well can each of us sleep at night if we're not absolutely certain that our defenders can be depended upon??? Good night Jack. Sleep tight. 🙂

    April 7, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  54. Scott L. - Wichita, Kansas

    I look at it this way:
    Good for them!
    They realized their mistakes, and are looking to turn their lives around by volunteering. A lot of us could benefit from taking a good look at their fine examples!

    April 7, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  55. Brad, Amarillo TX.

    Jack this might not be as bad a thing as it appears on the surface. I needed a conduct waiver when I joined the Army 23 years ago. The Military can't give you self discipline, but they can make you very uncomfortable until you figure it out for yourself. I had very good Drill Sergeants, sergeants and commanders throughout my 4 year military stint.They often took the time to turn me back to the path. I think the military took a young man without direction and a fear of hard work and turned him into a productive member of society. If the leaders expect and demand good behavior, and lead by example it is amazing what can happen. Every day my military experience helps me.
    The problem I have right now is the expectations and leadership of this administration. The message our President is sending down is that torture and abuse of rights is expected.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  56. Ted, Beaverton, OR

    Not a problem at all, they just get referred to Blackwater, where they can put their bad conduct to full use protecting Americans from all those pesky unarmed Iraqis. Whatever happened to that investigation anyway?

    April 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  57. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    nothing new been the practice for along time get them in and give them a gun we at war Jack why you suprised about this take the ones not worth keeping alive its better for society right? I know you won't like that comment but its the truth.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  58. Bill in PA

    Jack;
    The concepts of patriotism, democracy and freedom have changed; drastically. The current idea of doing blindly what big business has told the President to order done is NOT patriotism.
    A young person with alternatives is not going to join the U. S. military. You could get severely injured or even killed, for what? No one in Iraq attacked us nor did they have the ability to do so. So of course, we have to pay big signing bonuses and lower the standards to induce volunteers. If there were a real danger to the US we would have a draft in place for all citizens.
    No on can point to an enemy of the US in Iraq that has what Germany had in WWII: trained, disciplined troops equipped with aircraft, rockets, armored fighting vehicles etc. And we beat the Germans and their allies in less time than we have been able to subdue Iraq. This does not suggest competence, even to our young men and women looking for career start, They may be unemployed but may not be sold on the task undertaken by our leadership.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  59. Bill, Quarryville, PA

    Jack, I think it says that the future of our military is not as bright as it was before making the mistake of invading Iraq. Intelligent people with good character are not going enlist in the military to be killed in another country's civil war. Especially when they see Iraqi troops we have been training for the past five years, deserting when send into battle. I think we're headed for a draft. If we are to continue fighting on two fronts for as long as some people vision and still maintain a troop readiness to be deployed elsewhere if needed, having a draft is the only answer.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  60. Ron Kepics

    Hi Jack:

    I think it is deplorable. Who would want to join now? We're back to the: "WHY ARE WE HERE?" question. Remember Vietnam? That was a waste of American life and tax payer money also.

    Here is a suggestion. We should send our president and his side kick Huckelberry Ding Dong. Call up Rummy. Then all of the congress that voted to give the president the power to get us into that "STUPID WAR". And let them fight with all of the convicts. It might teach them a thing or two.

    Ron K. San Diego

    April 7, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  61. Tom Carroll

    Sounds like a better ratio than the current administration and congress would need if they played by the same rules.

    Tom Carroll
    Germantown Hills, IL

    April 7, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  62. Robert Las Vegas,Nv.

    Lets go back to training as it was in the 50`s turn back to kick ass drill sergeants ,who demanded respect and received it.I was drafted along with people who were ,A POLIO VICTIM WITH A SHRUNKEN right shoulder,an accident victim,BLIND in one eye& a crippled hand. we got the job done. Bring back the draft with a two year time limit as soon as our troops are home...

    April 7, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  63. Don Blue Springs, Missouri

    Jack, that doesn't mean anything, just an attemp to degrade our military again. We have fought in many wars and a large number of the participates would have needed waivers in todays army. The question is about the war, don't bring the quality of our kids into it.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  64. MartaK-FL

    Oh come on, Jack. Why are you surprised by this? Who do you think joins the military.....pacifists?

    April 7, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  65. Ed Reed

    The problem is retention. The experienced people are leaving. One-half of West Point graduates, the highest rate in 30 years, chose to leave the service rather than re-up for more tours in Iraq. We're paying a heavy price in our security for Bush's war.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    April 7, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  66. Peter Pan Fairview, Texas

    Jack I think the answer to this is very simple. Americans have no problem fighting and dying for their own country. They are not crazy about the dying part but that comes with the job. Where the problem comes in is when American soldiers are asked to go and die for someone else's country without a clear and concise way to win. Fighting for what another country may or may not do with its own democracy is a lose lose proposition and is very discouraging. When the country you are fighting for does not want you there and after 5 years it can not stand on its own feet then perhaps it is time to cut your losses and head out. Iraq has been in one battle or another against its own people and others in the area for a thousand years. There is no magic wand to wave to end it. The time for fairy tales is over in Iraq. It is time to come back to reality and move on.

    April 7, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  67. Raul from kentucky

    I guess that John Kerry's controversial comments about students that do not enter college ending up in Iraq is not a complete lie after all. The fact is that the military is mainly composed of those that do not have other options, socially or financially; with some exceptions. That helps explain why most sons and daughters of our leaders do not join the military anymore. Political correctness is not always correctness.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  68. Chicago Bob

    It means when they get back after weapons training, they will be a greater danger to their neighborhoods.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  69. David - Brooklyn, NY

    I had two guys in basic training get waivers from a judge "Go to the Army or go to Jail". They both changed for the better and did their country a fine service.
    How about something on the great work the troops are doing and not a ding to some of the people whose pride got the best of them and decided to join...
    David

    April 7, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  70. wally rehmann in las Vegas

    now the truth comes out why they didnt want our southern boarders closed, bush needs them one why or another. why dont the bush twins saddleup

    April 7, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  71. Gigi in Alabama

    Jack, without a draft we will not be sending our best and brightest men and women to war. Most will be getting college deferments. Personally, I can't blame them either. Who wants to go to a place like Iraq and spill their blood for someone that does not want you there in in the first place.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  72. Raul from kentucky

    Classical of an unpopular war. The only way McCain will get his 100 yr war will be by reinstating the draft. I hope his supporters are willing to join the military, because other Americans will leave the country faster than Iraqies left Iraq when we occupied their country.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  73. MIKE A, CHARLOTTE,NC

    it's fine with me. they're used to being on the wrong side of the law or morality anyway so maybe they're doing us and themselves a favor. come to think of it, we should clean out all the prisons and jails, pack them up and send them to iraq. if they survive, they can come back with a clean slate and start over. with our revolving door system i doubt the change will be noticed.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  74. SAMANTHA JACKSON

    The army has always hired ex-cons, what's new!?

    April 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  75. James

    If Israel would give back the land they stole in the 60's and start treating the Palestinians as equals, then all the problems in the Middle East would magically disappear.

    James in Charlotte NC

    April 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  76. Bruce St Paul MN

    If our military continues to be used as a guardian for our corporate empirical adventures, then recruiting will continue to be a challenge. There is no such thing as a popular war, but there are many men and women who feel compelled to serve their country. If they are really only serving Lockheed-Martin, Halliburton, Bechtel, and Chevron, it will be a hard sell.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  77. Dottor Giorgio da Caltanisetta

    Jack, I love you, though I'm an intellectual in exile. Since the American public weren't capable of having George Bush and that Dick Cheney impeached, let's have an old fashioned tar and feathering! Yes, we need more discipline in America. We allow the killing of hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe, but we eliminate wonderful leaders like governor Spitzer of New York State for having sex with prostitutes. Though shalt not have sex, but though can kill for oil and corporate power. Shame on Republicans, even you Evangelicals! Your inaction to stop all the bloodshed is an heinous crime of omission. And Americans still wonder why most of the world hates the United States? The conduct of the U.S. government is in question here, not of outcast juvenile delinquents.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  78. Jerry

    McCain has erased all doubts about how dumb he is, how in the hell people in Arizona could elect this idiot a Senator is beyond me. If not for his father being an Admiral, he wouldn't have made it past a sailor that mopped the decks on a carrier. This useless war is not only costing us a fortune in money but not we are having to resort to recruiting hight school dropouts and drug users, guess we could empty the prisons and put them in the service as they are about the only ones left.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  79. Ray, Arkansas

    Is it possible that you could pick 8 of your collegues with spotless records? (This includes speeding tickets and yes even the public intox during a cop crashed party in college) FYI Felons are not eligble for conduct waivers. Jack, this isn't news, this has been pretty standards over two decades.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  80. Linda

    Add to that the $40,000.00 dollar bonuses in some cases, what drop out or behaviorally troubled individual wouldn't take the risk. But once in, that does not mean the behavior will change. Actually, now you've just legallized their penchant for violence by giving them an m-16 and sending them to Iraq. Don't get me wrong. The vast majority of our force are honorable, ethical men and women that we can and should be proud of, for serving our nation, in harm's way. But it still concerns me, that the standard has been lowered after we worked so hard for years to raise it.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  81. Dave in Astoria

    Jack, Wasn't that already made into a movie? "The Dirty Dozen"?

    April 7, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  82. Dan, Washington DC

    This is how it's always been. The Army takes the best and the brightest...and makes them officers. Most of the real work is done by whomever they can get to sign up for the infantry. It's not like this is some new revelation.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  83. Rosalynd

    You start a war of choice then manage it badly and you bet the majority of those folks willingly joining up for the fight will be slow, in trouble with the law, and have tendencies toward homicide. Not the way to make a fighting force in peace time or war. Most of these individuals that wouldn't make the cut in normal circumstances are going to cause some real problems for the army which typically tries to operate off of discipline and code.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  84. Alan, Buxton, Maine

    If this insane war continues much longer the Army will cease to exist so it won't be a problem. If we manage to get out of Iraq while there are still some soldiers alive and unmutilated the quality will continue to decline as a consequence of the failed educational system. The outsourcing of jobs and the reduction in wages due to the invasion of illegals makes the Army the only recourse for many of the dropouts. Great future don't you think?

    April 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  85. Tom in Houston

    Jack, One out of every eight new soldiers now requires a waiver? Thats not too bad. One out of every four of the civilian leadership in the Bush Administration are either war criminals or illegally enriching themselves from war profiteering.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  86. Ron

    Funny how Petraeus rhymes with Betray Us. What was the question again?

    April 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  87. rex the wonder horse

    It's a great opportunity for those who survive to get their lives back on track. I don't think that these young guys(the 1 in 8) count as "putting your best foot forward", however.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  88. Marie Grand Prairie, Tx

    It could spell trouble and shows that we have been at war too long. It shows that we need a plan of rotation for our troops so they don't get mentally and physically spent. The fault is not with our armed services, it is with our politicians and the decisions they made.

    As far as criminal offenses, depending on the severity of their criminal records, this may not be as bad as it seems. The military has a pretty good track record of turning young men's lives around. The one big exception is gang members. Gang members should never be allowed to serve in our military.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  89. Cesar Lozano

    As a former US Army recruiter during the elder Bush, We worked extremely hard to meet the GMA-GFA ( Graduate Male-Female Alpha) .These were quality recruits which had a excellent academic record and no prior issues with law enforcement. It was the directive from Recruiting command to enlist these type of people, and we were very good at it, the GED-Non school grad's were off the list, we had to turn them around, Just another reason why this war is worthless and destroying our country and US Military . The smart young law abbiding recruits that we could now have , have obviously choosen a different path.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  90. Michael, Marinette, WIsconsin

    Jack; If you were a Human Resource Manager of a Corporations would you hire someone with poor conduct skills? Yes so that you quickly fill your needs for a shortage of workers. Looks to me like you will have a compounded focus for side tracking attentions to missions and loss of complete loyalty for purpose of joining armed forces.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  91. Noreen

    Gee Jack, if one in eight people in an organization is a criminal is it a criminal organization, can one then reasonably expect it to engage in criminal behavior? At this rate, the whole military will be just like Blackwater. On the other hand maybe that's the real objective.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  92. Roy

    Now if we could make the Gangs in the US to join up we might win this war! OH yes send the illeagals over there instead of back to Mexico! Haul them out of out jails and put them on a troop plane. Show them what the best fighters in the US has to offer and keep our Best and Brightest here at home to keep their jobs.

    Roy-ID

    April 7, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  93. Charles in Florida

    Jack, its sad to say that one in eight looks poorly on the valiant all volunteer force. It may be a procees we will have to live with unless America's sons and daughters are returned to the draft in order to bring more educated troops to her defense. GOD Bless America, It's a sad day indeed!

    April 7, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  94. James P. from Washington State

    In the 60's even when the draft was in full swing, lots of young men might have had minor records or none at all depending on the local law enforcement. It was a time when the local and state police would handle things differently. I can recall being underage and with my friends being caught with beer. The policeman had us get out of the car, pour all our beer out and then threatened to tell our parents if he saw us within the next month - and sent us home.

    I also had a couple of friends that threw a firecracker into a rural mailbox and it required them back then to get a waiver before they joined (volunteered for the Army) in 1967.

    Now days, with all the laws being changed and all the litigation most infractions are written up which if on your record does require a waiver.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  95. earl illingsworth

    This is exactly why the "Draft " was dropped in the 80's? The law's of Probability, aren't in favor of these young enlisted soldiers today. Hospital's (Wounded & Amputee's) failing miserably to care for our injured. Equiptment (bulletproof vest shortages & Humm-Vee's inadequately armored) for simple protection against "Road Side Bombs",etc.,etc., the list goes on. Oh, did I forget to mention "The Sweetheart Deal with BLACK???, with their mercenaries getting "10 Times" the compensation of the front line enlistee. Remember,no one should commit suicide by going into battle ill prepared! My answer to your question ,Jack, just vents my frustration, because you,and I and most of the world knows, the "DRAFT" is coming to your community, and my neighborhood very soon.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  96. Karl in CA

    How about making it a negotiating point for plea bargains? 10 years in prison or 4 years in the Army. If you wash out of the Army you go to prison for the 10 years. Let judges make it part of their sentencing.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  97. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Simple, the draft. For those of us that were in the military during Viet Nam the numbers were also pretty high in these categories but there was a draft as well. They may be talking about reducing the tours from 15 to 12 months but how frequent will they be sent back? After 3 months being home and having their houses foreclosed or their spouses saying I've had enough. Get out in 3 months, not a year or 16 months.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  98. Steve

    Give it a rest. We are not accepting criminals or convicts (as stated above). We are making special consideration for people who have not completed thier HS diploma or may have had a mark on thier permanent record. I ask that people (you) reflect on your personal lives and those who you personally know. Take an honest look at education levels and permanent records. I would bet you personally know a HS dropout, someone who does drugs, drinks and drives, fails to pay restitution for child care, or maybe worse. The Army is nothing more than a representation of the US. Accept the fact the US is created by people like you. If not, or you think things should be otherwise, run for office. Last of all, make your opinion count by voting not just venting.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  99. sandy in Ohio

    I'm surpised to hear the military is willing to give waivers for crimanal behavior. My granddaughter was turned down by the Navy because she has a tatoo of a star about the size of a nickel, located behind her ear. It wasn't a great decision to get a tatoo and now this twenty year old was told no dice by the Navy until she can come up with the money to get it removed. This is a girl who never even had detention while in school and scored very high on her exam for the Navy. Makes no sense that drug users and the like can join the Army but a young girl from rural Ohio with a tatoo can't join the Navy. The lower standars will probably lead to more crimes committed while in uniform. Does Abu Grabi come to mind?

    April 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  100. James in Idaho

    Dear Jack,

    It says exactly that. 1 in 8 need a conduct waiver. Which is all well and good until you consider the fact that people with Asthma, who could at least do a desk job for their country, are denied entry, and fluent Arabic translaters are actually 'kicked out' just because they're gay.

    I'd say the current administration and it's military counterparts have a priority recognition problem. Oh well, just another sign of their political Alzheimers I guess.

    James in Idaho

    April 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  101. John in San Diego

    Jack, we are shipping our educational failures off to war. As the military troop carriers fly off to Iraq, Bush is finally ensuring that no child is left behind.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  102. GregoryYoung

    This means the Army is getting desperate, right after Nam ended, the Army just wanted someone that could breath to sign up. You don't have to be educated to fire a gun, just check out all the street gangster in the street today. Hey lets empty the prisons and send them to Iraq with no way back home unless they win the war, since McCain will keep us in Iraq 100 years. We could save some of that trillion dollars we are going to be spending in the next few years.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  103. Amy in NY

    It is obvious Jack. If a conduct waiver is required now just to help the thinning troops, the next step is the draft.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:36 pm |
  104. Gary D Rhodes

    The favorite to be the next "commander in chief " would need a waiver to get in.

    Spokane

    April 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  105. Mike, Ohio

    It’ll be fine as long as a Democrat takes the oval office and start repairing the strain the Bush Administration has put on our military. A Democratic President may not be able to a keep the promised timetable the give us for Iraq but maybe they might get the ball rolling and start nigotiating a plan with other regional powers as to how we can get our over deployed military out of a war we shouldn’t be in period.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  106. Amy in NY

    If a conduct waiver is required to help thinning troops, lets first start with a draft of the children of politicians who voted for this war. And if the politicians don't agree, let's end this war now and start bringing our troops home.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  107. obieze

    Jack,
    Just shut up. You can skew your questions as much as your CNN microphone allows you angainst Sen. Clinton. You already said you can't vote for her. You can continue to promote hegimonic male-dominated agenda. You can't stop the move for a female President no matter how much you try. The fact is that we all lie publicly and privately. When the Clintons lie nobody dies. But when Pres Bush and his yes men lie, 4,000 plus are dead with another more than 25,000 injured in the ill-fated military campaign in Iraq. After the Pennslyvenia primaries, you will eat your words, Jack. I have said this before Sen. Obama will be worse than Pres Carter who's doing better as a private citizen than he ever did as president.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  108. Steve, Martinez, California

    Those '"conduct waiver" numbers are probably similar to those we find in civilian occupations. I would venture a guess if we took a close look at college and professional athletes those numbers may even be higher. It's America's new demographic and it's getting worse.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  109. William

    I joined the Army with a GED in 2005, it wasn't for criminal behavior and I sure as hell didn't need a conduct waiver. I had my GED, because I dropped out of school to get a job and support my family. When 9-11 happened, I elected to support my family and my country.

    Having a Highschool diploma makes you no more of an American then someone without one.

    All this shows, is that since 1776 nothing has changed.

    Those of us on the "bottom of the barrel" have been the driving force of this country since the beginning. During the revolution, it was the country boys and (uneducated) labor, who fought to build this country.

    The news men, wealthly etc have always sat back on the side lines affraid to stand for what they believe in.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  110. Bob in Florida

    Maybe the intelligent "high school graduates" realize that working at McDonalds is infintely safer than working for the military. Chances of getting killed at McDonalds is one in 2.6 million, chances of getting killed in Iraq is one in 75. Do the math!

    April 7, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  111. Richard Sternagel

    Jack, while I understand the value of discipline in the Army, we are setting up a class system in the Army with conduct waivers and possibly a disproportion of the poor who can't find work . I think the young should required to give some national service i.e. Army, Peace Corp, teaching inner city public school children etc.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  112. Jim, NC

    The question is not how lowering the bar will impact the US military in the next 5 years, but it in the next 15. Eventually, the wars will end, and the armed forces will rebuild themselves to their previous professional status. Will we invest in these soldiers for full military careers, or will they be pushed out of the service when the bar is raised back up.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  113. Thomas

    Let's do some straight talk. Why would an intelligent person with a bright future want to enlist in the Army, of all the military branches, and put himself in harms way of an unjustified war? Add to that extended tours plus a forced re-enlistment and one, if any brains, has to scratch his head and think, is it really worth it? The economy has to sink to lower levels in order for the Army to lure the kind of talent it's seeking. When mommy and daddy are willing to put their kids through 4 years of college and possibly then some, support their kids into the late 20s, even early 30s, I don't think they're encouraging the kids to join the US Army. So the Army is not only getting the cold shoulder from the potential enlistees, but the parents as well. The irony of the situation is at least 33% are in favor of continuing the war....go figure.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  114. Randy James, Waverly, TN

    Protagonists in Shakespearean tragedies are identified by a corresponding fate they hoist upon themselves. So, for George "life is but a poor player, that frets and struts its hour upon the stage," MacBush, "Once more, into the breach!" "My kingdom for a horse!"

    April 7, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  115. Peter, San Diego, Ca.

    During the Viet Nam War the Army was drafting anyone who could shoot straight. A lot of the young people who servered were given a choise by a judge, "join the Army or go to Jail", so a lot joined the Army.
    If there was a draft now, do you really think this Iraq War would still be going on?, I think Not.... People would be marching in the streets like then did in the 70's. Most Wars are fought by the middle class and the poor people who don't have enough money to attend college or have a Dad or relative in politics who can get them out of it (i.e. George W. and Dick Cheney) Maybe there wouldn't be as much crime on the streets if they brought back the draft for EVERYBODY, rich and poor because if they had a draft, I'm sure we wouldn't still be in Iraq right now.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  116. Dan, Maryland

    Jack,

    Maybe the problem isn't the 1 in 8, maybe the problem is the new approach to world affairs. America has always been a successful isolationist country, the new neocon strategy of imperialism is the problem. If we didn't get involved as much in "world police" affairs we wouldn't have eighty percent of the country thinking we're moving in the wrong direction.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  117. Randy James, Waverly, TN

    "Shakespearean protagonists" are identified by bringing fate upon themselves, being masters of their own destinies, either by design or serendipity. So, for George "life is but a poor player," MacBush, "Once more, into the breach." "My kingdom for a horse."

    April 7, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  118. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    There IS no future with statistics like those.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  119. Bill in New London, CT

    I'm not worried about that statistic. I think the military is the perfect place for someone who has had some issues in the past to rehabilitate, mature, learn some life lessons, and come out a better person. In fact, one might argue that military service should be offered as an alternative to prison for some non-violent offenders who meet some criteria to ensure not just anyone is defending our country. With a shrinking military and growing jail population, we could solve two problems with one solution.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  120. Leslie

    The most criminal aspect of this is the government's eagerness to send troubled youth – and those who are not – to become the modern equivalent of cannon fodder. I served in the military myself, and think it offers young people who don't have many good options an excellent opportunity to make something of themselves and their lives. But it is shameful to merely exploit our most vulnerable and desperate, which is what seems to be the case nowadays. If these young men and women do straighten out their lives and manage to get through multiple tours of duty with their minds and bodies intact, I would hope that we will do right by them in the end. But, I'm not all that hopeful, unfortunately.

    April 7, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  121. Brian

    Jack,

    The all-volunteer army is a perfect reflection of a democracy. If a president and/or a war cannot garner enough support from new recruits to continue, then either the war needs to stop or the leadership needs to change. What we've got here is a war that no one wants to fight, but that leaders demand we continue to wage.

    So we remove the barriers to enlistment, we lower the standards for soldiers and we increase the benefits for joining. Yet the military is still desperate for new recruits and has begun employing coercive tactics on younger and less educated high school students in hopes they can lure a few more in without having to offer more.

    But what the Bush Administration needs to realize is that we don't need more benefits for joining, we don't need more recruiters in more high schools and we don't need to keep tarnishing our military with ignorant, uneducated law-breaking Americans just to maintain a war that the country doesn't support in the first place. It's been time to bring the troops home for a while now and I'm wondering if Bush will ever realize this, even after he's gone.

    Brian
    Idaho

    April 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  122. Annie, Atlanta

    An out of control military that goes hand in hand with an out of control administration, maybe? What's that old saying about reaping what you sew. In how many other areas is this government accepting sloppy seconds, and how will we all pay for it ultimately.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  123. steveo of barstow

    With the up and coming Bush depression ready to hit us at any momment, all those wall street jumpers can wear jump boots and join the army. Bear Streans may have 7,000 avaible today, send the recruiters fast Mr.President. That will seriously give the military a better educated soldier.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  124. E Shah

    Since Senator McCain is determined to continue an open-ended war in Iraq and since by all reports our army is exhausted and new recruits are hard to get, are Americans willing to vote in favor of an obvious need for a mandatory draft in order to win in Iraq? I don't think so.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  125. MadPlato

    The future is now.
    Our entire military is getting more broken by the surging second.
    It is no surprise that the Army needs to recruit citizens from the criminal class, or that fewer and fewer recruits are high school graduates.
    What you have failed to mention is the high number of Latinos who have been recruited to fight in Bush's criminal war.
    As long ago as 2003 the Miami Herald reported, "Of the 60,000 immigrants in the U.S. military, about half are non-U.S. citizens. More than 6,000 Marines are non-U.S. citizens, with the largest group - 1,452 - from Mexico. At least five Mexican-born soldiers have been killed in Iraq and several other Latinos have died, too."
    You also don't mention how citizenship is being used as a recruiting tool aimed specifically at young immigrants,
    Our current president got a conduct waiver and then became the Dictator-I mean the Decider-so the Army has a good example to follow.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  126. Karl in CA

    To Randy James in TN: We don't need the entire horse, we already have the back half.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  127. David Hollands

    Why not ask an intelligent question like: How many of these waivered soldiers are completing their term of enlistment? That might actually provide some useable information to form an opinion about their quality as soldiers. How about asking how many of these soldiers have won Bronze or Silver stars during their service? The unmentioned tragedy is that 70% of all 18-24 year olds in the US are unfit for military service without a waiver (medical, moral, or educational). The ability to defend ourselves is falling upon a shrinking pool of eligible young people, who the military compete to recruit vs. colleges and employers who also want these top candidates. Soldiers that make it to Basic training are among the top third of American young people and prove their mettle every day in miserable places around the world. Thank them for their service the next time you meet one!

    April 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  128. Vince Carson City, Nevada

    It says we are holding out recruits to the standard that Bush has set for the Presidency.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  129. Steve in Minnesota

    During my basic training days (Vietnam era) several members of our platoon had been given the choice "Army time or Jail time". I never encontered any problems with them. Maybe we could "kill two birds with one stone" by making the same deal with young inmates today.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  130. Amnesty is Treason

    it means less criminals in washington pretending to do the peoples business!

    April 7, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  131. Giselle Evans

    Considering how negatively errors in judgment can effect young people and follow them around for life, I think that it's great that the Army is willing to work with such people and help them get their lives on a constructive and productive path.

    I think that it takes a real commitment to change for a person to be willing to put their life on the line for their country. I do think that there needs to be careful screening and mentoring to make sure that these individuals don't make mistakes similar to those that necessitated a waiver in the first place. But I loved that Dirty Dozen movie and I think that most people, when given a chance to redeem themselves from past mistakes would be willing and grateful for the opportunity.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  132. Jack K, Fort Myers

    The only thing that grows during a recession–is government!!! To counteract the economic trends–politicians throw money at the problems–more programs, more bail outs, larger lines for entitlement programs, and larger lines at the military recruiter's office.

    The one's who do get in that are keepers will do O.K.–the ones who can't adapt will be drummed out or forced to seperate because they are not promotable.

    Unlike other areas of government, like our Congress for example, the military doesn't tolerate incompetence and nonadherence to a higher standard of conduct.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  133. steve k from scappoose or

    Jack,
    1 in 8? Has anyone looked into the ratio of waivers given to the morons that are keeping us there. The army will be fine when we get out of Iraq. What educated individual would throw themselves into this mess

    April 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  134. Mark Stephens

    Conduct waivers!? They are a good idea. I was considering an officers commision. I needed a conduct waiver for a few curfew violations I got in middle school.

    The problem could be the US legal system 1:100 incarcerated and many many dumb laws

    April 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  135. Linda

    Is it any surprise that not everyone is rushing in to volunteer? Let’s consider how we treat our military personnel. Give them the best protection possible when they go to war? No, it’s too expensive. Treat the wounded personnel with compassion and fairness? No, clearly our leaders do not believe that our soldiers deserve proper medical treatment when they become injured and are not able to serve in combat missions – a recent example, the young man who sustained head trauma and was declared only 10% disabled. Provide soldiers who are returning with emotional problems the necessary support they and their families need? No, they are pretty much on their own. So, it is easy to see why people are not standing in line to join. Maybe if they look at some of these issues it might help.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  136. Fernando Perez, San Francisco, CA

    Most of these young men made mistakes so I dont think it has to do with that but more with we are streched thin and wont be able to defend ourselves if someone would attack us now .

    April 7, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  137. Krzysztof (Christopher) Nowak

    Dear Jack:
    I fail to see a diffrence between the Democratic candidates for president and the Republican candidate. They appear to be like three stooges that are trying to fool the voters on the economy and the war in Iraq. Their solution to these problems is to print more money, borrow more from China in order to spend the taxpayers' money without any end. I am again going to vote independent as I have voted for the past thirty-five years.
    Chris from New Jersey

    April 7, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  138. Anna

    Clintons should donate their money to real charitable use and not their own charity and keep the money there – what kind of charity is this. Those kind of charity should be outlaw. Bill Clinton should take lesson from Jimmy Carter and work to make different in people's lifes not just collect millions of dollars from fat cats.

    On Columbian trade deal – If our business is only interested in driving our wages down by outsourcing then this deal will not help us or Columbia. I am just interested what we will send to Columbia when I go shopping and the only things that I can find are made in China.

    There was representative I think from Califormia that said that SONY telefisions were made in USA. I am not sure if this is correct.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  139. mikeytherhino

    The Future Looks Just fine.

    It doesn't matter where the Men we have in our army are from, or what they've done in the past, so Long as they Go out there and Kick some ass. Which, it seems, they do. You can complain about the Quality of Troops we get if we lose a war because our men fail to do their jobs. That hasn't happened. Leadership has failed, The men and women of our armed forces haven't.

    Mike, From Staten Island, New York

    April 7, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  140. Lou

    Jack this is not to besmerch the good soldiers who have been lied to by ths administration and a few in congress butwhat wouldn you expect from a gvernment who hasn't had a legally elected president in 8 years. I wonder how the troops feel that they may be working along side some one who could sell them out for acarton of cigarettes just another example we need a leader with a higher standard of Patriotism we need Obama and we need him yesterday!!!

    April 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  141. Sue

    The U.S. military faces an ever dimmer future as it accepts more people that would be rejected without a waiver of poor prior conduct. I have long felt that only soldiers over 25 years old should represent our country abroad. If that can be achieved only with a draft, so be it, for men and women alike.
    Sue
    TAcoma, WA

    April 7, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  142. Cecelia

    Jack, i've been waiting for this day. I knew once the GOP new they were going to be facing Obama they would throw in Condelezza Rice. I am both black and a woman and see that move just for what it is. Do they think that Americans have had their noses and ears barried for the past seven years. Rice has done nothing with were position as Sec. of State or as National Security Advisor and she was and still one of George Bush's closes sidekicks. I remember well the hearings leading to the war and she was right there with all the fabricated intelligence. Someone inform the GOP this is not going to help them and will backfire in a big way.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  143. Greg from Mechanicsburg, PA

    I think that giving a person a second chance at getting their life straight is an outstanding idea. Let’s get the young kids out of prison and into the strict regimen of marine or army training. It will turn their world around and give them a chance to get out of hell.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  144. Ed

    Hi Jack,
    Some fifty years ago I was one of those one-in-eight and can tell you what our military leaders are saying is true. The military provides a venue for young people to grow and be succesful; the fact that a small percentage fall below the "best" standard is nothing to be excited about. The alternative -which I would support – is a return to the draft! Some people have complained we are at war but only our military is feeling the pain, others see very few fat-cat kids signing up. If this is so serious everyone needs to pitch in either be volunteering or draft!
    Have a great day!

    April 7, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  145. Tony,.......Lou, Ky.

    Jack.....It proves that convicts and immoral people want to help protect our country more than the "hip-hop...MTV" mentality kids we raise today! The kids we raise today are accustom to having things their way, and not ordered around. They have no idea what disipline is... At least these recruits know how to take orders and follow them.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  146. Don, Michigan's Upper Peninsula

    Jack, I retired from the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in 2002 as a telecommunications specialist. The recruiting problem then isn't as severe as it is now. Even back then, waivers were granted to some young men and women so they could enlist – it was all about the Commanding General meeting quotas. If the quotas were not met, bye-bye General, and it trickled down to the recruiters in the field.
    My guess is that instead of a ratio of 1:8 requiring waivers, that it is more like 4:8. None of the services want deadbeats.
    My suggestion? Take some of the "soft-core" criminals out of jail, assign them to a special unit of the U.S. Marine Corps for training. The Marine Corps would kick their collective butts, and train them right, give them the discipline they need, and make them give something back. Those who survive a 4-year enlistment in the USMC -with no problems, would be given an Honorable Discharge, and their criminal records expunged. Jack, just think of the cost savings to us, the American taxpayer. But what politician would buy this idea? Probably none. Why? Because it makes too much sense, Jack!

    April 7, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  147. John Smith

    I am a veteran and have had some issues that would require a waiver, that doesn't mean I am not honest, loyal, and hard working. Don't be so quick to judge unless you know every single "1 of 8" waiver's is a person that can't postively represent the United States of America and our military.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  148. ilene

    condi should go back to her former job-–on the board of chevron--no joke!!!!! and pay the usa back for the horrible eight years of "nothing"

    April 7, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  149. James in Idaho

    Dear Jack,

    I’d say the current administration and it’s military counterparts have a priority recognition problem. Consider the fact that people with Asthma, who could at least do a desk job for their country, are denied entry, and fluent Arabic translaters are actually ‘kicked out’ just because they’re gay.

    Oh well, just another sign of their political Alzheimers I guess.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  150. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    One can always hope that the military will help these young men and women to grow up. Going to the Army after getting in trouble is not new. Some judges used to wave jail time if a person would sign up for the military. The judges must have courts filled with eager enlistees.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  151. Mike from Syracuse NY

    Jack,
    The military has always been a place where someone could get a fresh start. How many judges have given some kid who made a mistake the choice between enlisting or jail time? It's not an ideal situation, but the vast majority come out of the military better people than when they went in, whether or not they started with a waiver. I suspect that if the economy keeps going down, the quality of recruit will go up.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  152. Kerry in Fort Worth, Texas

    Let me ask you a question Jack...What was the waiver, if there was one during our involvement in Vietnam? None because of the draft! Did anyone cry about it then? And to answer your question... my brother in the early 1980's would have required what is called the "waiver" to join the Navy today, but all these years later he is still serving proudly and has moved from a basic Seaman to a Commander on an aircraft carrier. The waiver doesn't bother me, it's what the armed services can do when a young person is given a real chance that is important.

    April 7, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  153. Gale Burns

    Given how hard it is for young people to get jobs in this economy, the army gives many of them the ability to get some discipline and experience that may give them a leg up in the future. And it gives some of the young people who might get lost - and who certainly would not be high on anyone's list to hire - a chance.

    New York City

    April 7, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  154. Coady - Winter Springs, FL

    Jack,

    Bring back the draft. The "sofa Generals" like 5 time deferment Cheney will be very reluctant to send their children to fight wars. Seriously, if this is the battle royale then it should be all hands on deck.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  155. Jennifer Collins

    Jack: This really is a difficult question to answer without being labelled as upatriotic and someone who doesn't support the troops. The majority of the men and women serving in the armed services are brave and heroic. However, because of the problems with recruiting there are a lot bad apples in uniform, including racists, criminals, and rapists. By recruiting these criminals soldiers, marines and sailors are in more danger then usual.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  156. L.M.,Arizona

    When you have a failure of leadership it effects everything I don't think today's army is nothing but a reflection of today's society. The army has been put in a terrible position and have done well. Once the leadership of the country catches up to the army the army will do just fine.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  157. John George

    Dear Jack:
    Why is it always the people in our country who have never served anything but their own interests who always worry about 'riff-raft' getting into our army? As a combat veteran and former JD who was given the choice of jail or army service, I'll tell you what's going to happen:

    We will continue to train and field the best armies in the history of warfare

    because our armies have always been manned by people who aren't quite cut out for a 'normal' life, that's why!

    April 7, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  158. Jean Binder

    It means that the failures of our parents and our schools will be foisted upon the officers who must try and accomplish something with damaged goods.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  159. John

    If we were fighting a REAL war there would be no problem getting qualified recruits. But young people can see through this war for greed (oil).

    April 7, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  160. Norman Elliott

    Not bad, if the waiver was required for congressmen and senators it would be much higher
    norm

    April 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  161. Joe Kuhl

    I dont know about you, but sounds like the kind of Army I would want to go and defend me. They're soldiers, not mortgage brokers...how many of them would need conduct waivers??

    April 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  162. debo adejobi

    More Abu Graib, what else.............
    austin, tx.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  163. Jeremy in Victorville, CA

    Until we see solutions to the dismal state of American education and the American job market, I say thank God the struggling youth of this country have somewhere to go. At least they'll learn to be disciplined and patriotic.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  164. Dan

    Jack,

    Finally we will achieve a balance in the US. A country that is run by criminals will be defended by criminals. Perhaps you should break a few laws so we can have a trifecta. Ruled, guarded and editorialized buy criminals.

    Dan

    April 7, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  165. Anonymous in Chicago

    I'm 22, I considered joining the armed forces several times. I can't join because I have asthma that is fully controlled with preventative medications. It makes me mad that I cannot join in a non combat role because of my medical conditions but then we allow people with criminal histories to join? That's absurd.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  166. Don

    Jack,
    It means that the people with means are of course not going into the military. With the VP now reminding everyone that this is a volunteer Army, he is trying to take the blame of off Bush and Rumsfelt for the horrors of this war. It also means we are getting skinheads, white supremists, and radicals of the type that like blowing up federal buildings. Jack, the enemy won't follow us home, we give the orders to come back home with all the training they need. Check out some right wing web sites to see what they say about it.
    Don,
    Moline Illinois

    April 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  167. Sanjay Matken

    I have heard from a few army recruiters that Armed forces have been so desperate for fresh recruits, they over look small criminal background,gang affliation signs (read tattos) routinely, so they can fill up the quotas. When you send a bunch of bad apples into a war zone, all you can expect back are a bunch of rotton apples.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  168. ed ruddle

    More friendly fire, more headlines over prisoner abuse, not a good situation

    April 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  169. Glory

    Well Jack, they have to get them from somewhere. If the war continues, maybe they can try the local prisons. I heard Mr McCain speaking about increasing the military in the future, where does he plan on getting these people from? Is there a possibility of the draft?

    April 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  170. Dan Glucksnis

    It is sad to see how many of those young people are being recruited from low-income level inner city young people. The schools are failing, the students don't graduate, and the best way out is the Military.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  171. Nicole Fairfax, VA

    I am an active duty Army Officer and I already see an issue with the moral fiber of these new soldiers. I have been in a while and hold the Army values to be true for myself. I do not see the military getting better and being an Army of one with this new policy. Waivers are fine but when it comes to criminals I do not agree. We need to know we can trust the people fighting beside us. So far I'm very unhappy with what I am seeing!

    April 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  172. Lt. Edward

    As an officer in the United States Military I can tell you that the young men and women that I lead into combat are some of the finest young men and women this country has. I know that some of them have a past that has to be accounted for before they can join and serve there country. The military offers these young men and woman a chance to put that past behind them and do something great, serve there country and better themselves. Does this mean that it always works for the best, No, No it does not, sometimes these individuals make mistakes again, and are punished for there actions, but for those who make no mistakes, and change there lives, it truly is the greatest honor in the world to lead them!

    April 7, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  173. David

    .....it means 7 out of 8 don't need one!

    April 7, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  174. Kevin

    Jack,

    As a former recruiter I see the problem with enlisting soldiers who are not qualified. The incidents of crime go up, the quality of soldiers suffer and alot dont progress. Look at the recent incident in Japan

    April 7, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  175. Ron Feuer

    Jack, the future of the US military with reference to education is a failure of a fluke. With the education of soldiers not reaching the level of high school graduate, we are doomed. These recruits do not know up from down. If this practice of recruiting non-high school graduates continues, the Iraq War will be a total loss. We need to extract the idiots now there as soon as possible to prevent what might be termed as the Bush level IQ soldier. ie...the Blind leading the blind.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  176. Johnnie

    it means that problems like the incidents in Iraq, Guam, and Japan will most likely occur more frequently. If this country wants to continue the policies that increase the likelihood of military conflict, then it needs to get serious about recruiting and training the forces necessary to insure successful prosecution of its military campaigns.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  177. BG

    Dear Jack,
    I am a concerned mother of a son in the military, I'm curious. Will Senator McCain consider bringing back the draft because of the condition that the military is in? All parent's should know what his intentions are. Don't you think?

    Bonnie
    Philadelphia, Pa.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  178. Shelley Garcia

    It makes perfect sense to me, Jack. Arm and train for combat the criminal element in the US. Isn't that exactly what we're doing in the Middle East with the Shias or Sunnis, or whoever the flavor of the week is? This administration will arm and train everyone and anyone, without any thought as to what they might do after (or during, for that matter) their time in the military. It's consistent with teaching those who hate America how to fight, The American Way. God help us all.
    Shelley
    Cortez, CO

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  179. Scooter

    Although One in Eight seems shocking how does that compare to any ordinary job filled across the US. I think major league sports would be even worse than the army if drug use was deemed as needing a conduct waiver. How about your business?

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  180. Shane

    Dear Mr. Cafferty, I guess this statistic shows the desperation of the US Army to attract recruits. Unless the taxpayers are willing to pay for drastically increased compensation while we are waging war, this trend is likely to continue. But sir, please do not confuse a voluntary enlistee with a conduct waiver to be a person without morals, or coming from "the bottom of the barrel". We are all human beings, none being perfect, including those who are at the top of our chain of command. A DUI is certainly a breach of many codes of conduct. ANY volunteer has my respect.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  181. Keith

    I will have served 5 years in the military in August and new recruits are taking a rough turn, more and more 18 year old brand new soldiers come in with medical conditions that make them undeployable, and training is getting easier and easier, just trying to push soldiers thru. When I first joined in 2003 about 30% of the people who i went thru MEPS with, were not able to join and out of the 72 that were in my basic training platoon only 60 graduated. Now it seems as long as you can walk in the graduation ceremony you pass and it forces the units to have to instill the discipline in these soldiers.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  182. Steve

    While I am all for the members of our military thinking for themselves, it is my experience that people with conduct issues often cause problems for those around them; I don't want people getting killed because the person they're supposed to rely on couldn't handle the pressure. If the military is that desperate for new recruits, perhaps they should increase incentives and actually abide by their contracts. Every recent soldier I've known has warned against joining the military because they jerk you around and don't honor their end of the contract.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  183. Anthony M. Alba

    Jack, what is means is that we are recruting small thiefs, training them to kill and when they are discharged by the Army they will be full criminals, ready to kill anyone in civilian life.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  184. roger dowdle lockhart, tx

    I am retired military, and I knew several people who served and/or retired who needed waivers to get into the military- lukily for them the vietnam war was on and cannon fodder was needed. A lot of people's lives were "turned around" because of military discipline. All that I knew went on to get GED's and at least some college. Learning to follow rules and that there were consequences for breaking them was beneficial! Others that I knew who got out after 3-4 years at least had an appreciation of freedom, and had matured during that critical period. Each generation faces a whole band of new laws that the previous generation had gotten away with ignoring. Things my father laughed about doing, I would have ended up with a record over, and things i did, my kids would have been arrested for, etc. Either resort to the draft again, or learn to work with the available pool. The current age group has skills that place them in a position to succeed- computer skills, etc

    April 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  185. kenneth Hribar

    Jack,sorry to say this practice has been going on for a long time. When I enlisted in the Navy back in 72, it was popular for the court judges to give a small time criminal a choice.......join the military or go to jail. It stopped for awhile with the all volunteer military, but never really went away. The fact that it's more prevalent now is because it is now more noticeable because of less volutary enlistment.

    Ken
    Mt. Clemens Mi.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  186. Tim Grace

    It's nothing new. The Army has been an alternative to men on the cusp of good and bad. During The Viet Nam war the U.S. Courts offered men Army terms or prison for there crimes. The military can tern a mans life around for the better. I'm sure The U.S Army is better able to rehabilitate than our jail system. I'm sure they aren't giving blank waivers to rapist or murderers.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  187. Jacob

    Jack,

    The US military is the best criminal reformer on the face of the planet. I say they should grant more conduct waivers. It will reduce the number of crime-minded people on our streets. In fact, why not put Elliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and Kwame Kilpatrick in the military to reform them. Maybe then our government could actually get something done.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  188. Mary Carnegie, Ok.

    It simply means that most young Americans know that this war is wrong and do not want to risk their lives or health for it. The ones that are enlisting hope to get a college education out of it, that is if they come home healthly. Joining the military at this time is definitely not about patriotism. This was has not made America any safer and has damaged our credibility around the world.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  189. ray vanblaricom

    The fastest way to end this war is to reinstitute the draft lottery. Every state has a latent draft comission no matter how active. Draft a few US oil executives grand sons and daughters and the movement to enslave the Iraqi petroleum industry would go up in a puff of sand.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  190. John Ohlson

    I'm not that concerned with the conduct waivers, a lot of young men have made choices that got them in trouble of some kind. I wonder how many men should have gotten in trouble but didn't get caught. I think the military can do theses men some good it did my son.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  191. James Newton

    Jack, with a 1 in 8 troop waiver for moral or other turpitude infringements, I see the Dirty Dozen all over again to the nth degree. Who knows, maybe that's what it will take.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  192. Jared

    Jack,

    Picture this... your in a forien land reporting on a story and suddenly your in grave danger of being kidnapped. A US Soldier jumps into action, and saves your life. Would you really care if he was a felon or not? I think not. I think then you might actually say THANK GOD THE US MILITARY ALLOWS FELONS. Come on Jack admit it.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  193. JOHN WILSON

    Jack, although I am against the war in Iraq, as an ex-marine I believe all of our youth should serve at least 4 years before college. I think it biulds caracter, furthermore, it should be mandatory for troubled youth. Take the gangbangers and other idiots that have nothing else to do and put them in a uniform teach them some discipline and team work and then maybe they can wakeup while in a controlled environment.

    John from california p.s. I'm black

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  194. Dean Morrell

    Not good, this is what happens when only a small portion of the nation is willing to serve their country. Great nations in the past have disappeared or declined when either their citizens refused to serve, fight or both. Perhaps the solution would be to ask Sen. Obama if one of his own generals Jack "i attack Hillary" Cafferty could lend his own expertise of waging media guerilla warfare to bring our army into the 21st century mode of combat.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  195. CR Haygood, North GA

    Lets make good use of all the people we have in US prisons. Thugs, armed robbers, gang members, and all criminals (except the ones insane) could be put to good use doing what they do best. Oh, and don't forget illegal alien's. That should be the penalty of coming here illegally. If they love this country so much that they come here illegally, let em prove it by fighting for it.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  196. Yasir

    Greetings & Peace. I fail to see the relation or if the first concept affects the suspects. Nevertheless, addressing a mess starts with analysis of premises. The future is an adventure if the abbreviature is in couture.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  197. Jeremy McVicar

    As a former service member I say with conviction that it will result NOT in a lesser ability to conduct warefare or training but result in far greater disshonorable/other than honrable disscharges before their end of active duty dates. Many of these disscharges will be because of neglegence, and conduct on becoming by drug use and other crimes. The average individual who gets in on a "conduct' waiver, particularly for drugs and crimes, will certainly resort to the same behavior and will socialize him/herself with others of the same type. Another negative affect is the loss of moral among all enlisted due to these individuals they are letting in on conduct waivers.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  198. Nick

    when we start inducting criminals into the army and shoving weapons in their hands, who can say we can trust these people? how will we control them? going down the road of enlisting criminals is a dangerous prospective for the future, what if we start commuting prison sentances for killers and rapeists into military service? it may solve one problem of overpopulation in prisons but it would create another problem of releasing now skilled military trained killers back into the population at the end of their tour of duty.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  199. Sue Filutze

    So now were down to "a few good crooks", if that"s the case we can start drafting a whole lot of politicians.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  200. Mark Johnson

    A great war leaves the country with three armies – an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves. ~German Proverb

    Jack, one day the troops will come home, but what will happen then? We are training criminals.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  201. Kathleen Parker - Knoxville, TN

    Jack,
    We should just stream-line this system and have the army go directly to the penitentiary to do its recruiting. If we want to reverse this situation, either get out of Iraq or get all those who back Bush and this war to send their children – then they can really support the troops!

    April 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  202. Richard Allinger

    The abundane of waivers is not only distressing it is disgraceful. I have been a member of the US Army for 22 years – active and reserve – I served in Iraq all of 2004 and I have a masters degree. The biggest issue with waivers is one of trust. The most important and binding element of survival in combat is the inherent trust one must have with his/her "battle buddy". I for one would like to know that my battle buddy is not a felon, druggie, or otherwise lacking in character. For when the rockets and mortars are flying nothing matters more than protecting the one next to you. If that time comes and the one next to you has bolted because of a lack of character and committment what will become of those in the foxhole. Soldiers must live by the foxhole theory. That is, "would you be comfortable in foxhole with this person?"

    Once again the failed policies of this administration and the evil war we are stuck in are reflected in the fact that recruiters must scrape the muck in hopes of finding one that sticks. It is a sad day indeed.

    RJA

    April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  203. greg

    Jack we are somewhat filling that need with paid security forces in Iraq,Blackwater and others. Is not the Iraq army trained by us and I'm pretty sure we are paying for their service. We will do what other countries have done in the past. The British with Hessians during the Revoluanry war. The Romans enlisted many of the soliders their armies conqured into their Armies. Jack we have many illeagles in the us just arrest them and force them into the srevice? Kills two birds with one stone. We have many problems in this country and this is just another chapter

    April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  204. Jim

    It would be appropriate for the military to get in line with the Department of Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency with regard to their hiring practices. The military security requirements are more stringent and focus on blanket standards which can weed out the most qualified and educated people; while the individuals hired will be trusted with less valuable information. The emphasis on past mistakes rather than current qualifications leaves the military short on talent and intelligence in the long run.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  205. Erik

    The future is bleak. I personally am attempting to enlist in the Army reserves, and the waiver check has directly impacted my enlistment due to petty charges from over 12 years ago. I think trouble is on the horizon when you have a person willing to enlist and have to wait over 3 months.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  206. Taylor of PA

    It has the same outlook as this country, children are not graduating from high school, criminals are walking the streets, our current government has it's own personal agenda. The standards have changed. My son will soon be leaving for basic training with the National Guard. He is a college graduate and if more young men would follow in his footsteps this country would be in much better shape. The young people of this country must be raised with a sense of pride and dignity. Where and when did things go so wrong?

    April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  207. venkat

    Jack,

    Can anybody realise the long term implications of waivers of conduct for military recruits?

    We are training criminals to be more efficient in combat.What will happen after the war.I hope some statesman in washington realises what can happen in long term future ,if there is any statesman left in Washington.

    God save the country. Venkat

    April 7, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  208. James W. Maxey

    I was a Army recruiter for nine years and I put people in who needed a waiver and they made good soldiers. I put in hundred of soldiers and only one soldier got kick out. And when that soldier came home and he came to see me and apologize for doing what I told him. As for as high school grads they are no smarter than drop outs. High school grads has a lower standard score to get in as to drop outs they are required to make a higher score on the test. Who would you prefer have people with higher score or the person with a lower score. Drop out score higher than high school grads more than 65% of the time.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  209. T. Clifton

    Jack, This shouldn't even be an issue. We should have line around the corner trying to get into the Armed Forces Recruiting Office. Standing in it should be everyone of Military age who supports the forein policy decisions of this adminstration. Fill the ranks with fine upstanding conservative and well educated American sons and daughters.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  210. a.flores

    This reminds me of a war movie from the 60"s ,called "The Dirty Dozen".,I hope it doesn't get thats not the future of our military forces !

    April 7, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  211. Just me

    Pitfiul. Thanks to the war that should have never been started our military is broken, any body seems to be accepted, benefits for veterans are cut, jobs lost, morale is at a all time low, suicides rates at an all time high,families broken and the administration could care less about our valuable military. With the outrageous adminstration no wonder education is suffering–they are only expected to go and do whatever our draft dodger decider decides.

    April 7, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  212. MILES SHAW

    I'm a former Detroit police officer, no arrest record with commendations for my service. I'm healthy as a horse and recently went to enlist into the Army and was told that because of a childhood illness, which medical documentation shows no longer exists, I was denied entry, with advice to write my state Senator for assistance. How rediculous that I am told to beg to fight for my country given the state of our armed forces, and when American troops are so bady in need of relief and replacement. It is no wonder that we are loosing this war at the expense of brave men and women who are replaced with criminals. Reminds you of the Dirty Dozen, just without mission success!

    April 7, 2008 at 6:22 pm |