Wednesday, April 23, 2008


According to an article in Tuesday's local paper, the Marines and the Army are taking into their ranks more felons than ever in their history. As a "second chance" guy, I think it is not a bad thing; many of these guys committed crimes in their youth; much of it was sexual, underage kids having sex with other consenting underage kids. After intense screening, why not give these kids a shot.

Unfortunately, it appears that the motivation is not "another chance" rather meeting recruiting goals. Recruiting is becoming more difficult based on the war in Iraq and especially a lack of encouragement from parents to join up, i. e., thus felons who under normal circumstances wouldn't get a chance, now do.

I really get concerned on where the military is heading and is this "more felons" symptomatic of larger problems? The Volunteer Army has been sold to the public to such a degree that there seems to be no question as to simply accepting that it is here to stay. There are at least larger questions, i. e., is our mercenary Army in a position to sustain two wars and be ready for whatever might come. I don't think so.

In the wonderful movie, Young At Heart, a documentary about a bunch of older folks who are developed into a first class musical ensemble--there's one scene that speaks to second chances. They go to a prison to sing. The prison is peopled with all these young adults, whose lives have gone to hell in a hand basket. Why not give them another chance in the military? In this case, we must trust the military to be on top of this potentially explosive issue. We want soldiers who often have the sorts of personalities that don't seem to fit the normal population, i.e., war is no day at the beach. It is about killing, it is war.

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