Army Enlists More Felons

The AP reports that the US Army has this year enlisted nearly double the number of convicted felons as last year. The Pentagon is said to believe that a “thorough” review can overturn prior convictions:

For example, in several of the Marine sex crime cases, the offender was a teenager involved in consensual sex with another underage teen. In one Army case, a 13-year-old who threw a match into his school locker was charged with arson and had to receive a felony waiver six years later.

“Waivers are used judiciously and granted only after a thorough review,” said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington.

He added that “low unemployment, a protracted war on terror, a decline in propensity to serve,” and the growing reluctance of parents, teachers and other adults to recommend young people go into the military, has made recruiting a challenge.

Who would have thought the Army would be leading the way in consensual sex rights? I mean what if it had been same sex? Something tells me in that case they might say rules are rules.

Ok, so a kid threw a match into a locker. The question is what flammable or explosive material was in the locker. I don’t think you can judge such a situation on the lighting mechanism alone, can you?

I understand most of the reasons for recruiting challenges that are mentioned, and they are certainly hard to measure, but does he really mean to say unemployment is low? A quick check of the “Employment Situation Summary” at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests high unemployment:

The number of unemployed persons increased by 434,000 to 7.8 million in March, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 5.1 percent. Since March 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 1.1 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.7 percentage point.

The unemployment low in the US was around 3.5% in 2000, according to the Sacramento Forecast Project but now it is clearly trending above 5%. Kennedy once said that full employment is 4%, but I just don’t see what the Pentagon spokesman is pointing towards.

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