Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do Ask, Do Tell

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Timothy Kincaid has written an interesting post about the types of people the U.S. military will employ. Five years into a war with no foreseeable end in sight, the U.S. armed services are suffering low enlistment rates. To boost the sagging numbers, the Pentagon has relaxed some of its recruitment policies and begun allowing hundreds of convicted felons to enlist.

Timothy remarks at the strange paradox that convicted felons are considered fit for duty while gay people with no criminal records are not. Moreover, the Pentagon is actively discharging trained, capable gay Americans from the service.

So you can't be gay and serve, but you can have committed a whole slew of bad things and serve--a disturbing list of nasties including
  • manslaughter
  • kidnapping or abduction
  • rape, sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, incest or other sexual crimes
  • indecent acts or liberties with a child
  • terrorist threats including bomb threats
You can find the complete list of convictions that are acceptable for military service (and the number of convicted felons in each category who are presently serving in each branch of the military) online here, courtesy of the House Oversight Committee. It's a stunning list!

I should point out that, according to the House Oversight report, the Air Force stands alone as the one branch of the military that continues to reject felons from service.

Hat tip: Box Turtle Bulletin

1 comment:

Brandon said...

This is sad. It really is.

I worked with a guy last year who had been in Iraq and after listening to him tell about some of the soldiers' behaviors toward the Iraqis and others, it's no wonder so many people around the world hate us. "Yeah, we'll send rapists and child abusers over your way to fight a war of aggression against you, but oh yeah, please be sure to love us in the process." It's just ludicrous and sad. And the logic of what you were getting at just makes no sense to me. How is convicted criminals better than law abiding gay men and women? I'll tell you, at this rate, it'd surprise me if our country lasts another couple of decades. How could our politicians be so stupid?