One of my best friends was on a flight out of DC the other day. He overheard an interesting conversation between a former Judge Advocate-General and the JAG's two friends; all of them were West Point grads. The reason the JAG is a former JAG is this: That particular JAG was sickened at what has happened to the armed forces in the last few years, especially the last two.
The Pentagon is beyond desperate to find warm bodies for Iraq -- so desperate that people with long criminal histories, including manslaughter convictions, are being snapped up. In fact, gangs are starting to join up en masse -- and the chances of rival gangs meeting on the battlefield are growing. It's a de facto revival of Robert McNamara's old "Project 100,000" debacle, except with the emphasis on recruiting criminals instead of the mentally retarded.
As the bad people flood the ranks, the good people are leaving, voluntarily or otherwise, and none are coming in to replace them. West Point enrollment is suffering badly. One of the West Pointers said that of his dozen-odd friends in his graduating class ten years ago, all but a couple are now "gone" from the military that they had planned, as the JAG had planned, to make a lifetime career. Some are gone by choice; some are gone because they came home in transfer tubes; at least one is in Walter Reed. That last one called his friend up with the message: "I'm at Walter Reed. It's bad. Don't ask." According to the doctors, there's no known physical damage; they think he apparently just cracked.
(back to me)
Remember at the beginning when we all said "Iraq is like Vietnam on Steroids?" Well, from honorable career military to project 100,000 "Crips Vs Bloods" in Baghdad in five years sounds like we underestimated the potential for disaster rather seriously.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Posted by aimai at 4:30 AM