Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lowered Standards, And The Consequences

US authorities detained a male airline passenger who repeatedly tried to break into the cockpit during a flight to Florida before being restrained by passengers, an airport spokeswoman told AFP.

The flight departed La Guardia Airport and was on its landing approach shortly after 11:00 pm when a man refused a flight attendant's order to sit down, became agitated and ran toward the cockpit, where he tried twice to knock down the door, she said.

"Fifteen minutes before landing, the flight attendant wanted him to sit down and he wouldn't. He was uncooperative," the spokeswoman said.

"He started evidently running towards the front of the aircraft and started to run at full speed toward the cockpit door, which was secured, and he fell down and rammed the door again."

The airport spokeswoman said three passengers became concerned about his behavior and "wound up subduing him and holding him."

Police identified the man as Nefpali Alexander Liemenbez, 24.

The airport spokeswoman said Liemenbez was a Hispanic US soldier with a mental problem whose active duty was to end next Tuesday.

A former Army private accused of raping an Iraqi woman and killing her and three family members was a high-school dropout from a broken home who enlisted to get some direction in his life, yet was sent home early because of an "anti-social personality disorder."

Steven D. Green could get the death penalty if convicted in the horrific crime that has strained the U.S. military's already troubled relations with the Iraqi people and sent shockwaves around the world.

He was given a discharge on May 16 for what military officials in Iraq told The Associated Press was an "anti-social personality disorder." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Under Army regulations, a soldier can be discharged only if a personality disorder "is so severe that the soldier's ability to function effectively in the military environment is significantly impaired." The diagnosis must be made by a psychiatrist or doctoral-level clinical psychologist who is authorized to conduct mental health evaluations for the military.
Here's a good piece of reporting---slammed as "anti-troop" by the some on the Apologist Right when it first appeared---that explains what's going on here. As the war continues in the years ahead, we should expect many more reports like those above---both here and in Iraq. I suspect Iraqi civilians, unfortunately, will bear a disproportionate share of the consequences.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may also want to include the recently-reported evidence that many gang members and white supremacists have found their way into the Army and Marines in the last few years, as standards have dropped. In the past they were not allowed into the service.


7/13/2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

The armed forces, is a relection of our society, just like any other occupational field. I'm not being flippant. While criminals are not acceptable in any part of society, we need to be realistic and understand that not all soldiers are good people.

7/13/2006 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Lady, your point is valid only to the extent that our standing army comes from society in general; what is not valid, though, is the fact that the Army is now--and some could argue, even prior to the 9/11 and Iraq issue--taking soldiers from a sample pool of our society that is patently ill.

There are white supremacist groups, mentally ill, and examples of what TCR just wrote upon. If we are taking the worst of the already worst--you are guaranteed to see more debacles.

7/13/2006 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Kevin Wohlmut said...

To "Old Lady", I sympathize with your argument, and the reason the armed forces is supposed to reflect our society is so as to keep the Democratic ideal in its collective mind and thus prevent it from staging a coup.

However, the armed forces differ from other "occupational fields" in that we do not usually give doctors, lawyers, or fry cooks stacks of assault rifles and training to use them (both paid for by taxes). Handing out weapons to large numbers of people is a dangerous situation and therefore we have to have some tight standards.

CR's point, I think, is that if we weren't putting our armed forces through a wholly unnecessary sausage grinder in Iraq, we probably wouldn't have needed to lower our recruitment standards (which the military denies but articles like these are piling up and up lately).

Also, some of the recent reports have noted that gang members and Nazis are intentionally signing up for the armed forces in order to receive military training which they plan to use against law-abiding citizens in the future. It's chilling stuff ( Orcinus, Local News video ) Let me assure you, when organized crime infiltrates one of the regular "occupational fields", such as the construction industry (which happens frequently) the FBI is supposed to step in and bust it up. If the number of the unfit and criminal in our military is indeed rising, as the press reports seem to indicate, then it is a failure on the part of our leadership.

7/13/2006 11:14 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I am what is commonly known as a militery brat. My father served 30 years on the US Marine Corps as an officer. He was a brilliant and highly decorated warrior. Though not a criminal or mentally deficient he did not mix well with the world upon retirement. But he never backed down from one statement he always made. "I may not agree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it." A person who says and believes that has got to be crazy, right? Who do you know personally that will die for your right to free speech?

I know that my father being in the armed forces does not make me an expert, but I can debate a point or two.

Having stated that, I do not think that there is a time in history that will reflect any army was made up of sterling citizenry. Granted the "prison or the Marine Corps" choice that was available to my estranged husband, (who turned out to be a fine man)in the 60's is no longer in existence. Also, the psychology of war and a fighting unit is not easily understood by "polite society". But we have human rights and liberties in this country and we must be careful. There is no law against being a Nazi in this country. Nazi's, expatriates, communists can be as patriotic as you or I.

I do not believe our armed services are recruiting convicted felons. (If convicted felons are being allowed into the army please let me know, I will certainly write my Senator and Congressman.) They may be recruiting potential felons-but non-discriminatory right takes precedence here.

Having an all volunteer army makes for re-positioning of standards. There are plenty of bodies in the US to go and fight this war, but we can no longer make them join up. If any of you had a choice to send innocent people to their death, who would you choose?

To Sum up:
1. I am not dis-agreeing with kevin or anonymous. How are you going to cull the bad seeds? Some bad people go good so to speak after a tour of duty. Some good people go bad after a tour of duty. There is no acid test other than conviction.

2. If organized crime has not been involved in our armed forces until now I would be very suprised.

3. What better argument do we have leaving our "gun control" laws in place-the criminal will take over if the average citizen is not allowed to own a gun.

7/13/2006 1:53 PM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

TCR it is also important to keep in mind that these soldiers may not have had the personality disorders when they entered the army.

It is not uncommon for severe psychosis to emerge in teh early 20s. I've seen it happen to students working in grad schools.

That being said, it is also possible that lowered standards are at fault.

7/13/2006 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks, OL, for the Response. I honor your family's military record.

7/13/2006 9:16 PM  
Blogger Wild Clover said...

I've worked with a few reservists,(one just started whose appl. stated 3 years in Iraq, then an Hon.Discharge) in their 20's, maybe early 30's. I've known a bunch of folks and worked with a few my age or older(I'm 47). The older folks were all great workers, sometimes with an anal military streak a mile wide, but really good. The folks 20-30 are a different story... I can't see a guy who cannot follow simple instructions, argues about the way he did it vs the way it should be done, whines about things being unfair, makes excuses and blames everyone for any error except himself making it in the ARNG and getting an honorable after 3 years in Iraq. I can't believe the other ass I know hasn't been chewed up, spit out, and taught some respect during his basic...he apparently learned mostly how to get out of work(he said). The woman I worked with who was constantly late...does this fly in the modern military? Does half-assing a work assignment make you a good soldier? Her fiance/fsther of her child wants to go active...he has no sense of responsibility when it comes to being on time to pick up his son so she could get to work, or so that their babysitter could go do whatever she needed.

Military service used to be a plus for a job applicant. Even just a reservist. From these 4 I've worked with recently, I'd be hesitant if I'm in the position of doing hiring. I find it scary that these folks were/could be in Iraq. I'm less and less surprised at the level of screw-up over there...actually I forgot the Navy man-he is going to do stuff his way or no way...he's a nice guy, if you forget he worships Bush and think women are no brains, just bimbos, but working with him drives me nutty-he doesn't care about deadlines, keeping paperwork or himself organized, or working any harder than he has to...he will at least do the latter when necessary.

But WTF happened to our military? Or do just the dregs settle in this area?

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