US Army wants to accept recruits with mental issues?

Apparently we have learned little if anything from the Texas church shooting?

USAToday writes:

Army lifts ban on waivers for recruits with history of some mental health issues

by Tom Vanden Brook

WASHINGTON – People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.

Stop right there. You needn’t go any farther. I am well versed in these conditions because I witnessed them myself whilst attached to numerous training venues in my law enforcement department and law enforcement in general in the 1990s. And beyond.

Because, for example, that is how we got Rampart in the LAPD. Poor and/or lax backgrounding due to administrative pressure to throw more recruits into various academies. The laughable axiomatic joke bandied about by recruiters then was “and instead of asking them (potential recruits) if they’ve done dope at all, we ask them ‘how much dope did you do before you got here today?’ ”

“Predictable is preventable.”

And the US Army’s results from this act are simultaneously predictable and preventable. In other words, as Gordon Graham illustrates here, “high risk, low frequency” incidents for emergency responders, police and fire personnel — applicable also to our military.

Can we not see that this new US Army policy is fraught with unintended yet terribly predictable consequences if we but examine past incidents closely?

Lax hiring in order to fill orders for more recruits from an uninterested or damaged gene pool. That never proffers excellent or even languid results.

Life, after all, is nothing if not cyclical. Every time something like this happens, Gordon Graham winces and shivers in response.

Then he makes more cash in retrospect when people begin to ask: “have we seen anything like this before?”

This is the Gordon Graham Risk Assessment Chart.

Because, in hard budgetary times for law enforcement, what is the first, the absolute first venue to be cut in any and every department? Training. Period. Training. And that includes money spent for academies. And backgrounds. And recruitment.

Seen it, done it, lived it, for over four decades. What are the greatest areas of potential exposure for emergency response agencies?

  • Negligence in hiring
  • Negligence in training;
  • Negligence in retention.

The Rand Corporation published a very expensive study. It proffered an assload of multisyllabic words. What was said, essentially, was this: you’re no better than your gene pool. Which would account for LAPD’s leaving SoCal and actively poaching and soliciting recruits in Northern California. Precisely because they “weren’t” SoCal.

Imagine that.

Expanding the waivers for mental health is possible in part because the Army now has access to more medical information about each potential recruit, Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. The Army issued the ban on waivers in 2009 amid an epidemic of suicides among troops. 

“The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,” Taylor’s statement to USA TODAY said. “These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.”

So now you have access to records which only confirm that your potential recruits are troubled and slagged with drugs. What positive affirmation is that?

What the hell am I missing here?

Perhaps it’s time to allow Captain Obvious into the room.

But accepting recruits with those mental health conditions in their past carries risks, according to Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist who retired from the Army as a colonel in 2010 and is an expert on waivers for military service. People with a history of mental health problems are more likely to have those issues resurface than those who do not, she said.

Wowzer. Could anyone else besides me have possibly anticipated a response akin to that?

While bipolar disorder can be kept under control with medication, self-mutilation — where people slashing their skin with sharp instruments — may signal deeper mental health issues, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. 

Oh please. What’s the problem with “self mutilation”? Let’s get real here.

But wait. Consider this:

If self-mutilation occurs in a military setting, Ritchie said, it could be disruptive for a unit. A soldier slashing his or her own skin could result in blood on the floor, the assumption of a suicide attempt and the potential need for medical evacuation from a war zone or other austere place.

Could result in blood on the floor.”

Carlos is in a foxhole with Tashay. Tashay whips out a razor blade and starts slashing her/its wrists. Artillery shells are cascading all around. Carlos does what?

  • Watches;
  • Approves;
  • Writes a letter of objection;
  • Pees his pants;
  • Fires back at the enemy;

The worst response is, of course, the last. And so it goes.

Please stand by for the most critical sentence in the entire article.

Accepting recruits with poor qualifications can cause problems.

How could anyone possibly have seen that coming?

The Army did not respond to a question of how many waivers, if any, have been issued since the policy was changed.

I term that a clue.

Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

How are the armed services supposed to react?

They will be excoriated by mental health advocates who say that people with mental challenges should be provided with opportunities like any other individual.

They will be excoriated by persons who point out that mental health issues and problems weren’t recognized and dealt with appropriately, certainly in the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs.

I say two things in response:

  • It’s time for the armed services to cease being test beds for social engineering, stop with the political correctness and get back to protecting the nation and the world;
  • It’s also time for the armed services to do their jobs and input required information regarding discharges and crimes committed by their charges.

But of course, this is me allowing facts, history, logic, rationality, proportion and common sense get in the way of a good fucked-up Leftist decision.

UPDATE:

The Army has, in its infinite wisdom, decided to backtrack a bit. From USAToday.com:

Army says USA TODAY story forced it to drop plans for waivers for high-risk recruits

by Tom Vanden Brook

WASHINGTON — Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday the Army has rescinded a September memo stating that people with certain mental health issues, including self-mutilation, would be eligible for waivers to join the service. 

Milley, appearing before reporters, said the Army rescinded the memo because of an article published Sunday by USA TODAY. 

He maintained that the policy on considering such waivers had not changed but had been delegated to a lower level for approval. 

Milley said the Army had done a “terrible” job explaining the policy. He credited USA TODAY for bringing the issue to his attention. 

“There wasn’t a change in policy,” Milley said. “There cannot be a change in policy by someone who doesn’t have the authority to change policy. I know it sounds circular.”

The memo from Sept. 7 said that people with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse would be eligible to obtain waivers to join the Army. The change, which was not announced publicly, was made in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

Common sense public pressure.

Sometimes it works.

BZ

 

The Bergdahl verdict: a corruption of confidence

Barack Obama used the Bergdahl situation as a means to release serious high-ranking Jihadists, a Taliban army chief of staff, a Taliban deputy minister of intelligence, a former Taliban interior minister, and two other senior Taliban fighters. A good deal? Why not five low-level combatants?

Beaudry Robert “Bowe” Bergdahl is a US Army soldier who deserted his unit in Afghanistan on June 30th of 2009. He was later reported captured by Taliban-aligned forces and then apparently sold from tribe to tribe. Some said Bergdahl had become an Afghan sympathizer after arrival in country and, after learning some Pashto, spent more time with Afghans than with his own platoon, a loner in every sense. Some indicated he had become a Muslim. Sources indicated a note was left behind in his tent stating he was leaving to start a new life, after his desertion.

A little known point is that Bergdahl entered US Coast Guard basic training in 2006 but was discharged after 26 days for psychological reasons and received an “uncharacterized discharge,” given to people who separate prior to completing 180 days of service. This is called a clue, one that the USCG failed to share or the Army failed to recognize.

Thinking that he was smarter than the US Army or the Taliban, Bergdahl somehow failed to see that he would become, via his desertion, nothing more than a Taliban bargaining chip.

Bergdahl was released on May 31st of 2014. On June 2nd, Susan Rice made this statement.

Now listen to what Bowe Bergdahl’s platoon members said about him.

But here’s what you primarily did not hear, provided by, of all places, Newsweek in 2016.

WHAT THE ARMY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT BOWE BERGDAHL

by Michael Ames

Just days after U.S. Army Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl went missing from his base in Afghanistan in 2009, the men in his platoon were ordered to sign papers vowing to never discuss what he did or their efforts to track him down. Many of those men were already exhausted, searching endlessly in the hot dust and misery of the Afghan desert for a guy they knew had chosen to walk away. More than six months later, long after Army officials learned Bergdahl’s captors had smuggled him into Pakistan, commanders still had a sweeping gag order on thousands of troops in the battlefield. Some were told they could not fly home until they signed the nondisclosure agreements.

Oh my. NDAs. What secrets must be kept? Why?

And even now, six years later, as America’s most notorious prisoner of war faces an August court-martial that could put him in prison for the rest of his life, the Army is still hiding the truth, refusing to let the public see critical documents in the case.

The Pentagon finished its formal investigation, known as an Army Regulation 15-6, more than a year ago. That report, led by a two-star general and a team of 22 investigators, includes interviews with roughly 57 people, including Bergdahl. In 371 pages of sworn testimony, he told General Kenneth Dahl what he did, why he did it and what he endured during his five years as a hostage of the militant Haqqani network. The 15-6 is not classified, and at a September preliminary hearing on the case, Dahl testified that he does not oppose its release. But the Army won’t budge.

What secrets must be kept? Why?

Despite the Army’s relentless campaign to hide the facts about Bergdahl’s disappearance and five years in captivity, the truth has slipped from its grasp. It’s out there. You don’t need to read Army Regulation 15-6 to know what Bergdahl did and why. The mystery is why the military, ignoring the findings of its own investigation, as well as the unspeakable torture Bergdahl endured as a hostage, seems determined to crucify him.

Having read that, wasn’t Friday’s court sentencing of Bergdahl bubbling with just a tad bit of irony? From FoxNews.com:

No prison for Bergdahl in sentencing for walking off post

by Jonathan Drew

For the first time in eight years, Bowe Bergdahl doesn’t face confinement, or the threat of it, after a judge spared the soldier from a prison sentence for endangering his comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan.

The sentence, which also includes a dishonorable discharge, was quickly condemned by President Donald Trump as a “complete and total disgrace.”

President Trump is correct. Read on to discover why.

The punitive discharge means the case will automatically be appealed to a higher military court. And a top commander will also review the case and consider arguments for leniency, as is standard in Army legal cases.

The judge also gave the 31-year-old a dishonorable discharge, reduced his rank from sergeant to private and ordered him to forfeit pay equal to $1,000 per month for 10 months.

The judge (Colonel Jeffrey Nancy) gave no explanation of how he arrived at his decision, but he reviewed evidence that included Bergdahl’s captivity and the wounds suffered by troops who searched for him.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham responded:

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing hearing for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says he’s “incredibly disappointed” in the sentence Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl received from a military judge.

The South Carolina Republican, who served as an Air Force lawyer for more than 30 years, says Friday he has tremendous respect for the military justice system. But he says “this sentence in my view falls short of the gravity of the offense.”

Graham says, “an independent judiciary is the heart and soul of the rule of law but no one is beyond criticism.”

But perhaps the most honest and telling response to the “sentencing” is that of a man who served the United States with courage and integrity over and over, Rob O’Neill, who appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Friday show.

The entire event became a parody of itself, from the “serving” intonations of Susan Rice (a Useful Tool Obama initially pulled out his drawer for the application of the Benghazi Lies in 2012), to the subsequent White House ceremony involving Bergdahl’s parents.

To me it appears obvious that Bergdahl’s heart was not in military service and that he first “dabbled” with the military in 2006. Following the USCG interface Bergdahl stayed at a Buddhist monastery between 2007 and 2008. This indicates an individual whose resolve to serve was not present.

Honesty and clarity. Two aspects I admire in any person. Bergdahl was neither of those things, to himself or to the US Army. He and all would have been better served had he admitted the military was not for him. Time, effort and literally the lives of soldiers would have been saved but for the lack of Bergdahl’s honesty.

Bergdahl made a serious mistake and so did the Army in not noting his past apprehension in terms of service. A loner, perhaps too much the idealist, I suspect Bergdahl may have thought he could change the Army or his immediate situation once arriving on base. Both were wrong and because of that lives, good American lives, were lost.

It strikes me that Bowe Bergdahl was a jejune little Millennial dipping his toes into the soldier pool and thinking he could do anything he wished. Those thoughts got people killed. Not himself. He was saved. But the only person responsible for his own torture and the deaths associated with the search is Beaudry Robert “Bowe” Bergdahl.

He was finally saved by the US Army itself. The army for which he had so much disdain.

The sentencing, after the facts have emerged — present but tamped down from the very beginning — was an abrogation of common sense, a slap in the face to soldiers who serve and a complete dismissal of the significance of the brave lives laid down in search of Bowe Bergdahl.

The verdict was dismissive and terribly short-sighted. Those who serve now and have served in the past –Sheepdogs — know that in their gut.

This was wrong.

And therein lies a massive problem. One that needs to be addressed very soon.

That is this: the corruption of confidence in the US military. Friday’s verdict continues the corruption of confidence. It could, instead, have helped reverse same.

Corruption of confidence, crisis of confidence, call it what you will. It exists now and it is corrosive in ways we cannot yet even imagine. It’s as if you spilled a massive drum of acid into the street but most people think “oh well, that’s only water.”

We are nearing the proverbial Perfect Storm involving a lack of confidence in government. A corruption of confidence. A crisis in confidence.

Look at the FBI. If we cannot trust the FBI to do its job — the ultimate civilian federal law enforcement authority in the United States — then to whom do we go when the FBI fails?

If we cannot trust the alphabet agencies to do their job — the ultimate civilian federal law enforcement authorities in terms of surveillance, intelligence and collection — then to whom do we go when these 16 agencies fail?

If we cannot trust our US military to do the proper thing in terms of discipline and consequences, then to whom do we go when the US military fails?

Answer: there is no alternative.

No Plan B.

This cannot stand.

That is, if we wish to continue as a steady, forthright, strong, durable, proud, courageous and sovereign nation.

If the United States falls, so falls the rest of the planet.

Make no mistake.

BZ

 

Syria: some sources indicate US strikes to begin within 24 hours

Evil US vs President AssadAnd Greta Van Susteren is on early and extended.

I still say: going into Syria is completely unnecessary and wrong.  It will be a quagmire to be used against the United States.  I don’t see good things coming out of this for either the US or Israel.  Mostly, Mr Obama couldn’t care less about either one.

Syria AttackAssad knows we’re coming, he reads newspapers too.  Whatever strategic materiel may have existed in specific places — are now quite likely moved.  Just as Syria received the WMD and gas from Iraq under Saddam Hussein.  Where, for example, do you think Syria acquired the gas for their most recent play time?

When you broadcast a time and a date, Mr Obama, then people will respond.  You are apparently transparent in your transnational attacks, but opaque when dealing with domestic issues.  How nice to know.

And smacking Syria, roughly a week after the event, is like walking up to your dog — a week after he shat in your boots — and smacking him with a newspaper.  It’s pointless.

The dog doesn’t make the connection, nothing is learned, behavior isn’t corrected, and the dog begins to make plans to kill you in your sleep.

BZ

Obama & Syria

 

Pentagon Shoots Down Kerry’s Syria Airstrike Plan

120510-D-NI589-432There have been any number of movies portraying the American military as inept, bloodthirsty, bent on killing, incompetent, blundering, blithering idiots.

And frequently those adjectives are completely applicable to the civilian overlords of our military forces.  To wit, from Bloomberg.com:

Pentagon Shoots Down Kerry’s Syria Airstrike Plan