Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fragging is Rare in Iraq and Afghanistan 
So the Associated Press breathlessly reports.

American troops killed their own commanders so often during the Vietnam War that the crime earned its own name - "fragging."

But since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has charged only one soldier with killing his commanding officer, a dramatic turnabout that most experts attribute to the all-volunteer military.

And some argue the case of Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez shouldn't even be considered fragging, since his motive was unclear.

I think the reduction in fragging incidents is due to a combination of events, including the transition to an all-volunteer military, the fact that there are so very few liberals in the officer corps, and the "twelve captains'" transition out of active service.

Seriously - our officer corps is stronger, better and more professional now than it was then. Indeed, it's better than it has EVER been, in the history of this republic.
Our NCO corps is likewise better than it has ever been. We just don't have "shake 'n bake" NCOs anymore like we had in Viet Nam. And we don't have "90-day wonder" lieutenants.

Lieutenant Calley could not have made it to the battlefield as an officer in today's Army.

And with one notable exception (the JAG corps), we also haven't been letting liberal stupidity turn the Army into a social engineering project, like we did with McNamara's 100,000.

In 1966, [Johnson's Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara initiated the "Moron Corps," as they were piteously nicknamed by other soldiers. Billed as a Great Society program, McNamara's Project 100,000 lowered military enlistment requirements to recruit 100,000 men per year with marginal minds and bodies. Recruiters swept through urban ghettos and southern hill country, taking some youths with I.Q.s below what is considered legally retarded.

In all, 354,000 volunteered for Project 100,000. The minimum passing score on the armed forces qualification test had been 31 out of 100. Under McNamara's Project 100,000, those who scored as low as 10 were taken if they lived in a designated "poverty area." In 1969, out of 120 Marine Corps volunteers from Oakland, California, nearly 90 percent scored under 31; more than 70 percent were black or Mexican. Overall, 41 percent of Project 100,000 volunteers were black, compared to 12 percent of the rest of the armed forces. Touted as providing "rehabilitation," remedial education, and an escape from poverty, the program offered a one-way ticket to Vietnam, where these men fought and died in disproportionate numbers. The much-advertised skills were seldom taught.

McNamara called these men the "subterranean poor," as if they lived in caves. In a way they did; their squalid ghettos and Appalachian hill towns were unseen by affluent America. All the better for McNamara and his president Lyndon Johnson. Unmentioned in Project 100,000's lofty sounding goals was the fact that - as protest became the number-one course of study at America's universities - the men of the "Moron Corps" provided the necessary cannon fodder to help evade the political horror of dropping student deferments or calling up the reserves, which were sanctuaries for the lily-white.

Officials denied that the members of the "Moron Corps" were dying in higher numbers, but the irrefutable statistics embraced by mathematical whiz kid McNamara tell another story. Forty percent of Project 100,000 men were trained for combat, compared with 25 percent of general service. In one 1969 sampling of Project 100,000, the Department of Defense put the attrition-by-death rate at 1.1 percent. By contrast, the overall rate for Vietnam era veterans was only 0.6 percent.

"I think McNamara should be shot," said Herb DeBose, a black first lieutenant in Vietnam, who later worked with incarcerated veterans. "I saw him when he resigned from the World Bank, crying about the poor children of the world. But if he did not cry at all for any of those men he took in under Project 100,000 then he really doesn't know what crying is all about. Many under me weren't even on a fifth-grade level.... I found out they could not read .. no skills before, no skills after. The army was supposed to teach them a trade in something - only they didn't."

Of course, the dorks in the drive-by media don't have the institutional history knowledge to figure this out.

The problems in the military in the late 60s and early 70s -- which included not only fragging, but also rampant drug use and racial tensions that made barracks into low-intensity conflict zones well into the Carter years -- can be laid squarely at the feet of liberal stupidity, in the guise of the "Great Society."

Forrest Gump was a good fictional character.

But you don't want Forrest Gump responsible for guarding your flank.

Splash, out


Via Memeorandum

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[The problems in the military in the late 60s and early 70s -- which included not only fragging, but also rampant drug use and racial tensions that made barracks into low-intensity conflict zones well into the Carter years -- can be laid squarely at the feet of liberal stupidity, in the guise of the "Great Society."]

David Weisman

I heard somewhere there were difficulties in drafting an army for an unpopular war. For instance, if you exempt everyone with a criminal history, you might set off a small crime wave. In fact, the article you quoted implied the 100000 were not enlisted in the service of great society goals, but using them as a cloak.

Just to be sure I understand you correctly, you feel confident that a draft military could be produced which excluded these problems provided there were no liberal politicians in the chain of command? Here I consider 'chain of command' to go all the way up through the politicans to Commander in Chief.
Isn't the same true when recruiting standards are being lowered today?
No. There is no comparison between MacNamara's 100,000, and raising the enlistment age to 40, for example. The latter gets you better troops (if they can keep up physically), not worse.

There's also no comparison between Mac's 100k and allowing for a waiver for someone with a 10 year old marijuana conviction, let's say, but who's been clean and a cop since then, or taking troops with GEDs rather than high school diplomas.

There are a lot of terrific kids out there with GEDs. MacNamara's 100k would have had problems filling in the bubbles.

The two groups are simply not comparable.

I was a shake 'n bake in Vietnam, we had 27,000 total but they were not the only sergeants. The reason we needed them was that we ran out of sergeants and we needed them for the infantry.



Jerry Horton
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