If at first you don't succeed, lower your expectations
This Friday ended the 2005 fiscal year for Army recruiting, and the Army missed its goal by about 7,000 warm bodies. Gee, you'd think with all those swell "help him find his strength" commercials and keen $20,000 signing bonuses, College Republicans and other able-bodied conservative war supporters between the ages of 17 and 38 would be flocking to sign up for Operation Enduring Clusterfuck.
But maybe something else was hindering our Yellow Elephants. Maybe bending their brain around all that Bushite rhetoric has made their thought processes a little slow. Maybe they just weren't scoring high enough on the military's ASVAB tests to qualify for enlistment.
Well, happy days are here again! For if at first you can't sign up enough IED fodder for your war, lower your requirements for the IED fodder:
(Los Angeles Times) WASHINGTON — Facing recruiting shortages brought on by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has decided to accept a greater number of recruits who score near the bottom of military aptitude tests, the secretary of the Army said Monday.Ya think so? Listen, I don't know how many dear readers have taken the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), but consider that Forrest Gump passed the ASVAB. And clearing only the 16th percentile on that test makes passing a GED look like Fermat's Last Theorem.
Coming off a recruiting year in which the Army fell short of its goal of 80,000 active-duty soldiers, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced that the Army would allow up to 4% of its recruiting class to be Category IV recruits -- those who scored between the 16th and 30th percentile in the battery of aptitude tests that the Defense Department gives to all potential military personnel.
The Army until now allowed no more than 2% of its recruiting class to be from the Category IV level, fearing that letting too many low-achieving recruits into the Army might dilute the quality of the nation's largest military branch.
So now instead of 1 out of 50 soldiers being so dumb the rest of the squad makes sure the soldier's rifle is pointed the right way, we're going to double that to 1 out of 25. Do ya think that might "dilute" things just a bit?
...the Army would also ease the service's requirement that at least 67% of every recruiting class be made up of recruits who scored in the top half (50th percentile or above) on the aptitude tests. The new threshold would be 60%, Harvey said, in accordance with Defense Department benchmarks.Wow. First the military turns a blind eye to "don't ask don't tell" and refuses to boot openly gay servicemembers during this conflict (except, of course, the highly-trained Farsi translators in intelligence), now we're opening the barracks to Dumb and Dumber. There couldn't be a more perfect opportunity for your average College Republican!
The Pentagon benchmarks were established to prevent the military services from meeting recruiting quotas by accepting too many people with low IQs. Despite these parameters, the Pentagon allows each service, if it wishes, to set more rigorous standards.
Until the last fiscal year, the Army had few problems staying below the 2% threshold for Category IV recruits. According to data provided by the Army, Category IV recruits comprised less than 1% of the 2003 and 2004 recruiting classes.
(P.S. Just you watch. The next thing you'll see is a waiving of positive drug tests for marijuana as a barrier to enlistment. Then you'll start to see so-called drug courts offering the convicted a choice between service or prison. No barrel bottom will be left unscraped in the effort to avoid a draft that could potentially land a rich white kid in the service against his wishes.)