CommunityPam's House Blend

National Guard relaxes recruiting standards

Not enough of these Young Repugs are signing up. I wonder why?

[UPDATE: Why they are taking anyone they can…at least 20 American soldiers and marines were wounded in an assault on Abu Ghraib, more at the end of the post.]

The Pentagon is running out of rocket-grenade fodder over there in Iraq. You now can serve in the National Guard without having obtained a high-school diploma or GED. What, are they having trouble finding enough Bush-loving, Young College Republicans to join up? Who would have thunk it? (

The Army National Guard, which recently increased its age limit in an effort to reverse a decline in recruitment, is now opening its doors to less educated people. Under a policy approved this week, the guard will accept recruits with at least a ninth-grade education, as long as they get a satisfactory score on a vocational aptitude test and obtain a General Education Development diploma within three years of signing up, said spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Milord at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.

Previously, recruits needed a high-school diploma or GED certificate to enter the guard, said Pennsylvania Army National Guard spokesman Capt. Cory Angell. The decline in guard recruitment stems from various factors, including its new role as an operational force, rather than its traditional status as a “strategic reserve force.” Guard members are more likely than before to be deployed overseas to assignments that include combat.

“The risks now are certainly greater,” Milord said. “That’s certainly a consideration with parents.” The National Guard and Army Reserve also recently raised the maximum enlistment age from 34 to 39.

The NYT reports on the latest carnage. That should stimulate those recruitment numbers, no?

Using suicide car bombs and an array of weapons, scores of insurgents made the biggest assault yet on the American-controlled Abu Ghraib prison on Saturday evening, American military officials said. At least 20 American soldiers and marines were wounded.

Forty to 60 insurgents attacked the prison from opposite directions, but were repelled by the Americans in a pitched battle that lasted for 30 to 40 minutes, the officials said. They added that they knew of only one insurgent who had been killed, but said it was almost certain the guerrillas suffered additional casualties.

The assault appeared to be an attempt to break prisoners out of a part of the center that is controlled by Iraqi security forces, said Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a spokesman for the American detainee system in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the President has whipped up a new batch of his Kool-Aid and seems to have consumed it all himself.

Iraqis are taking big steps on a long journey of freedom. A free society requires more than free elections; it also requires free institutions, a vibrant civil society, rule of law, anti-corruption, and the habits of liberty built over generations. By claiming their own freedom, the Iraqis are transforming the region, and they’re doing it by example and inspiration, rather than by conquest and domination. (Applause.) The free people of Iraq are now doing what Saddam Hussein never could — making Iraq a positive example for the entire Middle East. (Applause.)

(Update via DKos post by Plutonium Page)

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding