Vetting Bad Apples

The AP has this post informing us that Private Steven Green was found to have “homicidal ideations” some three months before he with the assistance of four other soldiers killed a family of four that include a father, mother, a 14 year old daughter and 7 year old daughter. The 14 year old – Abeer Qassim al-Janabi – was raped and her body set afire.

Certainly this vicious behavior is highly exceptional. Nonetheless, the damage caused by acts like this is immense and raises the threat of retributive violence to the good soldiers in Iraq.

Clearly the system failed to vet Private Green. This leads me to a concern. With recruiting standards being dropped significantly to meet recruiting goals in 2006, aren’t we running an increased risk of more bad apples instead of learning the lessons of the deletrious effects of an Abu Graib, the murder of Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania, the Haditha killings, and the Green rape and murders.

And to come up with another 20,000 troops, isn’t it likely that few more bad apples are likely to get through the vetting process?

UPDATE: John Cole at Balloon Juice posts an anecdote about a friend who was vetted from the front lines in Iraq because of a past DWI conviction. From these two anecdotes, my guess is that the vetting process is a mixed bag — sometimes overly restrictive, other times unduly permissive. But I still wonder whether, with the reduced standards used to meet recruiting goals in 2006 and the need to now come up with another slate of 22,000 troops, there is an increasing likelihood that a few more bad apples will slip through.

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