Counter-insurgency operations require more intelligent, more mature, more stable troops to implement. Every misstep by the so-called "strategic corporals" lengthens the conflict and reduces the likelihood of success. So why does a force that is slowly gaining expertise in COIN operations recruit "convicted sex offenders, people convicted of making terrorist threats and child abusers"?
Keep in mind that the U.S. military in Iraq is just now rescuing its reputation from the effects of Abu Ghraib, the Haditha massacre, and excesses by private military contractors? This is a force that continues to have issues with sexual assault against its own personnel. So some idiot decides that its a good idea to bring in the folks that already have problems with violent crime into the force engaged in such sensitive operations. According to The Guardian, last year 511 recruits with felony convictions were recruited, following the 2006 total of 249.
The recruits included:
The felons accepted into the army and marines included 87 soldiers convicted of assault or maiming, 130 convicted of non-marijuana drug offences, seven convicted of making terrorist threats, and two convicted of indecent behaviour with a child. Waivers were also granted to 500 burglars and thieves, 19 arsonists and 9 sex offendersThese individuals come from a greater pool of almost 35,000 enlisted recruits that received moral waivers in 2006. Interestingly, the Air Force and Navy are allowed to recruit people with multiple felony convictions, while the limit for the Army and Marine Corps is a single felony. I remember back in the 1980's it was harder to get into the Air Force or Navy than the Army, I guess that's no longer the case.