July 16, 2006

Obscene Crime Systems

Steven Green, the Army private who allegedly raped a 14 year old Iraqi girl and then killed her and her family, represents a near perfect breakdown of a system. A fundamental concept of General Systems Theory is the notion that elements of the world relate to each other and affect each other. Basically, there are consequences to decisions, actions, and natural phenomena. Some consequences are good, and others are like Steven Green.

After invading Iraq, the Army had trouble meeting it's needs for willing soldiers. So military recruiters increased deployment of "moral waiver". This is the device used by recruiters to make exceptions to their own rules that disallow the enlistment of those without high school diplomas and those with criminal histories.

It is clear that Green should have never been allowed to carry a weapon for the US Army. He never graduated high school, he had a criminal record, and was eventually discharged for psychological disorders.

So the approach here was not to increase incentives for young people to join the military, but a relaxation of restrictions on who is eligible to join. This is classic conservative strategy, and can be seen in all areas of government regulation. The idea is to simply reduce regulations that impede the goals of the larger organization, be it industry or government.

What is ignored in this approach is the original purpose of the discarded regulation - generally to protect individuals who may be harmed by the goals of government and industry.

One must only ask, why did the military restrict its recruitment to those without criminal histories in the first place? With this question in mind, obscene crimes like rape and murder by US soldiers should not be unexpected.

And neither should we be surprised by the effects of such crimes. (more)

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