The Drug War Draft Marches on Through the Night to Baghdad

Interesting vid clip from the folks at Students for a Sensible Drug Policy about what they're calling "the drug war draft." As readers of reason and Hit & Run know, current law dictates that college students with drug busts on their records get bounced from federal financial aid. The SSDP folks point out that:

The U.S. Military is having trouble meeting its recruiting goals.

To make up for the enlistment shortcomings, the Bush administration has loosened restrictions and is granting more so-called "character waivers" to allow more people with drug convictions to sign up.

Meanwhile, President Bush and some of his friends in Congress support a law that has prevented 200,000 aspiring students from getting the financial aid they need to afford college just because they have drug convictions (most often for misdemeanor marijuana possession).

Of course, young people should be able to serve our country in whatever way they think they best can - whether by going to college and becoming a doctor or a lawyer, or by enlisting in the armed services.

But the "Drug War Draft" created by the Aid Elimination Penalty limits opportunities and forces countless young people out of school and into the military to fight a war they may not agree with. Eerily, the Pentagon-commissioned RAND report Recruiting Youth in the College Market (PDF) states: "The [armed] services might be able to significantly expand their pool of potential recruits by adopting policies that target youth who plan to go to college..."

I don't agree that the AEP forces anyone into the military, though it definitely fucks with student aid in a tremendously stupid and unfair manner that should never have started. But I'm with SSDP on the question of fairness. Here's the clip:

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  • ||

    There probably was a legitimate point in there somewhere, but it's buried.

  • ||

    So the students are unhappy because they've found out that federal aid comes with strings attached? Glad to see they're learning something useful in college.

  • Ellie||

    "The [armed] services might be able to significantly expand their pool of potential recruits by adopting policies that target youth who plan to go to college..."

    OR GAY PEOPLE.

    JESUS CHRIST LET ME IN YOU FUCKERS.

    *pant pant* Okay, I'm calm. Yes, that's a fucking stupid double standard. On the other hand, I'd rather see one side of it loosened than neither.

  • shecky||

    Federal aid comes with strings attached on either side. The risk of ending one's college career, or the risk of being blown to bits in a foreign country.

  • Guy Montag||

    So, the new reason policy on government discount loans is that they are fine, as long as the result is fewer people of academic skill join the military and trade labor for pay?

  • Guy Montag||

    i.e., I expected this:


    I don't agree that the AEP forces anyone into the military, though it definitely fucks with student aid in a tremendously stupid and unfair manner that should never have started. But I'm with SSDP on the question of fairness.



    To read more like 'the quicker we get rid of this program the better and this is just another instance where the government is mucking around where it does not belong'.

  • ||

    The military going after college students is nothing new, neither is the military reducing the requirements for enlistment when recruitment is low. However is would be of poor character to reject people who checked yes on past drug conviction in their FAFSA for the sole purpose of trying to blackmail them into military service.

    I don't remember but either I was told, or it states on the FAFSA that checking yes on past drug conviction would not necessarily prevent you from getting aid. I was always curious if that depend on if you checked yes for being in a drug treatment program.

  • ||

    I really don't see the problem with this. The govenment doesn't have to give the money to dangerous criminals if it doesn't want to.

    Perhaps the military is a good alternative to prison in order for these criminals to repay their debt to society.

    I was always curious if that depend on if you checked yes for being in a drug treatment program.

    Perhaps, I would think those convicted of minor drug crimes like pot possesion, but severe crimes nonetheless, should get treatment first thru drug court and punishment if they fail to break their addiction to dangerous drugs like pot.

  • ||

    This is one of those (I'm sure to be) unpopular opinions of mine that make me think that I'm the few "real" libertarian around here...

    The problem with bouncing students who've been busted on possession charges off of federal aid, is that we can't find a way to bounce the rest of them off of welfare too. ...welfare or whatever you want to call it.

  • ||

    The U.S. Military is having trouble meeting its recruiting goals.

    Actually, its not. This is a little bit of "common knowledge" that's false.

    All of the active duty branches met or exceeded their recruiting goals for the fiscal year. On the Reserve side, four of the six reserve componants met or exceeded their recruiting goals.

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/07recruiting.htm

  • ||

    I agree with Mike P.

  • ||

    R C Dean,
    Don't be such a tool. The military has met its goals by lowering its standards. An action they were forced to take because they were having trouble meeting their goals.

  • Guy Montag||

    RCD,

    Very good point.

    Seems some are not getting the issue that in peacetime we don't need that many soldiers and can tend to get overly picky about who can join, like the period just a few years ago when almost nobody without an actual high school diploma could get in.

    It happens in specialties too. It has been almost impossible to become a pilot/aviator without a degree in all services but the Army for quite some time. That does not seem to be changing.

    Now, when situations change and we are no longer overly picky, just reducing the pickyness a little, the phrase "lowering standards" is thrown out as if 12 year olds from an Orwell book were being admitted to the service. Or, in some cases, "drafted".

  • NoStar||

    Sure, they'll take druggies, but what about litter-bugs?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_7C0QGkiVo

  • Guy Montag||

    If the Army lets in, and keeps, the likes of PV1 Scott Thomas Beauchamp (an English major), what is so wrong about folks busted for a little pot?

  • ||

    If the Army lets in, and keeps, the likes of PV1 Scott Thomas Beauchamp (an English major), what is so wrong about folks busted for a little pot?

    Because they are criminals.

  • ||

    I guess Dean didn't understand what I wrote. The fact of the matter is that they were having recruitment problems, and to solve it they lowered their standards to meet their goals. I was merely pointing out that it's not new.

    "" the phrase "lowering standards" is thrown out as if 12 year olds from an Orwell book were being admitted to the service. Or, in some cases, "drafted".""

    Not at all Guy. I don't think you really need a lecture at to what lowering standards really means. The Army HAS lowered it's standards to boost recruitment. It's not the extreme measure you make it out to be.

  • ||

    Here Dean since you like links

    http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,116439,00.html

  • ||

    I don't get why a high-school diploma is no longer considered adequate for establishing a decent career. Isn't 12 years of schooling enough preparation for employment?

  • ||

    Perhaps the military is a good alternative to prison in order for these criminals to repay their debt to society.

    It worked for Kelly's Heroes!

  • ||

    Ahh, Sorry Dean. I see you were commenting to Nick's line.

  • ||

    The military has met its goals by lowering its standards.

    But to assert that it is (present tense) having trouble meeting its goals is wrong. The next argument that you need to make is that the standards are now too low. If they're not, then who cares if they used to be too high?

  • ||

    Letting people into the Army with a history of drug use is a great idea, soldiers thoughout history used mind altering substances to pass the time between missions. Did they stop the piss tests too?

    Ain't it funny how the stuff that would deny you a job in the military during peacetime, isn't so bad when they need warm bullet stoppers, er, I mean bodies for the terrorists to shoot at?

  • Guy Montag||

    Not at all Guy. I don't think you really need a lecture at to what lowering standards really means. The Army HAS lowered it's standards to boost recruitment. It's not the extreme measure you make it out to be.

    I am not the one making a big deal out of it. I am pointing out to someone else that it is not the big deal that they are making it out to be.

    Frankly, I thought the standards had gotting so 'silly high' in the 1990s that they were keeping out a lot of potential good soldiers. Of course, this was when, as a Captain, I had heard (correct or not) that 17 year-olds could not enlist until they graduated high school. As a former 17 yo Private, JR in HS I took some personal offense to that!

    Roach,

    Ain't it funny how the stuff that would deny you a job in the military during peacetime, isn't so bad when they need warm bullet stoppers, er, I mean bodies for the terrorists to shoot at?

    Franklin Foer needs another writer like you.

    If you have an organization that only needs 4 people, before expanding to need 400 five years later, are you going to tell us that the standard should not change at all?

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