Dozens of US criminals who were granted Army waivers to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan have been linked to in-service problems, the Sacramento Bee reports. In a year-long study, the paper connected "suspect soldiers"—accused of beating prisoners, stealing weapons, and more—to troubles back home. Of 18 with felony arrest or mental health records, eight were involved in Iraq incidents and a ninth killed himself.
"Criminal history is the best predictor of future behavior," one expert said. "Any time you lower your standards, you're going to raise the risk. No question about it." And the Army has lowered standards: Recruits receiving "moral conduct" waivers increased from from 4.6% in 2003 to 11.2% in 2007. The military defended its policy, saying the waivers reflected "standards in our society" that "have changed over the years."