The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85161   Message #1578967
Posted By: Charmion
08-Oct-05 - 02:33 PM
Thread Name: BS: How low can you go?
Subject: RE: BS: How low can you go?
Please shut up, Martin. You're not helping.

This is a serious discussion, because dianavan is a teacher (if I recall correctly) and she shares her ideas and opinions with impressionable pupils who think she knows what she's talking about. In this case, she doesn't.

I wrote those tests some 35 years ago, and later I read hundreds and hundreds of Department of National Defence records about how the tests were developed and why. They are designed to select people who learn quickly, reason from analogies, and draw sensible conclusions from scanty evidence. That's so the recruit will someday be a soldier who can look at a situation involving people who don't speak his language, problems he's never experienced, and equipment he's never seen before and figure out for himself what's going on and what to do about it. Ideally, that soldier will also be able to share his insights with his comrades and superiors so they understand his reasoning and agree to his decisions. This is as true for privates as for lieutenants, for if all goes well the privates become sergeants and lieutenants become colonels.

Blind obedience is not what recruiters are looking for; in fact, blind obedience is not wanted in today's armed forces. (At least not in the professional armed forces of a democratic nation like Canada or the United States.) They want adaptable people who like to work in groups, and are competitive and physically active, and they want those soldiers in trades they are likely to enjoy because people doing work they like need less training time and less supervision to perform well.

It's my guess that Mr. Bush's army has decided that its numbers are low enough that it must accept recruits who will require a much more intense training effort and more supervision than the more desirable types.

As for Private Lynndie England, she is a reservist and very young; Abu Ghraib was her first deployment. It is a terrible pity that her first operational experience was so important because she was obviously a bad soldier, emotionally unfit for service. The Canadian Forces notoriously had a similar case; remember Private Kyle Brown of the Canadian Airborne Regiment? Pte England was desperate to please her boyfriend who was also her shift boss (massive leadership failure on sombody's part there); Pte Brown was afraid of offending his section leader, Master Corporal Clayton Matchee. At least Pte England didn't kill anyone, or stand by while someone else did any killing. For the record, I think her sentence of three years' imprisonment was stiff, but appropriate.