The United States Army of the Rumsfield era did everything possible to enable the tragedy that struck in Afghanistan today when one of their NCOs went on a killing rampage.
Before Operation: USELESS DIRT II (Iraq), there were those in the know who stated that it would take a lot more troops to do the job over the long haul. This disagreed with the Rumsfield (and his mind-guards) idea of a on-the-cheap op.
Those that decided to make a grand occupation out of Iraq had real troubles. Not enough people. The problem was that with a combination of the Peace Dividend as a result of the Cold War ending, requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea, the U.S. Army was short of manpower; with all the joys of multiple combat tours.
For years on end.
The short-term fix to manpower problems was to lower recruiting standards. The system looked the other way while people with questionable criminal records, mental illness, poor health and poor literacy were allowed to join up.
Undesirables that got that far had an easier time getting through the next "barrier"; basic training. The original goal of basic training is to weed out (without remorse) those that should under no circumstances hold a gun let alone be allowed to work in an environment that thrives on teamwork. But alas, training units had to meet their numbers.
It gets worse. The Army lowered the requirements of what it takes to be one of the most important people on or off the battlefield; the NCO or non-commissioned officer. These are the enlisted leaders, the sergeants, that make or break the goals of platoon and company commanders. Good sergeants make you. Bad sergeants break you. Unfortunately, many of the generals from Desert Storm who were young officers in Vietnam, are no longer around. Or as the great Colonel Hackworth stated some years ago, "The Army suffers from CRS; Can't Remember Shit."
We are experiencing another batch of hard lessons learned by the Army past.
So, in such a high profile and important mission as security ops and peace keeping where bad information travels at the speed of email, the Army, along with the U.S. Department of Defense, was complicit at allowing numerous high-risk people that should have never been there, to have access to weapons.
Over-sight and criminal investigations lagged behind too. All the misdeeds; the murders and abuse (blue on blue), illegal killings on the battlefield, and various kinds of corruption (fraud, waste and abuse) increased.
The mass killing like today was bound to happen. Just like the kill squad episode was bound to happen. Just like Bradley Manning was bound to happen. Just like the Fort Hood shooting was bound to happen. Just like Pat Tillman was bound to happen, and so on.
We will stop having problems like this when we stop involving people in the process. But, what we have seen today, is another example of what happens when standards are lowered: more people die.
And, in this case (not counting an incompetent political leadership) lowering of standards have helped to lose a war.