Army recruiters must really be at their wit’s end if they’re signing up severely autistic 18-year-olds as cavalry scouts.

Next time you read that the military-manpower situation is under control, consider this.

No, signing up an autistic 18-year-old who never speaks unless spoken to as a cavalry scout isn’t as serious operationally as promoting 97% of all eligible captains to major. But as a sign of complete desperation, it’s pretty extreme.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

4 thoughts on “Desperation”

  1. Signing up an autistic kid isn't necessarily a sign of desperation. Recruiters are happy to get their numbers however they can, reagardless of the likelihood that the recruit will succeed in the military. If the kid gets through basic training & AIT without being washed out, that will be a sign of desperation. Unless standards have dropped way down from when I went through basic, that probably won't happen.

  2. jared seems to me like the ideal weapon: i'm fairly sure autism stands up as diminished capacity in court so… even if we DID support some sort of international court of justice, or if we (gasp) tried warcrimes here, or even if we went out on a limb to consider the massacre of workers, mothers, and children wandering around their cities, their countries, going about their daily lives a crime, well, then, an autistic army pretty much absolves american forces of any wrongdoing. this isn't desperation, it's sheer tactical genius.
    actually, as i reread, i feel a little guilty about my caustic sarcasm… for the record, i find this jared's enlistment both abusive and appaling. and i think his parents have real ground to pull their son's name from the roster, claiming that their 18-year old kid has the developmental capacity of someone several years younger, someone who is NOT yet (mentally) an adult, nor in sufficient control of his faculties so as to consider the consequences of his very adult actions. but the question remains, whether he gets through basic or not (will they make exceptions since he's in and we "need" men on the front lines?), what the ASS are these recruiters thinking?!?!? i can't imagine he'd make a reliable soldier with the attention span of a pre-teen and a propensity to push buttons at will… is it really just a numbers game?
    i'm so disillusioned.

  3. It really IS a numbers game.
    Recruiters aren't punished when their recruits wash out of basic, or get shot on the battlefield, or frag their officers, so they shove all the bodies they can into the machine, fit or no.
    It's all a matter of what's rewarded and what's punished.
    Failing to meet quota is punished, so that's what they do… meet quota… no matter what the cost.

  4. What Tony said. Recruiters will sign up any warm body, and I was in basic training with a few of guys who you would barely trust with a toothrbrush, let alone an M-16. None of them, however, successfully completed basic.

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