Bush' Drug War Draft

Due to a recruiting shortfall, President Bush has loosened restrictions on "character waivers" allowing military recruiters to sign up those with drug convictions on their records.

But he doesn't want these same kids to go to college and continues to support the Higher Education Act that since 1998, has prevented 200,000 students with drug convictions, including minor marijuana offenses, from obtaining student aid.

Check out the video at Drug War Draft by Students for a Sensible Drug Policy and send a message to Congress which is reconsidering the law.

If you're one of the many who can't get a scholarship because of a drug conviction, SSDP has a link to alternative available scholarships.


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..."

The HEA reauthorization process this year presents a great opportunity to get rid of Aid Elimination Penalty forever. Help these kids get back into school by urging Congress to include language repealing the penalty in this year's bill.

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    As Kissenger Said (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:47:12 PM EST
    During the Iran-Iraq war "let them kill each other."

    Bush has no love for the poor idiots that would go to fight his war. If they come back alive they are sure to become a social problem  competing for funds that could be better spent on bombs, planes, guns and other assorted military technology.  

    Maybe the need..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:45:56 PM EST
    for fresh cannon fodder will end the drug war, since common sense and reason doesn't seem to working.

    don't count on it - (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scribe on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:52:57 PM EST
    I'm still waiting to see the recruiters in the back of the local low-level courtrooms where the misdemeanors get handled.  I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure they'll start showing up any day now, once the local judges work out some deal with them where they'll overlook the kid's positive test in return for (a) taking him off the court's hands and (b) wiping his record.

    Back in the 60s, that was a primary way recruiters filled their quota - the judge told the teenaged violator "3 years in the Army or 3 months in the county jail (and then your draft board will be waiting)".

    Of course, with a drug conviction, the same kid is cheaper to the government in the long run, since they won't have to pay college.  And it's not nearly as reprehensible-appearing as a recruiter hovering in the back of the courtroom.  Just another facet of the same thing which kept the Minnesota National Guard in Iraq exactly 729 days, when their GI Bill entitlement would kick in at 730.


    If we see a return.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:06:36 PM EST
    of the "3 years/3 months" deal, I hope the kids are smart enough to take the 3 months.

    Jeralyn, (none / 0) (#5)
    by HeadScratcher on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:24:02 PM EST
    You state that Bush doesn't want these kids to go to college. No, he signed a bill stating that these kids can't get Federal financial aid if they are convicted of a drug offense while in college. Not exactly the same thing. That's just a tad misleading.

    BTW, which president who is also the husband of the candidate you are supporting in this election signed the much harsher bill in 1998????What's Hillary's stand on it now????

    Try going to college without federally supported (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:03:13 PM EST
    financial aid - no grants, no loans, no nothing.

    If you aren't the kid of a dad pulling in at least $500k, it ain't happening except maybe, just maybe, the community college  (itself a namby-pamby 60s Great Society program).

    Of course, if your dad is pulling in $500k or so, he can afford the services of a good criminal defense lawyer who will get you out of the pickle you are in, or at least get a plea to a non-disqualifying offense.

    Your comment exemplifies typical Rethug thinking - f*ck the middle and working classes, blame them for everything that happens to them, and reserve everything for the haves and the have mores.


    what planet are you on... (none / 0) (#9)
    by HeadScratcher on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:35:13 PM EST
    $3,300 per YEAR at Florida State University, for instance. Rent a room for an additional $6,000 per year. Food, expenses, books are an additional $12,000 per year. That's $21,000 per year. Not cheap, but definitely not needing $500,000 per year salary.

    Now, get a part time job at $6 hr. for 20 hours per week for the seven months schools in session. That's $3,500 less taxes. Get another job for 40 hours per week at $6 per hour for five months school isn't in session and you have another $5,000 less taxes. So you're at about $10,000 per year if you live off campus. Not to mention money that should have been saved for the first 18 years of life.

    Say you live near a university and live at home. Or you go to community college for 2 years. Or, in Florida, if you're high school grades are good enough you get a large share (or all of it) of your tuition paid for.

    It's funny. My lower middle class family sent three of us to state universities without any direct aid (state universities are subsidized). It can be done with some planning and some elbow grease. Don't get caught with drugs and it's a lot easier. It's amazing, but many kids don't take drugs. (And I'm all for legalizing all drugs).


    LOL (none / 0) (#11)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 03:09:33 PM EST
    Don't propose that student work part-time.  That is not supposed to happen here.

    You'll be surprised to learn... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 03:37:13 PM EST
    that people who get financial aid also work part time...or even full time.

    Why you guys would rather pay for 49 billion dollar weapons systems, instead of helping kids go to college, is really beyond me.


    Pont to (none / 0) (#18)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 08:33:42 AM EST
    where I said kids should not be HELPED to go to college.  

    Fair enough.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 08:39:48 AM EST
    So I take you don't agree with denying somebody with a drug conviction financial aid....I agree.

    Sure but (none / 0) (#20)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 08:48:10 AM EST
    kids who have never been in trouble and need it more first.

    Judging by what we spend.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:08:35 AM EST
    on weapons and war, the feds must be rolling in dough, and there should be plenty to go around for all that apply who meet the financial requirements.

    LOL (none / 0) (#22)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:41:14 AM EST
    ok if you want, just show me in the constitution where the gov't has warrant and sanction to be involved in education.  Then I will show where they have warrant and sanction to be involved in defense.    

    If what we spend on weapons.... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by kdog on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:25:17 AM EST
    is for "defense", then crack-cocaine is a mild stimulant.

    I agree the govt. has expanded past any and all constitutional restraints, and I don't like it either.  I just see it as too far gone to go back, so you pick your poison.  I'll take financial aid to drug offenders over a missile shield everyday of the week...at least I can see the benefit in that, however mild a benefit it may be.


    scribe to screed.

    I miss scribe.


    you are correct (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:32:42 PM EST
    that the law came in under President Clinton in 1998.

    That doesn't excuse Bush for not advocating a change. Or for promoting a policy that says it's okay to serve in the army and Iraq but not get college aid if you have a drug conviction.


    Hillary (none / 0) (#10)
    by HeadScratcher on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:36:04 PM EST
    But what about YOUR candidate Hillary. Don't talk about Bush's lack of heart if you're not going to talk about Hillary's...After all, you support her and loathe him.

    Sady no (none / 0) (#7)
    by jarober on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:14:04 PM EST
    From The Washington Post, no fan of the administration:

    The Army announced yesterday that it met its stated recruiting goal of 80,000 new active-duty soldiers for fiscal 2007, but senior Army and Defense Department officials said the service fell short of a larger internal goal of several thousand more troops necessary to expand the size of the overall force.

    So they missed their internal goals, but not the overall number.  I guess the narrative is all that's left for the left, since the facts aren't there.  Is shoe pounding next?

    Also (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:36:10 PM EST
    Besides once again lowering the standards ...
    CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reported on the July 30 edition of The Situation Room that "the Army has been having trouble signing up new recruits. So, it has got a new idea: a $20,000 bonus if you sign up and you agree to ship out for training within 30 days."

    Media Matters


    oy (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 03:42:25 PM EST
    All a kid with a drug conviction needs to do to be eligible for Federal Financial aid is go to an acceptable drug rehab program. You know, the type of thing you want non-students to go to instead of jail.

    Also, there are other aid programs:

    Even if the student is not eligible for federal aid, he or she may be eligible for state or school financial aid.

    And/or the student can work.

    Rehab? (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 03:50:16 PM EST
    For reefer?  The govt. has got to be joking.

    Bottom line, it's a stupid phoney "tough on crime/drugs" restriction that should have never passed in the first place.

    Freakin' Clinton...another of his dubious legacies.