Post recycled from Dinocrat and Ralph Peters
In the 19-month period - over a year and a half - from Jan. 1, 2006 until the morning you read this, misbehavior by our troops resulted in a total of 59 scheduled court-martials in Iraq - 21 of them general court-martials, which are reserved for the most-serious crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assault, arson and so forth). The other 38 were special court-martials, invoked for lesser offenses, such as disciplinary infractions or petty theft.
OK: 59 trials in 19 months, among an average troop population of almost 140,000. Compare that to civilian crime statistics back home, and it's clear that any of us would welcome the chance to live among such model citizens - even though our troops are overwhelmingly within the age window where criminal behavior is most frequent.
Start with a city that Money magazine rated as "one of the 10 best places to live" in the United States: Ann Arbor, Mich. Home to a great university, the town has a population of about 113,300 - about 20,000 lower than our pre-surge troop numbers in Iraq.
In 2005 (the last year for which statistics are available), that ideal place to live recorded 1,476 crimes that, if committed by a soldier, would have required a general court-martial - plus a further 2,282 thefts and similar infractions that, depending on the details, would have been handled by either a general or a special court-martial.
Twelve months in Ann Arbor, 3,758 court-martial-equivalent trials. If all the crimes had been taken to court, which one doubts. Nineteen months in Iraq, under the complex stresses of combat? 59 court-martials. Guess that bastion of ethical liberalism in Michigan needs to go through basic training.
But let's give peace a chance: The most dogmatically left-wing city in the United States is undoubtedly (the People's Republic of) Santa Cruz, Calif. With a population of some 55,000 - about a third of our current troop numbers in Iraq - Santa Cruz, where the Age of Aquarius reigns, had 503 violent crimes in 2004 (the latest statistics available) and a total of 3,665 crimes that would qualify for court-martials.
Extrapolate those numbers to match our current troop strength, and you'd have a requirement for more than 10,000 court-martial equivalents. If Santa Cruz were as serious about punishing its criminals as our military is.
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