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So here's a fun wrinkle on "Extreme Vetting" and the New Cruelty: The Pentagon recruited a whole bunch of foreign-born people to fill specialties that U.S.-born soldiers just aren't prepared for. It would save time and money on training, and as an incentive, the recruits' applications for citizenship would be fast-tracked. But then we all got terrified about terrorists, so the Pentagon decided it had to much more carefully screen all those recruits, many of whom hadn't yet actually entered the military, to make sure the recruits weren't terrorists. But the resulting backlog in screening led a lot of those recruits to overstay their visas while waiting to actually get a military assignment. So now that they're illegal immigrants and there are so many people waiting for screening, the Pentagon may just call the whole program off and maybe even help Homeland Security deport the folks who are now in the country illegally. Because of the Pentagon's delays.

Did we say "fun"? Sorry, sometimes we mix that up with "Kafkaesque."

The SNAFU is detailed in an "undated action memo" sent to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and kindly leaked to the Washington Post by someone who probably found this as insane and outrageous as we do. Then there's this bit of additional crazy:

4,100 troops — most of whom are naturalized citizens — may face “enhanced screening,” though the Pentagon voiced concern on how to navigate “significant legal constraints” of “continuous monitoring” of citizens without cause, according to the memo.

You're a citizen, but we need to monitor you constantly, although that's illegal, because we don't want another Maj. Nidal Hassan. Though he was born here. But you weren't, so your citizenship is no shield from eternal suspicion.

The program, called "Military Accessions Vital to National Interest" (MAVNI) because acronyms are the only thing more inevitable in military bureaucracy than fuckups, was started in 2009 to recruit foreign-born folks for specialties -- mostly in the Army -- in medical and language fields, since few American-born recruits show up at boot camp already knowing Pashto, Mandarin, Russian, or how to do surgery. About 10,400 people have signed up under the program, some in exchange for a faster path to citizenship, but many who were already citizens and just wanted to help their adopted country as translators or in medical fields. But last year, the Pentagon decided it needed to more thoroughly vet the applicants, because they certainly didn't want headlines about some foreign-born soldier running amok on a military base. Pentagon officials set about determining the "threat level" for all those recruits, both the ones already in the service and those who hadn't yet been inducted.

Unfortunately, those enhanced background checks required the military to divert “already constrained Army fiscal and manpower resources” into the screenings, according to the memo, creating a backlog of about 1,800 recruits who haven't even been to basic training. So because Times Are Tough, officials recommended to Mattis that those recruits have their enlistment canceled, and that MAVNI be discontinued. Ah, but of course there's a catch, and it's a beaut:

Those recruits are in what the military calls the delayed-entry program, a holding pool of recruits assigned training dates in the future. About 1,000 of them have seen their visas expire while waiting for travel orders, which would put them at risk of deportation if their contracts are canceled.

Sorry, we promised you a spot in the military because we really need you, but we screwed up the vetting process, slowed down your entry into the military, and now -- oh, bother! -- you've become an illegal alien, and we certainly don't want no damned illegals in our beloved Army.

Let's repeat that one more time before you hear Fox News lying about it: These are not people who illegally crossed the border and tried to sneak into the military to get citizenship. These are people who signed on the dotted line because the the Army said it needed their particular skills, but then overstayed their visas waiting for the military to get its shit together.

WaPo reporters talked to Margaret Stock, a retired Army officer who helped create the MAVNI program in 2009; she "called the decision a breach of contract made in bad faith":

“It’s terrible. You trusted the Army, who delayed the process, and now they’re going to cancel your contract and have you deported,” Stock said.

So now the Pentagon has all these folks' detailed information -- addresses, phone numbers and their legal statuses -- just ready to hand over to ICE so they can be deported for the offense of trusting the Greatest Military in the World. Hahaha, stupid foreigners! If you want a fast track to citizenship, you need to invest in a luxury apartment for half a million bucks!

The memo claims that about 30% of the recruits in MAVNI have "unmitigable derogatory information" in their background that could disqualify them from service. Stock said that "derogatory" stuff didn't necessarily mean they'd been seen dancing in the streets of Jersey City on 9/11, but was almost certainly just life facts related to being an immigrant, like having foreigners in the family or even being related to someone in a foreign government. To make matters worse, the screening process doesn't seem to allow any exceptions for such mundane details:

“It’s okay to investigate someone with a legitimate security threat,” Stock said. “But share a characteristic they don’t like, which is they’re foreigners. They’re going to be treated as second-class citizens for their entire career.”

Stock said the level of "extreme vetting" the MAVNI recruits were being subjected to was absurd, and might violate the Pentagon's policies on equal opportunity: "You don’t do surveillance on everyone who is Irish-American because Mike Flynn broke the law when talking to the Russians."

Yeah, well maybe that's the problem. Just look at all the white people in the Trump administration and the madness they've gotten up to. Something needs to be done about these people.

How about screening recruits for connections with Goldman-Sachs?

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[WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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