Check out this NY Times article:
The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown about 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show.That's a substantial increase in the number of people who have criminal records in the military, while at the same time the military continues to kick out gay and lesbian servicepeople only because of their non-criminal sexual behavior.
They can make all the arguments about unit cohesion that they want, but let's consider that many of these people "are not permitted to carry firearms, and many criminals have at some point exhibited serious lapses in discipline and judgment." Consider also:
A General Accounting Office report that looked at attrition from 1990 to 1993 found that service members who were granted moral waivers were more likely to be discharged from the Air Force because of misconduct.Don't worry about more recent numbers; the military has decided not to track people with criminal records and see how they fare.
I don't mean to imply that everyone with a criminal record is a homicidal maniac who shouldn't be given a second chance. I'm just saying that if we're going to send these people to the other side of the world to try to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people so that they can build a stable and pro-American democracy, maybe we should consider queer people for the army before we consider people who have committed crimes of "aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide."