Russell Carollo reports for The Sacramento Bee:
"A yearlong examination of military and civilian records by The Sacramento Bee involving hundreds of troops who entered the services since the Iraq war began identified 120 cases of people whose backgrounds should have raised the suspicions of military recruiters, including felony convictions and serious drug, alcohol or mental health problems. Of those, 70 later were involved in controversial or criminal incidents in Iraq.
From 2003 to 2007, the percentage of Army recruits receiving so-called "moral conduct" waivers more than doubled, from 4.6 percent to 11.2 percent. Others, The Bee found, were able to enlist because they had no official criminal record of arrests or convictions, their records were overlooked or prosecutors suspended charges in lieu of military service - akin to a now-defunct Vietnam-era practice in which judges gave defendants a choice between prison and the military.