The Deployment Diary

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Military Stereotype Disproven

I think everyone in America, whether affiliated with the military or not, know the stereotyping of our military (especially of our enlisted service members) that occurs - not only by politicians, but by the general public. There are many, but the most often repeated stereotype since the start of the GWOT seems to be that the poor, the ignorant and minorities make up our fighting forces.

It was a popular talking point of the left during the last election season. The left accused President Bush and republicans of wanting to bring back the draft to scare ignorant voters into voting democrat. Meanwhile, the liberals were actually the ones gasping that our poor and minorities disproportionately made up the military. Hence, they were shouldering the burdens of war while the middle class and privileged reaped the benefits without the sacrifice.

One of the most vocal democrats to harp this stereotype on Sunday morning talk shows, in newspapers and in Congress was Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York. He wrote a piece for The New York Times detailing his accusations. In Bring Back the Draft, Rangel makes the following accusation:
But as a combat veteran of the Korean conflict, I believe that if we are going to send our children to war, the governing principle must be that of shared sacrifice. Throughout much of our history, Americans have been asked to shoulder the burden of war equally.

That's why I will ask Congress next week to consider and support legislation I will introduce to resume the military draft.


Service in our nation's armed forces is no longer a common experience. A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while the most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent.

Not only did I disagree with his stereotyping, I disagreed with his assertion that throughout history Americans had shouldered the burden equally. During the Vietnam War, the draft Rangel is so fond of failed miserably at making sure Americans shouldered the burden equally. All too often, the rich and politically connected were allowed to get their children out of military service, completely avoiding the draft. It was too easy for wimps like Clinton to flee the country and party abroad while their peers were fighting and dying in the jungles of Vietnam. So no, Mr. Rangel, there was no shared sacrifice. Then - unlike now, the poor and minorities were all too often the ones who could not escape military service - not to mention, they were more likely to feel an obligation to fulfill their duties to their country instead of trying to run and hide from it.

Well, as research often does, a study by the Heritage Foundation has dispelled the popular and often repeated stereotype. The Washington Times reports in their article Middle class filling up military, study says:
Middle-class youths, not the poor, are providing the bulk of wartime recruits to the armed forces, according to a new study by a conservative think tank.

The Heritage Foundation research paper found that a higher percentage of middle-class and upper-middle-class families have been providing enlistees for the war on Islamic militants since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Of course, Mr. Rangel was not available for comment. Sure as I'm sitting here, if the study had proven his stereotyping correct, he'd have been giving a press conference. As is typical with the left, when their convenient theories are proven false, they just move on to the next "say anything for political gain" theory regardless of the truth or whether they've tried to find even ONE fact. Their ideas and agenda are more important than facts, you know.

Mr. Kane said overall evidence "is at odds with the image, painted by some supporters of the draft, that the military exploits poor, ignorant young Americans by using slick advertising that promises technical careers in the military to dupe them into trading their feeble opportunities in the private sector for a meager role as cannon fodder."

And that there is the main reason behind the stereotype. Regardless of whether they served their country, the simple fact is, many liberal democrats just don't LIKE the military. The military "dupes" people into service because, of course, NO person would WANT to serve their country. The poor pitiful poor have NO opportunities (because we, of course, don't have ANY programs to help the poor get into college or receive technical training) so they HAVE to join the military and that takes advantage of them...

The truth is:
The Heritage report states that median household income for all enlisted recruits in 1999 was $41,141, compared with the national median of $41,994. By 2003, the recruit household income reached $42,822, when adjusted for inflation.

"In other words, on average, recruits in 2003 were from wealthier neighborhoods than were recruits in 1999," said the report, titled, "Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11."

Another stereotype, another leftist rant proven false...facts seem to never be good news for liberals.

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  • Thanks so much for that piece. (I found you via Mudville Gazette.) I, for one, get so sick of hearing the assumption that people serving in the military were duped into signing up or that they had NO other option. My husband has a computer and electrical engineering degree from Harvard University. He served 7 years on active duty with the Army and now he's getting ready for deployment with his National Guard unit. He made a CHOICE to include military service in his career goals. My husband comes from an upper class family background. His sister went to the Naval Academy. And while I will say, his background is not that typical - it is not rare either. His story is not as different from his fellow servicemembers as liberals would like to think.

    By Blogger The Patriette, at 11/10/2005 7:10 AM  

  • God help the idiots who cant seperate the warrior from the war! I gotta totally agree with you on the whole thought that our soldiers arent intelligent enough to figure out what enlistment in the army actually meant! It must be so much easier for those people saying it to ignore the fact that they are just men of honor and are willing to stand up for what they believe in and fight for what is just & right! I thank God every day for My solider. (He has a masters in science and is a VERY intelligent man.)

    By Anonymous Katy, at 11/23/2005 6:24 PM  

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