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One Stat About the U.S. Military That Will Surprise You

Society & Culture  (tags: Americans, military, society, family, education, freedoms, patriotism, news, humans, interesting )

- 1599 days ago -
There is a widespread perception in the U.S. that enlisted soldiers are poor, uneducated and underprivileged, that they choose to enlist and to serve because they have few other options, and that they risk their lives because they have very little to...

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Gene J (290)
Tuesday September 3, 2013, 3:13 pm
Not sure how I feel about this story, Carrie. First, any site that features Rand Paul immediately becomes suspicious to me and there he is on the right side bar. I'd sure like to see the numbers from that study. And my own experience in the Army 1968 to 1970 was that enlisted soldiers, which I was, were the ones who either had family history, as I did, or a desire to get the GI Bill, which I also did. The conscripts this author writes off were the college graduates who had run out of exemptions and didn't have political protection. I supervised, at 20, a unit of 12 men all of whom were draftees, four to five years older than I, and got drafted, not willing soldiers any more than I was really. That was a different time, a different mindset, the one thing that was the same as always though, the sons of the politicians did not serve or if they did, they did so as Bush did, safely out of harms way for the most part. I'm not disputing the conclusions, but I'd like to see the data because this is not what has been said so far, this is new. Perhaps there's an agenda behind it, perhaps not, but I'd like to see the data before swallowing the whole fish. :^)

Lindsey O (19)
Tuesday September 3, 2013, 4:47 pm
This may or may not be true (and it wouldn't surprise me if it happened to be true). But this isn't a study done by an unbiased third party organization. It's from the Heritage Foundation, which without question has an agenda (they are there to provide a stated "conservative" viewpoint). That doesn't automatically mean they lied when presenting the data the military gave them; however it does make me question their findings (just as I'd be equally cautious about accepting, say, a study on animal welfare practices in laboratories put out by PETA).

Like Gene, I'd prefer to see the data itself, not just the Heritage Foundation's claims regarding it.

Jason S (50)
Tuesday September 3, 2013, 7:39 pm
Good posting, thanks

GGmaSAway D (195)
Tuesday September 3, 2013, 7:43 pm
Have to agree with Lindsey and Gene on this one - would like to see the stats first.

We do know that many Hispanics have joined the military as a way to get their citizenship faster. We also know that up until now most rich kids got the cushy assignments somewhere far away from actual war zones. That being said, there are always exceptions. I could possibly agree that back in 07-08 the idealistic white boys/girls might have wanted to sign up out of patriotism, which was higher back then. And the high school graduates without money for college might have signed up, believing the hype from recruiters...It's a good career move.

However, I would still think that many poor kids, who didn't want to sign up for drug dealership, could have thought this was a way to get their GED, learn a trade, like how to drop bombs accurately, and make good pay to send home to the family, because there are no jobs even for the college kids. They might think that joining the service would help all the way around. It's also possible that judges still give troubled kids a choice between jail and the service.

These are all possibilities but without seeing the actual figures nobody really knows. Hate to say it but TP Rand Paul made sense for mental blatherings here. Scary.

Joanne D (38)
Tuesday September 3, 2013, 9:40 pm
You know, when I was in the service, a high school diploma was a requirement to enlist. They wouldn't take you if you only had a GED. The only way to get around that was to take some college courses, and use that as your educational level. And even that wasn't a sure thing. Certainly many people then, and I gather now, joined for the GI Bill benefits. Of course then it was possible to be upwardly mobile through education.

Gene, I see your point about Rand Paul, but it does also depend on why he is featured. I had an email today from Daily Kos in which one blog featured Steve King, the point being to demonstrate how incompetent he is. Not that I wouldn't like to see the data too. Also, it is very possible for a Libertarian to agree with progressives when neither wants war. That is just one issue. It doesn't make him anyone I would ever vote for (or you, probably).

Lona G (84)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 4:12 am
I agree with Gene, I'd like to see the data too and I'd rather have the raw data straight from the databases rather than through Heritage Foundation. Note also that this is a study from 2008.
They've thrown out the Hispanics (11%) as a minority group but didn't do that in 2006 when there were 8% Hispanics. Now they're added to the group of enlisted whites, making this the largest group. Why change that? And what else has been filtered out or grouped differently? I'm also suspicious of the over-representation of African-Americans in the military. Why would so many more, apparently well educated, African-Americans from financial stable middle-class backgrounds enlist compared to other groups with comparable demographics? No explanation is given.

Lindsey O (19)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 5:32 am
True, John. A candidate has to be exceptional to be admitted to the service academies (which makes sense, since there are far too many applicants for the slots available and the academies are designed to try and mold the students into the best of the best)

Vallee R (280)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 9:28 am
Great conversation. Thanks.

Elizabeth M (65)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 10:44 am
The fact that so many privileged and educated Americans choose to serve says that the importance of camaraderie and brotherhood sometimes outweighs the financial loss or the risks of war. It says that there are things out there greater than sitting in a classroom or making a lot of money. It says that for many of our men and women in uniform poor or wealthy, black, white, or Hispanic the greatest currency to possess in their lives is honor and respect. And it says that patriotism is alive and well in this country.

What I believe is that collectively, they are men and women who represent something greater than what we perceive. Thanks Carrie for posting.

Carrie B (306)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 11:23 am
I find it interesting that any and every negative article about our military is taken as fact without hesitation, but a positive article such as this is questioned. It is still necessary to have a HS diploma ~no GED ~ and testing is more sophisticated and rigorous. Gone are the days of any warm body will do to fill a quota.

Lindsey O (19)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 11:41 am
Carrie, I'm one of those who often questions the "negative" articles about our military (I'm proud of our military and dislike the attitude of those who see nothing positive about it at all). And that has nothing to do one way or the other about questioning whether this particular organization might have fudged the numbers due to its stated and open "conservative" bias. It's just a matter of preferring independent confirmation of things like this.

june t (66)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 11:17 pm
thanks for the article
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