Maybe John Kerry should have done his homework and remembered the study Tucker Carlson wrote about back in 2005.
You often hear people compare the war in Iraq to the war in Vietnam, but here’s one key difference: Nobody’s calling veterans of the current war baby killers. Even the most strident opponents of Iraq go out of their way to praise the soldiers who’ve served there. Everyone is for the troops. It’s required.
Why the change in attitude? Two words: pity and guilt. Everyone knows America’s wars are fought by America’s poor, people with so few career options that serving in combat qualifies as a lucky break. We feel sorry for the troops because we know desperation drove them into the military. We feel guilty because they are doing what we, the more fortunate, don’t have to do.
It turns out we’re wrong on both counts. A new and comprehensive study of enlistment data by military analysts at the Heritage Foundation has found that the typical volunteer is both more affluent and better educated than the average 18 to 24-year-old American. That’s right: The average soldier is more privileged than his civilian counterpart. And the gap is widening. As the study puts it, since September 11th, “more volunteers have emerged from the middle and upper classes and fewer from the lowest-income groups. … Since 2001, enlistments have increased in the top two-fifths of income levels but have decreased among the lowest fifth.”
But wait. Aren’t poor minorities “disproportionately” represented in the enlisted ranks and the military? That’s the claim Congressman Charlie Rangel and others have made repeatedly on the House floor. It’s a total crock. According to a 2003 Pentagon study, “blacks tend to be concentrated in administration and support jobs, not in combat jobs.” Infantry, armored and artillery units, whose members suffer the bulk of casualties in Iraq and any war, tend to mirror the racial mix of the country almost exactly.
So if enlistees aren’t driven to the military by poverty and hopelessness, why do they join? For the adventure, maybe. Possibly for the experience. Maybe even because they believe in the cause.
Hard as it may be for the average congressman or newspaper columnist to believe, American soldiers aren’t losers. They’re adults who know exactly what they’re doing and are doing it voluntarily. Pity their suffering perhaps, but don’t patronize them.
Maybe Kerry doesn’t read conservatives like Tucker Carlson. (Carlson has been a fierce opponent of the Iraq War, but I think he is still considered a conservative.) I’ll bet Kerry reads the Washington Post though.
But Kerry said he just misspoke. Why should all Democrats be held accountable for something John Kerry said?
Okay, we will forget about Kerry for a minute and just take a look at what some other Democrat politicians and liberals have said on the subject. The first one that came to mind was actor Richard Belzer’s comment about those “19 and 20-year-old kids that couldn’t get a job.” Belzer said he knew much more about the war than them because they weren’t reading 20 newspapers a day like he was.
Along those same lines, when I heard Kerry’s comment I also recalled the way the liberal media treated the story of Jessica Lynch. Early in the Iraq war when the rescue of Lynch became a big story, most in the media went out of their way to include in their stories at least a few lines about how Lynch didn’t really want to be a soldier, but wanted to be a teacher. They said she was forced into the armed forces by poor economic conditions.
Charles Rangel has furthered the stereotype by making comments about only the poor serving. He even pushed for a draft in an effort to make the evil rich serve, too.
Some liberals, like Joel Stein, feel sorry for these poor uneducated troops who were so easy to trick, “I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.”
As I said an earlier post, comments like these are enough to leave you speechless.