Stupid Soldiers: The Left's WorldviewI just received this article (see below) and was struck by it. Mr Kane nails it. Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Charley Rangel, John Kerry, all these folks really think that most of us who serve(d) do so because economically and mentally we had few other options, but the opposite is true and the numbers don't lie.
And here's another fact: people in the military mostly vote for Republicans, maybe not right away, but eventually. I always did. I voted for them because I knew they had a better understanding of how to fight our enemies and how to keep us ready to do so. During the 27 years I served here's something else that became apparent--> when the democrats had their way we got weaker, we were undermined. The opposite was true when republicans were in charge.
I served under four republican administrations and two democrat ones. Carter and Clinton used and abused us. They reduced our operating budgets and worse than that we knew they felt contempt for us and we felt it right back at them, especially for Clinton. Carter just came across to me as a naive goober. Clinton just disgusted many of us. He slashed our funding while increasing our operations tempo. He put a "dabbler" in as Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, who refused to listen and who already had a history of enmity for the military. In Somalia, he refused heavy armor to our commanders on the ground and that arrogant decision resulted in the debacle we now call "Blackhawk Down." Clinton, our Commander in Chief, the leader of the United States military, indulged in adluterous sex play in his office, a misdeed that for any of the rest us in uniform would have resulted in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Those are just the tip of the iceberg, but I don't want to talk about him today.
Perhaps the real reason the left calls us stupid is because most of us who serve(d) don't think as they do. Therefore, their rationale goes, we MUST be undereducated. Calling people stupid, uneducated and evil is how the left debates. THOSE are their talking points, fleshed out with lots of other epithets and a continuous dose of the "f" word. Personally, considering all the above, I really don't understand how progressives can possibly consider themselves as the intellectually superior group, but they smugly do.
One last thing. People who serve(d) in the armed forces become smarter and more educated. They have no choice if they plan on making the service a career. I took college level classes throughout my entire 27 career. Even more important than the "book learning" was the education I absorbed from my worldwide travels and experiences. I have been exposed to more cultures, peoples, and took part in more historical events than the average American civilian could ever hope to. Check out this observation: the longer you serve in the military, the more you learn, the more of the world you absorb, the more likely you are to vote conservatively. In other words, for those of us in the military the more educated we get, the more Republican we become in spite of ourselves. And believe me, it's not about being brainwashed, because you will never find a more free-thinking and independent minded group of people anywhere than folks who have served for more than two or three tours in the American armed forces.
Anyway, have a read of the article that just inspired all of the above. Phil
|Stupid Soldiers: The Left's Worldview|
Stupid Soldiers: The Left's Worldview
by Tim Kane
Sen. John Kerry’s comment to college students in California that without education, “you get stuck in Iraq” was not really a joke, botched or otherwise, but neither is the furor over the senator’s comment entirely fair. This line of thinking did not begin with Kerry, and the sentiment is not just a one-time gaffe made by a single individual. Rather, Kerry’s slip-up reveals a cornerstone of the left’s worldview: that soldiers are stupid.
Although rarely expressed so boldly, liberals’ beliefs that young soldiers are kids, not adults, and victims instead of volunteers has been apparent for decades. Rather than acknowledge that the hundreds of thousands of American adults who enlist are intelligent, and intelligently choose to serve as warriors, the Left has repeatedly characterized the uniformed service as a burden foisted on the less fortunate and less intelligent.
In a 2002 New York Times editorial, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D.-N.Y.) asserted that a “disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent.” (By the numbers, his characterization is outdated by at least three decades.)
The stupid-victim-soldier stereotype was given a boost in 2004 by what turned out to be the highest-grossing documentary ever made, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”:
Where would [the military] find the new recruits? They would find them all across America in the places that had been destroyed by the economy. Places where one of the only jobs available was to join the Army.
They [the two Marine recruiters] decided not to go to the wealthier Genesee Valley Mall in the suburbs. They have a hard time recruiting young people there.
Moore goes on to paint the recruiters as conniving and young potential enlistees as dupes. Since then, these stereotypes have been repeatedly echoed around the mainstream media:
* New York Daily News, Nov. 8, 2005: “Youth from low-income areas are far more likely to end up in the military.”
* Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2005 (page A1): “[T]he military is leaning heavily for recruits on economically depressed, rural areas where youths’ need for jobs may outweigh the risks of going to war.”
* Los Angeles Times, Sept. 24, 2005: “The [GAO] report appears to support the contention that service in the military reserves is most attractive to young men living in low- or medium-income families in rural communities.”
* New York Times, Aug. 18, 2005: “Very few” of the soldiers fighting in Iraq “are coming from the privileged economic classes.”
In fact, the opposite is true. A recent demographic study by this author, published three days before Kerry’s gaffe, reviews the data on all enlistees, not just a sub-sample. The average American enlistee is more educated—not less—than the average young civilian. Wartime recruits also come from wealthier neighborhoods than their civilian counterparts, on average. And the force has been trending towards wealthier troops and smarter troops since the war in Iraq began in 2003.
The Facts About Today’s Soldiers
* The average reading level of new soldiers is roughly a full grade level higher than their civilian peers’.
* Enlistees’ high school graduation rate was 97 percent in 2003, 2004, and 2005. The civilian graduation rate is seventeen percentage points lower.
* The wealthiest 40 percent of neighborhoods in America are the home of 45.6 percent of 2005 enlistees. For every two U.S. recruits from the poorest neighborhoods, three come from the richest.
* There is no statistical evidence to support the claim that minorities are being targeted or exploited for military service. The 100 zip codes with the highest proportions of African-Americans were actually under-represented among military enlistees in 2005.
* Every U.S. military recruit of the last 33 years has been a volunteer.
(See also, “Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003–2005”)
Antiwar criticism has morphed into a patronizing attitude toward GIs, by way of questioning the quality of the men and women who volunteer to serve. Perhaps it is easier for the antiwar Left to believe that soldiers are unintelligent than to believe that they are taking risks willingly because they actually believe in the war’s purpose.
The good news is that many Democrats were quick to condemn Kerry’s statement and call for an apology. But righting this wrong requires more than an apology for a one-time slip. At issue is a core belief that sorely needs to be corrected because it is intertwined with weighty policy issues.
The fundamental irony is that so many elites who are eager to cut and run from Iraq stand in clear contrast to the tens of thousands of young adults who are joining the fight, understand the stakes, and want to win.
Dr. Kane is the Bradley Research Fellow in Labor Policy in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.
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