Sunday, November 05, 2006

Stupid Soldiers: The Left's Worldview

I 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
Posted Nov 03, 2006

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.


Copyright material is distributed without profit or payment for research and educational purposes only, in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.



Sidney said...

I salute the courage of the soldiers but I despise the politicians who send them to war.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you sidney, especially the neoconservatives who themselves did not serve in the military but were quick to send our men and women in harm's way.

Ed said...

I find it funny that Dr. Kane uses his main example by picking a poor black New York neighborhood where the median income is $26,500 when the national average is $42,000 and finds four youths from families making $41,000 and says this makes his case that soldiers come from the wealthiest neighborhoods. I think he only made a case that soldiers come from the middle class, not the wealthiest as he implies. In fact, reading his report further, he says himself that largest percentage of 1999 recruits came from households below $40,000.

On the military voting republican, I can understand. Why bite the hand that feeds you. All your reasons were monetary related so if I was getting paid by republicans and not by democrats, I would tend to vote republican too. It also goes for civilians who work for the government. They too tend to vote republican for the same reason. Because I don't work for the government or military and have no reason to vote their way, I fall back on financial responsibility a lot. We just can't keep spending like we do. But as a constitutionalist, that means eliminating all these crappy social programs and beefing up our national military by spending more money on them and pulling in our troops from overseas.

I've made my choices and I'll end up voting more republican than democrat tomorrow just because I think I will be better served that way. You might be surprised to hear that.

Kevin said...

To Sidney and "anonymous"(which is the worst type cowardice- unable to even stand behind your remarks in an electronic atmosphere.)--The Chickenhawk argument is tired and irrelevant, especially in the age of the all-volunteer force, which is the crux of this post. It doesn't take military service to understand national defense. FDR never served. Jimmy Carter did. There is no coorelation between military experience and an effective commander in chief. This is like saying that no male should ever have an opinion regarding the abortion issue.

You are missing my bro's point regarding military voting tendencies. Military budgets get cut, and this tends to put lives in danger. It has less to do with "voting your wallet", which is the tendency of all Americans, and more to do with wanting to do good work and being provided the proper tools with which to do it.

Pulling our troops from overseas is isolationist and 19th century ideology. "Beefing up the military" and keeping them all home is a waste of money, and ultimately also costs lives. Like it or not, we are the major (and sometimes only) force for stability all around the globe. This requires a physical presence. Calling yourself a constitutionalist has nothing whatever to do with national defense.
You want to eliminate "crappy social programs"? Cool. Better have something in mind that is better. "Crappy" or not, much of what has been developed in the way of the betterment of society was begun with good intentions and to fill a need. The need will still exist, even if the program does not. I am not arguing your point regarding social programs. There have been and still are many that have been and are very expensive and have not accomplished their stated goals. To kill a program because it is inneffective is a job half-done. Developing a new idea in place of the bad one is equally important, and may not save any money short-term, but is still the right thing to do.


Phil and Kevin, you are right on the mark. It's a volunteer force and has been for sometime. During my 20 years service, I knew it was my job to defend my country and give my life if necessary. I would have without hesitation and witnessed many who did pay that price. Ed, you are wrong about military people voting their wallets. Kevin and Phil are correct. Most military people vote republican because they know the republicans will prepare them better for war through spending money on training and increase their chances of survival if they go to war. During the Carter administration, we in Special Forces spent most of our time picking up pine cones and painting tree stumps because there wasn't any money to train with. The effects of that lack of training resulted in mishaps like the failed Iran hostage rescue mission. Simply put, when we had republicans in office, we trained. When we had democrats in, we didn't. What would you rather have? A well trained military prepared for combat or a military that has no concept of combat readiness but can make tree stumps really pretty with white and yellow paint.

Ed said...

I promised Phil that I would steer clear of here for the time being but I feel I need to qualify my statement somewhat. If I'm not welcome, feel free to delete this.

Kevin said, "Military budgets get cut, and this tends to put lives in danger."

SF Soldier Forever said, "Most military people vote republican because they know the republicans will prepare them better for war through spending money on training and increase their chances of survival if they go to war. During the Carter administration, we in Special Forces spent most of our time picking up pine cones and painting tree stumps because there wasn't any money to train with."

When people say things like that above, how am I not to assume that money isn't an issue? I don't mean to imply all soldiers vote with their wallets because we know that isn't true. I know there are soldiers that are Democrats but as Phil said, the majority is probably Republican. My interpretation of your views is that if you vote Democratic, that your lives will be in danger because funding/budgets, i.e. MONEY is cut.

I don't think there is anything dishonorable about that. I vote all the time based upon money but it just affects me differently than it does you, because my job is tied more closely to the economy than the funding of the military. I also favor a strong military and dislike seeing the Democrats cut funding. It kills me to see soldiers sent out to protect our country with out the absolute best in weaponry. But again, since I am not directly involved in the military, that falls further down on my list of priorities than it does on yours and affects my vote to a lesser extent.

It was not my intention to offend Phil or any of you and make you sound superficial because money for the military might be a priority in how you vote. I just wanted to list it as a possible reason military people tend to lean Republican. If I offended any of you, I apologize.

Ed said...

Kevin - What I meant by being a constitutionalist and being for a strong national defense is that I am a member of the Constitution Party because it matches my beliefs. One of them is that one of the primary purposes of this country is to provide a strong national defense. Another is that our nation has no business being in the charity and welfare business. If the needs still exists after the unconstitutional government program has been terminated, it should be taken over by private individuals or charites as listed out in the separation of powers in the Constitution. Phil probably understands this because he has read my blog posts on the same subjects and that is why it was probably misunderstood by you. I hope that clears this up.

Anonymous said...

It's almost midnight 11/7 and guess what
KEVIN, the democrats have taken the House and by tomorrow the Senate.

Let's bring home our men and women from Iraq....and send those Chickenhawks to fight.

God bless America.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I'm sure my brother doesn't have time for you anonymous. Don't hold your breath thinking the dems will up and bring back the troops (or give up, or cut and run, all the same). Except for a few far lefties, most dems realize we can't leave yet. Most of our troops know the same thing, even if you don't. We'll continue to keep the hordes at bay while you do squat. I assume you don't since you don't have the plums to tell us who you are.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Ed, you still seem to miss what we are saying. We don't vote OUR wallets. It isn't money for US, but the wherewithal we need to train and to have the weapons and systems we need to win. What does that have to do with OUR wallets? About the only people who serve with money on their minds are AF pilots (that's an inside joke by the way). AF pilots kick ass, mostly, but Jeeez, listen in on most of their casual conversations and 80% of the time they are talking about their investments! You guys know who you are!

Ed, read my post again called "Enemy Within " and you'll kind of understand my earlier "moment." Your welcome here anytime.