web counter Media Lies: How long must we suffer

Sunday, December 05, 2004

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How long must we suffer

It seems there is no end to the lies the elite media will tell in order to further their agenda. This particular editorial addresses the supposedly surprising news that Patrick Daley, privileged son of Mayor Richard Daley, has enlisted in the Army. Attempting to set some context, the writer repeats the old myth about demographics in the military.
Which it doesn't. While the Army is integrated and diverse, its enlisted ranks are filled not by the very rich or poor, but by the sons and daughters of the working class, particularly black and Hispanic Americans.

These are people who often lack options, for whom the military has long offered a choice: Serve your country in return for a job, for computer and technical skills, and a jolt of discipline, confidence and independence. The pay is low, the life regimented and exhausting. But serve your time and you will gain a future - if you aren't killed first. With young soldiers dying in Iraq every day, the choice is stark, and its consequences not at all theoretical.
Can anyone point to a single study that backs up these oft-repeated assertions?

It's not like the information isn't readily available.

Here's some facts from the pdfs that are easily downloadable from the site. That the media doesn't even bother to use them is an indictment of their lack of concern for the truth.
  • The ratio of officers to enlisted men is 1:5.3
  • Women comprise 15.0% of the active duty force
  • 35.8% of the active duty force identify themselves as minority
  • 19.7% of officers and 38.8% of enlisted members identify themselves as minority
  • 84.8% of active duty members reside in the US
  • Less than half (47.1%) of the enlisted force is under 25
  • The average age is 28
  • 86.7% of the officer corps hold at least a bachelors degree
  • 95.9% of enlisted members hold at least a high school degree
So are the enlisted ranks "filled....by...particularly black and Hispanic Americans"?

According to 2000 census figures, African Americans make up 12.3% of the US population. Hispanics make up 12.8% of the population. Together these two groups account for 25% of the US population. The miliary figure of 35.8% includes all races, not just the two largest and the miliary study dates to 2002 while the census dates to 2000. Accounting for growth in the population as well as all the other minorities represented in the miliary (Asian, US Indian, etc.) would probably add another 3 or 4% to that number. So the difference between minority representation in the general population and in the military is probably 6 to 7%.

Are these people who "often lack options" though? Almost 96% of the enlisted members hold at least a high school degree. Compare that with the general population - 80.4% of US citizens hold a high school degree or higher. In other words, military enlistees are more educated than the general population and more likely to have options. Yet they choose to serve - just as Patrick Daley has chosen to serve.

What about the risk of dying? Are they really in serious danger? While no one would argue that military service is not dangerous, particularly in a war zone, is it really that risky? I've written about this before. Military mortality rates compare quite favorably to the general population. Unquestionably the casualties in Iraq will change that, as will all the casualties of the GWOT, but that shouldn't be a surprise to any thinking person - and despite all the snide insinuations, military people are thinking people.

Patrick Daley holds an MBA and earned a six figure income managing private financial portfolios. Yet he chose to enlist in the Army. Why? The same reason many have enlisted.
The mayor's son says he was motivated simply by a sense of duty, which was reinforced by 9/11. He was in Manhattan that day, working for Bear, Stearns & Company. He describes himself as a military history buff and a friend and admirer of many soldiers, both from West Point and from his old neighborhood. His rationale for becoming an enlisted man and not an officer, in fact, seems torn from a management handbook: If you can start at the bottom, he says, you'll learn the most on the way up.
Duty, honor, country. Sound familiar?

The completely clueless writer closes with this.
Talking to reporters about his son's decision last week, Mayor Daley choked up. "It's a challenging time," he said, through tears. How odd to find Chicago's mayor-for-life, the most powerful man in the Central Time Zone, joining that suffering sliver of America - the men and women in the military and their families who are bearing the heaviest burden of this war.
Don't get me wrong. I'm pro-military all the way. I'm a Navy vet from the Vietnam era. I love the military. But have they really borne "the heaviest burden of this war"? What about the almost 3000 who died on September 11th? What about the families they left behind? Have they not borne a heavy burden?

What about the civilians serving in governement, some dying in Iraq? Others dying in far off places with names we don't know, whose lives we will never know of? Have they not borne a heavy burden? And yes, what about the President? Has he not borne a heavy burden? There are many ways to serve America, and there are many ways to die in the service of America. The military deserves our praise and admiration for their selfless service. But let's not elevate their sacrifice in a craven attempt to argue against the very service they provide. Every man or woman who enters the service knows they could die in that service. Marines especially know this. Yet they volunteer anyway.

Why do they do it? Because some of us, including Patrick Daley, understand the meaning of freedom as well as its cost. We should pray for many more like him.