Friday, April 14, 2006

OYE Bitch-Slaps the True "Chickenhawk Crowd"

Thanks very much to Yankee Sailor for posting a DoD study purporting to show that military recruits are more broadly representative of the U.S. population as a whole. Here's our "spin:"

Operation Yellow Elephant supports broad participation in our all-volunteer military by all parts of our society. If more real Americans personally knew real servicemembers, officer and enlisted, they would be more concerned about what our national (political) leadership is asking our military to do, and the circumstances under which our military is following its orders.

This applies all across the political spectrum. If "The Left" personally knew enlisted servicemembers, they would realize the futility of protesting against military recruiters on college campuses, and would instead patriotically urge the College Republicans and others eligible to serve [healthy heterosexuals under 40] who support our military engagement in Iraq to "Be A Man! Enlist!"

We know that studies can be manipulated. [Easy question: How does DoD define "wealthy?"] But let's accept not only the validity of the study, but also Yankee Sailor's implied conclusion: that rich people also serve in our military.

OK, Yankee Sailor, CENTCOM wimped out, so we'll ask you:

Please identify one member of the enormous Bush clan with recent service in Iraq or Afghanistan, including the servicemember's connection to President Bush and what he/she is/was doing.

Please identify one servicemember with recent service in Iraq or Afghanistan who is closely connected to a Bush Ranger (raised $200,000+) or Bush Pioneer ($100,000-$199,999).

Please identify one servicemember with recent service in Iraq or Afghanistan who is closely connected to an important official in our governing party establishment.

Please identify one servicemember with recent service in Iraq or Afghanistan who is closely connected to neoconservative think-tanks or right-wing media.

Please identify one servicemember with recent service in Iraq or Afghanistan who is otherwise closely connected to our national leadership or political establishment in some other way.

We've been on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere long enough that publicly acknowledging patriotic service there, by someone who recently departed, presents no security issues.

If "wealthy" Americans really are participating in the fight, can't you persuade even one to step forward to take deserved and justified credit?

We know that three Members of Congress (Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) is one.) have adult sons who are enlisted servicemembers. A small number (fewer than ten, I think) of Members of Congress have adult sons or daughters who are junior officers. The national media have reported on this, which is why we focus not on Members of Congress themselves, but go beyond them to the broader national political establishment supporting our governing party.


At 14 April, 2006 14:28, Anonymous IRR Soldier... said...

A response to Yankee sailor...

Perhaps you should educate yourself and stop using slanted Heritage Foundation propaganda in an attempt to smear/disprove reality. The fact that the DoD actually regurgitated a Heritage-sponsored study to bolster its case shows one of two things: a) all is lost or b) GOP groupthink has overtaken the Pentagon.

The Heritage Foundation study you cite is severely methodologically flawed and does not reflect a true comparison between those who serve in the volunteer-force and those that are enlistment-eligible. You see, comparing the enlisted force with the 18-24 population in the aggregate obscures the truth. The aggregate 18-24 US population contains a high number of HS dropouts, those with felony criminal records, illegal aliens and drug/alcohol addictions - None of these groups, about 30% of all 18-24 year olds, are eligible to enlist - in large numbers at least - into the military. Why then, are we comparing those that are qualified to serve with those that aren't?

The real story of the lower socioeconomic status the all-volunteer force appears when a TRUE comparison is made with enlistees and ENLISTMENT-ELIGIBLE youth of the same age. In other words, take away the dropouts, druggies, criminals and illegal aliens and compare the enlistment-eligible youth that volunteer and those that don't. When you do that, you will find that our junior enlisted force DOES come from a lower socio-economic swath than those that don't serve. Not impoverished, just lower. The kids that enlist are more likely to come from homes with lower educational attainment and come from smaller, rural communities. When you take away the dropouts and illegals, inner-city HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES are far more likely to serve than their suburban counterparts. this is why the Bronx has seven army recruiting statiosn while Bergen county, NJ has one - even though Bergen County has MORE HS graduates eligible to enlist. Throwing ineligibles into the mix hides the truth - the effect I assume you want.

In fall 2000, before the war, only 5% of Army enlistees had MORE than a HS diploma. Source: Feb. 2006 issue of Military Medicine. In FY 02, I believe this number was 13%. As you know, a whole lot more than 13% of enlistment-eligible civilian 18-24 year olds have at least one college credit. In comparison, in 1964, the last year of the "peacetime draft", fully 17% of drafted E-1s had at least 2 years of college. 42 years later, when as a %, twice as many Americans attend college, we can't even attract a fraction of that number to voluntarily enlist.

The Heritage point made about the ASVAB also misses the boat. While yes, 50% is designed to be the median score. However, until recently, no one who scored below a 31 could enlist at all and a 50 is generally considered to be the bare minimum accepted by the USAF. Why then does Heritage include the "below" 31 crowd into the comparison. The truth is, that among enlistment eligibles, ie. those with over 31, a 67 isn't all that great. This is akin to a college with an 1140 median SAT score saying that they are great because those with 650s and 700s scored lower on a test with an overall median score of 1000 - even though 600s and 750s can't get into most schools.

No break down is made by service. Using the USAF's 300,000 airmen to make the Army and USMC appear "smarter" is a complete shell game. Maybe the Army will look bad if ASVAB scores are broken down by component.

An another front, I fully understand how waivers work - I was in USAREC after all. Your comments regarding felony waivers are misleading. In FY 2001, BEFORE, the recruiting shortfall, the Army accessed over 350 felony waivers onto active duty. Source: Moskos, "Patriotism-Lite Meets the citizen-soldier." The number of felony waivers has INCREASED since then. Bottom line: your assertion that "Severe criminal cases are not even entertained" is a blatent lie. I know what USAREC can and does waive.

At 14 April, 2006 15:08, Blogger Karl said...

irr soldier-

I can't believe that Yankee Sailor and Dod are resurrecting that Heritage Foundation study again. [Well, I guess I have to.] Thanks for your analysis.

I think they defined as "wealthy" what most Americans would call "middle class." Something tells me that most of the "wealthy" in that study won't even be subject to the Estate or "Death" Tax. [I'd start defining "wealthy" there.]

DoD outsourcing governmental functions to the Heritage Foundation is nothing new; that's how they staffed the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq in the first place.

That's why we have asked for any Heritage Foundation interns inspired to enlist to step forward to receive well-deserved praise from Operation Yellow Elephant. We're still waiting for the first one.

PS. Check out the cartoon link posted April 4.

At 14 April, 2006 15:09, Anonymous Samwise Galenorn said...

How about the son of NY Govenor?
Or the son of a Tennessee Senator, Albert Gore Sr?

At 14 April, 2006 15:26, Blogger Karl said...

samwise galenorn-

2LT Teddy Pataki, USMC, was commissioned last summer but asked to defer his active-duty service for three years to go to law school.

If you have any further update, please let us know.

At 15 April, 2006 01:55, Anonymous Samwise Galenorn said...

OK, how about Jack Kennedy, during WWII?
I'm all out...

At 15 April, 2006 13:41, Blogger Mr. Ed said...

Samwise - I'm very impressed that Mr. Pataki has agreed to serve.

But the comparisons to people who served in WWII or Viet Nam aren't valid. People of influence and connections served during those eras as evidenced by your examples and both George Bushes and John Kerry. No matter how you feel about them you have to admit they all put on a uniform.

But I'm with Karl when he says give me an example now. Okay, we've got a very few. What I don't think we have are the across-the-board numbers, especially from groups who so whole-heartedly support the war.

This spring, instead of President Bush speaking at a military academy commencement what I'd really like to see is him speaking at Yale or Harvard, both institutions he graduated from, and telling those people how good a term of military service is and how they as the future business and political leaders of the country could really help us out right now by applying for commission as an officer in one of the armed forces.

Mr Ed.

At 17 April, 2006 16:58, Blogger Yankee Sailor said...

Nice try at discrediting the data, but the DoD analysis I cited is not based on the Heritage study. Different statistical groupings, different data sources (Claritas vs. census data) and different time frames for data collection.

Also, IRR Soldier miscredits and misquotes me at length over waivers and other issues I don't recall addressing. I suggest he go back and review my posts on the subject (as I will do) and restate his objections based on what I actually wrote.

Bigger picture, because we have a number of logical arguments intertwined, let me first ask a few questions to be sure I understand OYE's arguments.

First, is OYE is arguing that the offspring of war supportes, by not volunteering, somehow discredit the opinions and positions of their parents?

Second, is OYE arguing that because College Republicans can't be seen lining up on the street at recruiting offices, their conclusion that the war in Iraq is justified and needed is incorrect?

And third, is it your argument that recruits must accurately and inerrantly represent the entire cross-section of society?

At 17 April, 2006 20:14, Blogger Mr. Ed said...

Yankee Sailor - thank you for being on active duty. I believe in many ways it's tougher than when I was in some 25 years ago.

Anyway, let me tackle your last point a little bit - just my opinion.

We're all reaping the benefit of living in this country, rich and poor alike. In the not-too-distant past many (not a few, many) of the rich and famous served just like everyone else. My favorite examples are George W. Bush and John F. Kennedy in WWII - both came from families of privilege that probably could have pulled strings to keep them out of harm's way, but didn't.

This may truly be a perception, but I certainly don't perceive the wealthier or well-connected classes participating in military service, that's what makes an example of someone who is in so unusual. As I said in an earlier post, I'd like to hear President Bush make a call for military service at one of the institutions of higher learning that he graduated from. He is the president, I'm sure if he asked those schools would give him the podium.

So to your last point "...must accurately...represent the entire cross-section of society?". It would be great if it was. If the economic, geographic, racial statistics exactly mirrored society at large, both enlisted and officer corps right up to and including flag officers then that would be a great American story.

Anyway - aren't you saddened when you, as a military person who has given up some of the comforts of civilian life, touched emotionally when you read about guys getting stop-lossed and repeated deployments when others are thumping their chests about how much they support the troops, as long as someone else is the one fighting the war?

Mr. Ed

At 18 April, 2006 00:33, Blogger Yankee Sailor said...

Anyway - aren't you saddened when you, as a military person who has given up some of the comforts of civilian life, touched emotionally when you read about guys getting stop-lossed and repeated deployments when others are thumping their chests about how much they support the troops, as long as someone else is the one fighting the war?

No, honestly it doesn't bother me. I learned a long time ago that there are "talkers" and there are "doers", and we need both. (Besides, when the "talkers" try to slip into the "doers" shoes, they usually just get in the way.)

To make my point I'll give you an example from war. Once upon a time, America got itself into a war that dragged on for what seemed like ages, was checkered by military missteps and failures, turned most of Europe against America and deeply divided the country.

While the war raged, a young, healthy, wealthy and in any measurable respect fit man passed his time as an ardent and vocal supporter of the war. He gave many speeches and wrote many a word in support of the war, but chose not to enlist.

Do I think any less of that man for choosing not to serve? No, because his words and letters were critically important to the initiation and success of the war.

Who was he?

His name was Thomas Jefferson, and the war he "avoided" was the War of Independence.

Some are "talkers" and some are "doers." That's just the way it is.

At 18 April, 2006 18:51, Blogger Mr. Ed said...

yankee sailor - I marvel at your attitude. All I can say is "Good for you."

Mr. Ed

At 19 April, 2006 07:56, Blogger Karl said...

yankee sailor-

Thanks for your three questions above.

I'll work on a separate post repeating the questions and providing responses.

At 19 April, 2006 19:55, Blogger Yankee Sailor said...

Thanks, Karl.


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