Senator Rangel looks to reinstate draft - Page 3 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-20-2006, 04:09 PM   #31
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Originally posted by nathan1977


Do you think the American public is that smart? This strikes me as political suicide, and I'm not sure for what.
I think so. Even though this thing hasn't passed (yet?), it certainly has sparked loads of conversation.
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Old 11-20-2006, 04:15 PM   #32
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Originally posted by Harry Vest
If the Democrats brought in the draft they'd be hung up on meathooks, the republicans would sweep 08 and we'd be looking past 2020 for any hope of them making a political comeback. This is one of the stupidest idea I've ever heard of.
I think you are missing the point. This won't pass, the dems aren't looking to acutally get this passed. It's one dem trying to prove a point.
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Old 11-20-2006, 04:17 PM   #33
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i do agree with Rangel's main point, which Melon elucidated -- part of the reason Americans seem so willing to use military force as a first resort (like in Iraq) is that it remains quite abstract to the elites who don't have children over there, and then to the college kids who aren't being freshly plucked a month after graduation to go get gunned down in a rice patty like in 1967.

i would challenge everyone to take a drive through some of the most economically downtrodden areas in the country -- Indian reservations, rust belt ghost towns, etc., and count how many military recruitment billboards are posted along the roads. when your school system has failed you, when college is unaffordable, and the military is offering you a way to pay for an education, is it any wonder those without money but with plenty of ambition are drawn to the military?
Very good point. While there are definitely people who WANT to join the military, for some, going into the military was really the only way out.

But I'm curious about the ses background of the current military forces...yes, there are a lot that came from a low ses who are enlisted, but I thought that the middle class people dominated the officers?

Granted, I think there are probably very few, if any upper class people serving. But there are certainly a good number of middle class officers.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:52 PM   #34
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Originally posted by U2democrat
This isn't the first time he's called for a draft, he did it a couple of years ago as well
Which prompted Bush's "rumors on the Internets" remark during the Presidential debates, if I remember correctly.

It seems to me that all Rangel is saying is, if you support the war, you should be willing to risk your own life or your child's life to show that support. Of course it seems a bit simplistic - "Hey, Bush, I support you so much, I offer up my own child to fight this war." But that seems to be what he's saying.

What do I know? I'm just a disabled veteran's wife.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:01 PM   #35
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Unless an invading army was landing on the beaches of California (or here in Sydney, as this point is the same for both and most countries today) there is no way in hell a draft could be executed in this day and age for anything other than an obvious and immediate threat to the people directly involved. I'd suggest this guy knows it as well. Things have changed - a draft for something as fuzzy and controversial as Iraq would just create absolute bedlam at a level that would make the reaction to Vietnam look like a minor dummy spit. I think, as others are suggesting, that this guy is just trying to create a lightning rod for a serious public debate.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:02 PM   #36
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Originally posted by Lemon Grrrrrl


Which prompted Bush's "rumors on the Internets" remark during the Presidential debates, if I remember correctly.

It seems to me that all Rangel is saying is, if you support the war, you should be willing to risk your own life or your child's life to show that support. Of course it seems a bit simplistic - "Hey, Bush, I support you so much, I offer up my own child to fight this war." But that seems to be what he's saying.

What do I know? I'm just a disabled veteran's wife.
I think you're spot on with that. I think that's exactly what he is saying. I think Michael Moore made a similar statement in F911 right? He was asking congress members if they would enlist their children in the war that they supported.

Like others, I think he just wants some people to open their eyes and start talking about it for real.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:20 PM   #37
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Originally posted by redhotswami
But I'm curious about the ses background of the current military forces.
I was curious about this too, so I checked the DoD website where I found this article (partially posted below), which I've tried to flesh out with data found in other areas of their site--it's not all together in one convenient spot, unfortunately. Apparently, part of the problem is that DoD does not track family income data for recruits nor individual income data for enlistees, so any studies looking at this have to work from ZIP code data, then refer to Census 2000 data by ZIP and extrapolate from the medians. This isn't the most accurate method obviously, so keep that in mind as a disclaimer.
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By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service, Nov. 23, 2005


...The data shows the force is more educated than the population at large. Service members have high school diplomas or the general equivalency diploma. More service members have some college than the typical 18- to 24-year-olds. [90% of recruits have a high school degree; the general population is at about 75%. For obvious reasons most recruits don't have a college degree, however, 92% of active-duty officers do. --y.]

...The military is one option young people have after high school. Military service offers money for college - money a large segment of the population doesn't have. For those people, the military is an attractive option. Many young people who don't yet know what they want to do see the military as a place to serve and decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives, rather than take a low-paying job or do nothing.

...The statistics show the number of African-American servicemembers is dropping...Young Hispanic men and women have a strong tendency to serve in the military, though so far, only the Marine Corps has been "able to break the code" to get significant numbers of recruits, Gilroy said. [African-Americans are 12% of the total US population, 18% of the armed forces, and 9% of the officers. Hispanic-Americans are 11.5% of the total population, 7.5% of the armed forces, and 3.5% of the officers. Euro-/white Americans (I can tell from the numbers that this overlaps some with "Hispanic" in the DoD's definition--unfortunately, I can't tell by how much; roughly 5%, I'd guess) are 75% of the total population (per Census definition) and 73% of the armed forces (per DoD definition). Native Americans are the most overrepresented group, 0.7% of the total population but 7.5% of the armed forces. --y.]

On the socioeconomic side, the military is strongly middle class, Gilroy said. More recruits are drawn from the middle class and fewer are coming from poorer and wealthier families. Recruits from poorer families are actually underrepresented in the military, Gilroy said. Other trends are that the number of recruits from wealthier families is increasing, and the number of recruits from suburban areas has increased. This also tracks that young men and women from the middle class are serving in the military. [The mean income for all 2005 recruits was $43,238, while the mean US income was $41,994 (adjusted to 1999 dollars in both cases to allow for comparison). 13.7% of recruits came from the poorest 20% of Americans, and 22.85% from the wealthiest 20%. The middle quintile ($35,000-$55,000) was the most overrepresented, but I couldn't find an exact stat on that. Nor, unfortunately, could I find any data on officers by income. --y.]

Young men and women from urban areas are not volunteering, Gilroy said. In fact, urban areas provide far fewer recruits as a percentage of the total population than small towns and rural areas.
So these figures, at least, don't fully support Rangel's claim; on the other hand, the DoD doesn't offer data on how many politicians' children serve in the armed forces, either! I think you would also need to look at popular support for the war, as broken down by income quintile, to get the full picture here.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:36 PM   #38
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Originally posted by yolland

I was curious about this too, so I checked the DoD website where I found this article (partially posted below), which I've tried to flesh out with data found in other areas of their site--it's not all together in one convenient spot, unfortunately. Apparently, part of the problem is that DoD does not track family income data for recruits nor individual income data for enlistees, so any studies looking at this have to work from ZIP code data, then refer to Census 2000 data by ZIP and extrapolate from the medians. This isn't the most accurate method obviously, so keep that in mind as a disclaimer.

So these figures, at least, don't fully support Rangel's claim; on the other hand, the DoD doesn't offer data on how many politicians' children serve in the armed forces, either! I think you would also need to look at popular support for the war, as broken down by income quintile, to get the full picture here.
Thanks for this info, Yolland. I am a Platoon Leader for an Infantry Platoon in the National Guard. When going through my files - I was amazed at how educated my men were. Many have well paying jobs at the DEA, Highway Patrol, Programming...etc. It just never seem to make sense that many of the articles I read seemed to suggest that my men should mostly be uneducated and poor. There are a few "kids" in my Platoon - fresh out of high school and bootcamp - but all of them seem to have a Middle Class background and at least a goal for a college degree.

The one thing I seem to notice - is that many, many of the men I talk to have come from "broken" homes.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:41 PM   #39
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Originally posted by AEON


Thanks for this info, Yolland. I am a Platoon Leader for an Infantry Platoon in the National Guard. When going through my files - I was amazed at how educated my men were. Many have well paying jobs at the DEA, Highway Patrol, Programming...etc. It just never seem to make sense that many of the articles I read seemed to suggest that my men should mostly be uneducated and poor. There are a few "kids" in my Platoon - fresh out of high school and bootcamp - but all of them seem to have a Middle Class background and at least a goal for a college degree.

The one thing I seem to notice - is that many, many of the men I talk to have come from "broken" homes.
Everything you said here matches my eight years of experience in the reserves. Other than the few peiople of the two hundred in my unit, most all of us were in college, graduating college. Almost all had decent jobs. And, the "broken" homes thing fits the bill as well.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:55 PM   #40
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Everything you said here matches my eight years of experience in the reserves. Other than the few peiople of the two hundred in my unit, most all of us were in college, graduating college. Almost all had decent jobs. And, the "broken" homes thing fits the bill as well.
Strange, isn't it? Thanks for posting. By what I read - I was beginning to wonder if my company was the exception. After Yolland's post and now yours - I see that they are probably the norm. And that is a good thing for this country.

To be honest - I love these guys. They are witty, articulate, and intelligent. I'm proud to be with them. Most have joined not necessarily because of Iraq or 9-11 - but a sense of destiny. Many think that Iraq is only the beginning - that something even larger looms on the horizon. Many others have joined because their dads served in Vietnam and their grandpas served in WWII.

There are a few "shady" characters...but they are few and far between. Most of them are - shall I say - "salt of the earth"...

BTW - thanks for your service brother. It always adds "that much more" credibility to your posts on these subjects in my eyes.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:58 PM   #41
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i don't think education level is the barometer -- it's where people come from and the economic opportunities there. it makes sense to me that the brightest kids on an Indian Reservation, say, get their diplomas and go off and join the army because it's a way out -- the army is not for drop-outs or the uneducated, but it IS highly appealing for the ambitious who come from, say, Flint, MI, or other such economically downtrodden areas.

looking at educational background does not seem to fit the rubrick that Rangel and i are talking about -- that it's not that the poor and uneducated get sucked into the army, but that the ambitious in areas without much other opportunity tend to wind up in the army.

i would imagine, however, that the most represented in the army are going to come from very Red, very rural states like Montana where patriotism and violence are often conflated, as are duty to country and duty to a particular administration.
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