Monday, December 05, 2005

Hyman Spins the Numbers

“For a man's counsel cannot have equal weight or worth when he alone has no children to risk in the general danger.” -- Pericles’s funeral oration

Mark Hyman claims that the poor are not overrepresented in the military. He’s wrong.

The military and conservative commentators have tried to spin the recent findings of a demographic study to say that the military does not draw heavily on the financially strapped to fill its ranks, but
an investigation by the Washington Post that went inside the numbers found that in fact the military specifically targets poor, rural areas for heavy recruitment. And they don’t simply rely on numbers; interviews with recruiting officers confirmed what the numbers suggest.

Hyman lamely suggests that the percentage of minorities in the military has fallen since 9/11, but what this statistic actually reflects is the fact that African Americans resent being mined for human resources for
a war they don’t believe in.

And this is a case study of a larger problem. The military is having
a great deal of trouble meeting even reduced recruitment goals. Why would this be? If we are actually fighting to protect America from terrorists, wouldn’t there be a flood of people signing up, as there was for World War II? But the lack of recruits has driven the military to raising its maximum age requirements and taking more “educationally challenged” enlistees than ever before. Might this be that the American people, even those in the dwindling minority who support the war, don’t truly believe that the war is about defending America and, hence, not worth putting their own (or their children’s) lives at risk?

The fact that
only seven members of Congress have children who are in, or might be sent to, Iraq supports this assumption. On both sides of the political spectrum, those who have supported the war (at least to some degree) have not felt so moved by their own convictions that they encouraged their children to participate (as, for example, Franklin Roosevelt’s children did in WWII).

The most glaring examples of this are those most directly responsible for the war. President Bush and Vice President Cheney, both of whom found ways of avoiding combat service in Vietnam (a conflict they supported) have carried on this less-than-honorable tradition. Both wax rhapsodic about the wonders of bringing democracy to Iraq and the tangible threat Saddam Hussein posed to the United States, yet neither seems to have even floated the idea that their own children might pitch in.

Hyman limply jabs at Rep. Charles Rangel’s suggestion that a draft be considered. What he knows, but doesn’t acknowledge, is that Rangel’s actions were designed to make a point (the same one Pericles made nearly 2500 years ago): it’s easier to believe in the illusory glories of war when you don’t have to send your own flesh and blood into the meat grinder.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.95


At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's not surprising that Joseph Goebbels, sorry, Mark Hyman would spew this garbage. He is among the most shameless propagandist of crap out there. Three cheers for FCC deregulation!

While these Right Wing jerks play the patriotism card, call the opposition the "hate America crowd", etc., they don't seem to actually give a damn that Bush and the Republican controlled Congress is simply immoral.

Why do I say this?

The answer was seen on Sunday's Meet the Press, where the co-commissioners of the 9-11 commission (the one Bush didn't want) said that Washington has not done its job. They gave the government more F's than A's on their report card. A lot more.

Okay, conservatives out there... what's the one thing even the most uncaring people say the government should do?

Uh.. protect the nation?

Thomas Keane, the Republican head of the 9-11 commission, said this Sunday that enacting the changes called for by the commission is "not a priority for the government right now."

"A lot of the things we need to do really to prevent another 9/11 just simply aren't being done by the president or by the Congress

And from the Washington Post:

"Specifically, the [9-11] panel gave the government an "F" on

- homeland security spending for cities most at risk,

- on improving radio communication for emergency agencies

- and on airline passenger prescreening.

They awarded only one A _ actually an A-minus _ for the administration's efforts to curb terrorist financing."

(end quote of the Post)

It's been four years since 9-11.

Bush can give a speech on the need for a constitutional amendment against burning an American flag, but can't be bothered about basic national security.

And Mark and his ilk can rant about dumb things that don't matter.

God save us...the crowd in D.C. won't.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.