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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kerry, Rangel and our Troops

HotTalk by Scott Hennen has this excellent picture and a letter from one of our fine soldiers in Iraq.

The caption on the post was " A picture tells 1000 words".

It does too!!!!

The letter than accompanied this photo was from one of our servicemen over in Iraq:

"This is a true story.....Check out this photo from our mess hall at the US Embassy yesterday morning. Sen. Kerry found himself all alone while he was over here. He cancelled his press conference because no one came, he worked out alone in the gym w/o any soldiers even going up to say hi or ask for an autograph (I was one of those who was in the gym at the same time), and he found himself eating breakfast with only a couple of folks who are obviously not troops.

What is amazing is Bill O'Reilly came to visit with us and the troops at the CSH the same day and the line for autographs extended through the palace and people waited for two hours to shake his hand. You decide who is more respected and loved by us servicemen and women!"

I wonder what kind of reception people like Rangel, Pelosi, Clinton etc...would get.

I have often said that people like Kerry, Rangel and quite a few others not only deliberately lie about the men and women who join our military. They "claim" the majority are in the armed services because they are poor or uneducated, yet all studies and every statistic proves them wrong....yet they continue to spout these lies because they know there are people out there that will gullibly swallow whatever lie they tell them.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the three reasons Rangel names for wishing to re-instate the draft are not supported by facts OR history.

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), soon to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has announced his intention to reinstate the draft. He has offered three different justifications for the reversion to conscription after 33 years of an all-volunteer force: social justice, peace, and better troops.

Social Justice

Rep. Rangel claims that poor people with few opportunities enlist, often driven to military service because of structural unemployment. “If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq,” he said on FOX News Sunday (11/26/2006). This serious charge—that the most vulnerable citizens are being hauled away to fight in corporate America’s wars of choice while the elite are snow-skiing—is untrue.

According to military data analyzed by The Heritage Foundation, U.S. troops come from wealthier neighborhoods than their civilian peers.[1] In fact, the only underrepresented neighborhoods are those with the lowest incomes.

FOX News’s Chris Wallace challenged Rangel on recruit incomes during a Sunday interview. Wallace asked, “Isn’t the volunteer army better educated and more well-to-do than the general population?” Rangel replied, “Of course not.”

Rangel did not refute the evidence about incomes, but he did make a new claim about current military volunteers. “And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment,” he said. This claim may have some basis in fact, but my initial review of military data shows otherwise. The report I authored includes a detailed list of participation rates by state.[2] (See Chart 1) For example, the state of New York has an enlistee-population ratio of 0.72, meaning that New Yorkers are underrepresented in the military recruits of 2005 by 28 percentage points. New York has a low unemployment rate as well, at 4.0 percent. Montana, however, has an even lower unemployment rate but has the highest military enlistee-population ratio of any state in the nation at 1.57.

The correlation between unemployment and enlistment rates among the 50 states is negative, not positive, and it is also statistically insignificant at minus 10.7 percent.


Rep. Rangel also argues that war is less likely under a draft because policymakers would not want to put their own loved ones in harm’s way. “There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” he said.[3] Indeed, the Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq war were fought with a volunteer army, but the Korean War and Vietnam War were fought with conscript armies. There is simply no substance to the argument that a draft keeps the peace, but it must be said that “draft wars” were fought with higher troop levels, and higher casualties.[4]

In the last 60 years, America has fought two wars with conscription and two wars without. The logic that conscription was the critical determining variable does not hold.

The revolution in military affairs began after the military converted to all-volunteer soldiers. Soldier pay increased, and the value of human capital led to a transformation towards a more technologically advanced force.

Better Troops

Rangels insinuates that the military would obtain better troops through a draft than it has through the volunteer force. However, it is difficult to see how motivation and morale would increase if the ranks were filled by random draw.

It is certainly not the case that current enlistees are poorly educated. For instance, the average serviceman reads at an entire grade level higher than his civilian counterpart. High school graduation rates for wartime recruits are fully 17 percent higher than for U.S. civilians aged 18–24.

The all-volunteer force has had immense success in drawing highly motivated individuals through better pay. America’s military leadership is adamantly opposed to instituting a new draft. The generals and admirals argue that a draft would weaken mission capability and create enormous structural and management problems. Morale and force cohesiveness would suffer intensely, particularly with a two-caste military.

The Threat to Individual Liberty

Regardless of Rangel’s arguments, justification of a “just draft” presents a philosophical dilemma. Coercing people to serve is detrimental to individual liberty—this is the problem of social justice based on group demographics rather than individuals. The U.S. military is one of the most colorblind, merit-based institutions in the nation. Soldiers surrender their individuality voluntarily to join a team, with a team mentality. Mandating service will diminish this choice.

Even if Rangel and his colleagues in power rename their project “national service,” it would still be unjust, because forced volunteerism is inauthentic. Certainly, Americans will sometimes accept restrictions on their liberty, such as the speed limit or income tax, but only to advance the common good. Empowering the central government to oversee and restrict the employment of all young Americans for two years is not consistent with common good restrictions and is instead a dangerous violation of individual liberty.

The Pentagon, the President, Congress, and the new Democratic leadership need to repudiate the idea of a draft as well as the notion of mandatory volunteerism. All young Americans deserve the peace of mind that their personal freedom is not in jeopardy.

Every reason Rangel has named has been factually false... do you think he knows it? Yes, he has seen these same studies and charts...he simply doesn't care. When you have a following of people that will suck down your lies, why stop telling them?

Hat Tip to Powerline for the link to the Opinion Journal Piece by James Taranto, who has an excellent series of letters about the US Military, please go by and take a look at his series, it is excellent.

One particular letter caught my eye and it is something people shoud be aware of:

Responding to Rangel--IX
We were left with so many unpublished letters about the U.S. military that we thought we'd take the opportunity of the holiday-shortened Christmas week to publish some more of them. We begin with one from Robert Eleazer, who tells us about a bit of recent history of which we'd been unaware:

I spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force from 1974 to 1999 (not counting 4 years of ROTC from 1970-74). Although my family could not afford to send me to college without financial aid, and although I did not get a military scholarship, I joined because I wanted to serve my country--and the urgency to do so seemed greater to me at a time when the military was unpopular in some circles.

We need to recall that we would know about the attitudes of some leaders towards the quality of people who serve in the military even if the Vietnam War had never occurred, and if we did not have Kerrys and Rangles to remind us.

Robert Strange McNamara's attitude toward the U.S. military was well illustrated by an experiment he imposed on the armed services in the 1960s. Project 100,000 was a plan to place 100,000 retarded people and other mental cases in the military. Presumably, McNamara thought that these people had mental abilities compatible with military service.

Some of the senior officers I served under had the misfortune of having to deal with McNamara's experiment. A decade later they still shook their heads in dismay.

This sounded too crazy to be true, but sure enough, we found a February op-ed piece by Kelly Greenhill of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government that describes the program:

Four decades ago, during the Vietnam War, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara created Project 100,000, a program intended to help the approximately 300,000 men who annually failed the Armed Forces Qualification Test for reasons of aptitude. The idea behind Mr. McNamara's scheme was that the military would annually absorb 100,000 of the country's "subterranean poor"--people who would otherwise be rejected.

Using a variety of "educational and medical techniques," the Pentagon would "salvage" these Category IV recruits first for military careers and later for more productive roles in society. Project 100,000 recruits--known as New Standards Men--would then return to civilian life with new skills and aptitudes that would allow them to "reverse the downward spiral of human decay."

Mr. McNamara further concluded that the best way to demonstrate that the induction of New Standards Men would prove beneficial was to keep their status hidden from their commanders. In other words, Project 100,000 was a blind experiment run on the military amid the escalation of hostilities in Southeast Asia.

Some 150,000 NSM were inducted by 1968. The experiment proved not just foolish but deadly:

A Project 100,000 recruit who entered the Marine Corps in 1968 was two and a half times more likely to die in combat than his higher-aptitude compatriots. After all, they tended to be the ones in the line of fire.

But Project 100,000 recruits fared poorly outside combat as well. . . . Research conducted in the late 1980's revealed that across the services Project 100,000 recruits were reassigned at rates up to 11 times greater than their peers. Likewise, 9 percent to 22 percent of these men required remedial training, as compared to only one to three percent of their higher-category counterparts in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

So the false Rangel-Kerry description of the current volunteer military as a provider of dead-end jobs to losers was, at least in part, an accurate description of the draft-era military--and by design. It's particularly perverse that Rangel calls for instituting the draft (albeit he votes against it) as a way of "solving" this problem, which in fact has not existed for 35 years.

After reading this, I just HAD to do some searches on this Project 100,000 myself because I could not believe such stupidity was allowed to occur....yet it was.

Beginning in 1965 and continuing for three years of war, Project 100,000 saw McNamara order the relaxation of standards of mental ability to allow the conscription of young men who tested as borderline mentally handicapped, Category IV. They were recycled through boot camp two or three times until finally they passed. Training manuals were translated into comic books so they could grasp the principles.

They could not be taught any other skills and so, for these 100,000 unfortunates drafted each of those three years, their fate was the Infantry, MOS 11-Bravo. These innocents were sent straight to Vietnam and straight into combat, where they died at a rate nearly three times that of the average draftee.


At least Rangel and Kerry and friends are in the proper company.

Personally I cannot believe Kerry would have the audacity to go to Iraq at all. Our soldiers should not have to be in his company if they do not wish to. I am glad none of them showed up for his little "press conference", THAT is a statement Mr. Kerry, in case you are too "uneducated" to get the point.

Others discussing this: Michelle Malkin, Opinion Journal, Blue Crab Boulevard and PrairiePundit.

Say Anything, Euphoric Reality, Joe's Dartblog, Captain's Quarters and Chickenhawk Express