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If they did, they would enlist when the country goes to war. The evidence shows that they don't.

And you can die when you go to war or becoming seriously wounded. People my be afraid, but admire the brave of other, more 'cool' people.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 09:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it's just fear, then why do white educated affluent people stay home?

Are you saying that fear is a trait of certain races, social classes, etc.?

by Upstate NY on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 at 10:06:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mostly agree with you, but a couple minor caveats. First of all this is a relatively new thing, basically starting with Vietnam. Secondly, the children of elites are strongly expected to go to college immediately after high school. The military is generally  set up either for non-college grad enlistees, or college grad officers. In the old big expansions of WWI and WWII college grad draftees and volunteers were in fact generally made officers. There's two ways to become an officer - the service academies or ROTC. They army has cut down on ROTC programs in Blue areas and in top private universities and colleges, while expanding them in the big public universities  of the Red states. That means that you often need to make significantly more effort to be in the ROTC if you go to the sort of place where the children of the elite disproportionately end up. Thus in NYC there are no ROTC programs in Manhattan or Brooklyn, nor are there any at any of the CUNY campuses. The only ones are one up in the Bronx (Fordham) and one in Eastern Queens (St. Johns). If you're an NYU or Columbia student, enjoy the over one hour each way commute to every ROTC class. Similar problems for three of the four top CUNY campuses (Brooklyn College plus Hunter and CCNY in Manhattan, Queens College isn't that far from St. Johns)

But like I said, I think you are mostly right on this.

by MarekNYC on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 12:16:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree with you on the officer class.

I taught at a university with a ROTC program (U. of Rochester) and had long talks with my officer candidates. That is a slightly different story, as you say.

by Upstate NY on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 03:35:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course other factors than fear play a role. But what you say is, that it is impossible to think honestly military service is honourable, when you don't enlist. Do you really believe that?

You say those who don't enlist and say it is honourable are hypocrits and liers. I say they are consistently wrong. And I think this is much more dangerous. Liers (and we don't speak here about a few super rich, but about most of the middle class) may know when stop, stupid people don't.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 10:01:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I am saying that if they truly believed the country needed to be defended with military means, then they would enlist.

You're leaving out the political aspect of this. The GOP has been long affiliated with the military, and they use military propaganda as a political cudgel. This is incentive enough for someone to be a hypocrite, rather than merely "wrong."

They are so proven wrong on Iraq (80% of AMERICANs are now against it) but these elites will stick to being WRONG because of the political value of the propaganda. That tells me that they don't care whether they are right or wrong. They'll stick to the "honorable" line.

If military service were truly "honored" then wouldn't those who favor militarism take care of the soldiers who come home wounded?

Are you aware that our health care for veterans is a disaster? You're better off being poor and uninsured than you a soldier.

by Upstate NY on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 03:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The GOP has been long affiliated with the military, and they use military propaganda as a political cudgel. This is incentive enough for someone to be a hypocrite, rather than merely "wrong."
For the polit clowns it is a reason to be a hypocrit but only if their are people believing it, for the general population not. Somebody has to believe it, so that the propaganda works. And AFAIK McCain has a son, who fought in Iraq and Palin has a son, who is soon to go to Iraq. That's untypical, I know, but a little bit of believe must be in them.

They are so proven wrong on Iraq
Yes, and telling, that one is against this war, or was against it from the beginning isn't something considered 'unpatriotic' anymore, or? Sure, the Republicans play the "Obama is for losing in Iraq" game, this may help to consolidate their most extremist base, but will hardly work to gather independents.
It did work in the run up of the war in 2002. Many say, the then recent memory of 9/11 has boosted that. For sure many Americans after 9/11 did think, the country needed a strong answer (~90% approval to Bush in the beginning of the Afghanistan war); was there a mass enlistment of middle class people with good job chances after 9/11?

If military service were truly "honored" then wouldn't those who favor militarism take care of the soldiers who come home wounded?
The polit clowns use it as propaganda, and they tell they would care well for the veterans. Low information voters might think McCain as a veteran himself will care more for the veterans than Obama.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 04:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
American culture is politicized. People take sides and talk politics. The only people I encounter who talk about heroism and the military are inevitably white educated Republicans who have never enlisted.

McCain comes from a military family in the officer class, so it's an expected thing that his son would join. McCain's Dad and grandad were also officers. Officer class is indeed, educated, more affluent, more white. I'm talking about the grunts, not the officers.

A huge number of the soldiers over in Iraq right now are part of the National Guard. These are so-called weekend warriors who earn an extra paycheck. I knew lots of NG people growing up and I would not say they joined for militaristic reasons.

Lastly, after 9/11, enlistment dropped among ALL classes.

by Upstate NY on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 08:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you talked to veterans or families of serving soldiers recently? Judging by my canvassing, plenty of them speak that way as well. My last sting was right next to a huge military base (Fort Belvoir) and not so far from the Pentagon.  Mainly not affluent - in fact that seems to be rather rare.

 While I agree with you on who joins up, I think they are a somewhat self-selected group from the poor and middle income population. Most wouldn't have joined if they didn't see it as a way out of a dead end life, but the patriotism stuff tends to be a secondary reason, indeed it's what distinguishes them from their peers who don't enlist.

by MarekNYC on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 08:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A large part of my experience growing up was a family business that catered (literally, served food) to a local National Guard. Now, I know that's not the army, but I have also spoken with soldiers who are currently serving, at least those who take advantage of the GI Bill.

I think that once they're in and have been through boot camp, then yes, I agree, they have bought in to the lore.  By the way, I'm not saying that all of them have disowned that macho bullshit. It definitely plays into some enlistments.

The recruiters talk an excellent game: opportunity, training, free school, etc. Money.

by Upstate NY on Sun Sep 7th, 2008 at 11:54:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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