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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
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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
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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
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