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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

War - The Disappearing 'Mainstay'

It really makes me glad to read this news from NBC, via Raw Story. Glad, and at the same time a little sad. African-American parents are doing their best to stymie military recruiters, says the article, and here comes the sad part:
NBC News on Sunday examined the "disappearing military mainstay" of African-American recruits, who in recent years had provided about 1/4 of military enlistments.

Once seen by young black people as "a sure way to climb the ladder," the military is increasingly being shunned because of the Iraq War. "Nearly 3 in 4 blacks oppose the war," NBC stated, and the percentage of active-duty black soldiers in the Army "has plunged by a third since 2001."
For an ethnic group that totals approximately 10 to 15 percent of the total population to provide 25 percent of the military is sad.

That said, I don't think the reason behind the disproportionate number of black and brown soldiers in the front lines is racism so much as classism. If you're poor or working class, the military does represent a good way out of the grinding futility of your life. You might even be able to go to college and get a real job someday. At the very least, you could get decent medical care, and training and a skillset that could give you greater options in the real world.

Still, I'd like to see peace run rampant in the world, and training programs like the Peace Corps and the Conservation Corps offer young people a way out of the deadly grind.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cannon fodder!

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