Sunday, November 05, 2006

Stuck in Iraq

Ti bei fandagi hamyo, gi fine’nina nai hu hungok i sinangan as John Kerry put ineskuela (edukashon) yan i mañsindålu, hinasso-ku “whoa! Put fin måtto i minagahet!”

“Siha ni’ taiineskuela siempre mañatsaga’ giya Iraq”

Hu konfotme este, lao ti put i rason na todu i taotao gi i media ma ripipiti. Si Kerry ha sasångan båba put i manmumumu na sindålu giya Iraq.

Ti kumekeilek-ña este na “Siha ni’ mambrodie mañatsaga’ giya Iraq” but instead, ha na’hahasso hit put un gof bihu na estoria, na siha ni’ manggefsaga’ taya nai mañenglong siha gi gera taiguihi i mamopble. Para i manriku ti mappot para u ma suhayi gumegera. Gi i Revolutionary War yan i Civil War gi i states, yanggen ti malago i riku na taotao sumaonao, siña ha apasi i gubetnamento para u suhayi. Gi i geran Vietnam an ti ya-mu humanao yan gumera, ya guaha pulitikat gi entre i atungo’ siha i familia-mu, siempre un pepble na taotao u tahgue hao, ya gumerayi hao. Atan put hemplo i suette-ña Si George W. Bush.

Ti hu kekedifende Si Kerry, sa’ este yu’ nina’gof desganao put i matulaikå-ña siha. Para i sinente-ku nu Si Kerry yan nu Si Underwood. Hu gof guiaiya hafa ma sångan nai hobenña siha, gi i 1970’s kontra i geran Vietnam yan put i direchon i taotao Chamoru. Lao pa’go na tiempo, gi fino’ Ingles “humanao i dos para i tinalo’”

Achokka’ ti bei difende Si Kerry, bai hu difende i minagahet i sinangan-ña. Para i manriku, i inayek gi entre i militat pat kolehu, inayek ha’, siha la’mon. Lao para i ti manriku, taya’ inayek. Yanggen malago hao humalom gi kolehu, pat kumahulo’ gi lina’la’, fanhalom gi militat sa’ ayugue ha’ i chalan-mu.

Gof taitai hafa hu tutuge’. Ti hu kekesångan na taya’ patriotism i mamopble, ma saonao i militat put kosas ekonomik ha’. Patriotism isn’t even an issue here, the point is access, money and who is compelled to serve by economic interests and who can chose to serve if they want to. Håyi gaiaccess para kolehu, ya håyi taiaccess? Bai hu na’chetton gi este na post, un gof impottante na tinige’ put este na “scandal.” Estague un patte, ni’ gof na’ma’a’ñao:

…the percentage of enlisted military personnel from households with more than $60,000 in annual income is close to zero. Military recruiters don't even both to recruit in affluent neighborhoods: They know no one's going to sign up. At elite universities — Harvard, Stanford and Yale, for instance — the percentage of graduates who enter the military is minuscule.

Mungga machagi muna’put “patriotism” este. Conservative na pulitiko Si Kerry, ya gof hassan i biahi na ha hahasso put i mamopble siha. Siempre ti ha hasngon sumångan båba put i sindålu siha, sa' ayugue pinino' maisa pulitikat! Lao sinembatgo gi este na aksidente humuyong i minagahet, olaha mohon ma atan ya rikonosi este! Lao diapblo
because rather than focusing on the truth, people just deny economic disparities and inequities and assert that the only reason that anyone gets into the military is because of patriotism.

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Published on Friday, November 3, 2006 by the Los Angeles Times
Was Kerry Right?
The military isn't full of poor, uneducated kids, but it doesn't look anything like America.
by Rosa Brooks

Since John Kerry "botched" a joke and implied that those without education "get stuck in Iraq," political leaders from both parties have been piously describing U.S. troops as valiant young Einsteins in desert camouflage. But deep down, a lot of them probably think Kerry is right.

If those grunts were half as smart as members of Congress, they'd be on Capitol Hill getting sucked up to by lobbyists instead of sucking up dust in Baghdad's bloody alleys — right?

Most of our current political leaders didn't waste any time serving in the military. Like Vice President Dick Cheney, they had "other priorities." As recently as 1994, 44% of members of Congress were veterans. Today, it's only 26%. And despite the mandatory "I adore our heroic troops" rhetoric, most on Capitol Hill aren't steering their own children toward military service. Only about 1% of U.S. representatives and senators have a son or daughter in uniform.

For many in Congress, serving in the military is a fine thing to do — for all those poor schmoes who don't have any better options, that is.

During the Vietnam War, the controversial student deferments helped keep most affluent and educated young men out of the military, while those without college opportunities were far more likely to be drafted. Today, the military continues to attract many young men and women from less-affluent families by offering job training and scholarships.

But recent studies of military demographics suggest that today's military is neither uneducated nor poor. Statistically, the enlisted ranks of the military are drawn mainly from neighborhoods that are slightly more affluent than the norm. The very poor are actually underrepresented in the military, relative to the number of very poor people in the population.

That's mainly because the military won't accept the lowest academic achievers. The Army limits recruits without high school degrees to 3 1/2 % of the pool, for instance, while the Marines won't accept recruits without high school degrees. Poverty correlates strongly with high school dropout rates, so these rules significantly limit the access of the very poor to military service.

At the same time, they ensure that enlisted members of the military are more likely than members of the general population to have high school degrees. The same pattern holds for commissioned officers. In 2004, for instance, only 4.2% of officers lacked college degrees, and a whopping 37% held an advanced degree of some sort, compared to only 10% of adults nationwide.

The myth that the military is mainly the province of the poor and the uneducated is grossly misleading, and it's also dangerous. It obscures the far more worrisome gaps that have recently emerged between the military and civilian society.

Demographically, the military is profoundly different from civilian society. It's drawn disproportionately from households in rural areas, for one thing. For another, the South and Southwest are substantially overrepresented within the military, while the Northeast is dramatically underrepresented.

Compared to civilians, members of the military are significantly more religious, and they're also far more likely to be Republicans. A 2005 Military Times poll found that 56% of military personnel described themselves as Republicans, and only 13% described themselves as Democrats. Nationwide, most polls suggest that people who define themselves as Democrats outnumber those defining themselves as Republicans.

And though the average member of the military is neither poor nor uneducated, social and economic elites are dramatically underrepresented in the military.

Frank Schaeffer — coauthor with Kathy Roth-Douquet of "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service" and "Baby Jack," a novel about a father who loses his Marine son in Iraq — notes that the percentage of enlisted military personnel from households with more than $60,000 in annual income is close to zero. Military recruiters don't even both to recruit in affluent neighborhoods: They know no one's going to sign up. At elite universities — Harvard, Stanford and Yale, for instance — the percentage of graduates who enter the military is minuscule.

All this should bother us — a lot. The United States needs a strong and adaptable military — and in this globalized world, the importance of the military both in U.S. foreign policy and domestic politics is likely to increase, not decrease, in the coming decades. But a democracy needs a military that's not radically out of step with the values and hopes of civilians; and those who volunteer to risk their lives in our name deserve civilian leaders who understand something about the realities of service and combat. If we want an effective military that serves a healthy democracy, political and economic elites ought to shoulder more of the burden.

If political elites don't like the thought of getting stuck in Iraq themselves, they should consider the results of a recent study. Duke University researchers Peter Feaver and Christopher Gelpi analyzed data from the period between 1816 and 1992 and found that "as the percentage of veterans serving in the executive branch and the legislature increases, the probability that the United States will initiate militarized disputes declines by nearly 90%."

Want to make sure that the U.S. never again gets stuck in a pointless and aggressive war? Draft Congress!

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times

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