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Tell It To The Marines

Daniel Gura ’06 has a not-too-well-written op-ed in the Record arguing that “there is a real need to reinstate the universal national draft.” As much as I like to recommend most everything published in the Record, this piece is just too slipshod to be worth anyone’s time.

Moreover, Gura fails to confront the real logic of his argument. If Williams students like Gura really have “a responsibility to ensure that we uphold the very sacred principles of this great country,” then why doesn’t he enlist? Whether or not he is right about the desirability of a draft is independent of his personal responsibility. Indeed, I find it hard to take serious arguments for a draft made by people who decline the opportunity to volunteer.

Fortunately, Gura has an opportunity to do this in a meaningful way without interupting his Williams career. He can volunteer for Officer Candidate School in the United States Marine Corps. If Gura — or anyone else — were really interested in this, I would be happy to provide more details, but the basic deal is simple enough.

Come down to boot camp for officers in Quantico, Virginia this summer for 10 weeks. We will kick the bullcrap out of you. Think of it as Outward Bound for tough guys. Basic idea is to put you under as much mental and physical pressure as we can without actually shooting at you to see who can handle it. If you can’t take being hungry and tired and yelled at, then you are unlikely to do well in Fallujah.

If you graduate from OCS (attrition is high), then you go back to Williams. Enjoy your time at college. Spend the money you earned this summer — the pay is decent. Think about what you have learned about yourself and the Marine Corps. And then, after you graduate, decide if you want to be an Officer of Marines. You see, there is no obligation. If, after graduation, you don’t want to be a Marine, then the Marines certainly don’t want you.

So, to whatever extent Daniel Gura ’06 thinks that his priviledge generates responsibility, he can act on it. The Marines are just a phone call away.

I suspect, however, that like most folks who seek to make something mandatory for everyone, Gura lacks the fortitude and consistency to first make it mandatory for himself.

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#1 Comment By Zorin Daniel Gura On April 29, 2004 @ 3:13 am

Well. I most certainly can say that I like dialogue. However, it is most appreciated when it’s directed in the correct area. The response to my op-ed piece; however, was not. That in of its self is unfortunate, but the greater issue is a complete clouding of my point. My main intention wasn’t that people @ Williams should have to go to the Army, but rather that the Army should represent the nation as a whole, not just the lower class. You should support the fact that the wars we have fought have given you the opportunity to go to williams and now to Harvard (whatever you are doing there).
What it comes down to is not a test of manhood in the woods of Virginia, but rather in your own room. When you have to look at yourself and realize that the poor in this country fight the wars that gurantee you and I our freedoms. I for one believe that their is a time when we need more soilders, let not continue to take from the poor, but rather “man up” and fight for ourselves.
The most intersted thing about your response is that it doesn’t anywhere in your piece address my claim. Do you deny that the poor fight our wars. Do you deny that the people of Williams go to bed a lot easier in a time or war than a steeling community in Pittsburgh, or factory town in Ohio. These small towns populate our army with their young men and women.
I have little interested in participating in a war. But my grandfather once told me of a time when boys left school early to fight for this country. A time when a boy felt odd if he didn’t go like his friends. I’m not asking you to fight, but their is something you could do. Maybe teach, clean, cook or anything. You are right I don’t plan on going to OCS school. Instead I hope to be working somewhere that will allow me to learn the skills to later in life be apart of the decisions that are made in our government. Maybe in that case we wouldn’t even have this argument.
PEACE

#2 Comment By Aidan On April 29, 2004 @ 3:18 am

I smell CHIKIN HAWK!!!! BAAAWWWWKKK!!!!

#3 Comment By Zorin On April 29, 2004 @ 3:20 am

Why didn’t my computer send the edited version of this. Sorry, the least I could’ve done is given a well written response. It would seem that I am as lost with a computer as I am with a pen. None the less I stand by my post and my piece.
THANKS

#4 Comment By Zorin On April 29, 2004 @ 3:24 am

Funny you should say that. I have very nice Chicken Hawk sweat shirt of Bush. However, I don’t share the unfortunate experience of being anything like him. What’s going to be hard to realize is that I’m a hard core Liberal. However, I actually care about the lower class and minorities unlike the liberal Democratic Party now.

#5 Comment By (d)avid On April 29, 2004 @ 9:20 am

Come on, Kane. You have a PhD in economics. You know all about collective action problems. Security of our nation is a costly endeavor for individuals, so there needs to be coercion or incentives to form a military.

The volunteer army will ALWAYS draw from the lower tiers of the socio-economic spectrum. It is simply not possible to compensate the upper (or even middle) classes enough to join the military. Dick Cheney said it well when he explained his lack of service in Vietnam by claiming that military service didn’t fit his life plans.

In times of peace, the socio-economic skew of the military is not much of a cause for concern. In fact, it can seem like a fair deal for the people from poor backgrounds who enlist. They get paid and pick up job skills as well as college tuition afterwards.

But in times of war, the risk is greater. The need for national security is higher. Some people have an ethical problem with the empirical fact that poor people are defending a country from which rich people derive more benefit.

I’m not saying this argument justifies a draft (for instance, the utility of a drafted army is the subject of much debate), but you dismiss the argument without ever dealing with its substance. In fact, your argument of “well, why don’t you enlist?” shows an astounding lack of recognition of collective action problems.

(And Aidan, why don’t you ever contribute anything constructive? It isn’t hard to play nice.)

#6 Comment By David Kane On April 29, 2004 @ 10:03 am

In a classic collective action problem, if I do action A (enlist), when no one else does it, then I am worse off than if I took action B (don’t enlist). But, if everyone did A, we would all be better off. Since everyone faces that choice and there is no mechanism (i.e., a draft) to force everyone to choose A, we all choose B.

Gura did not, as best I could tell, frame his argument in terms of a collective action problem. He argued that all privledged individuals, like students at Williams, have a responsibility to serve. Since not all of them act on that responsibility, a draft is needed.

But nothing prevents him from acting on it and his benefits to doing so are in no way affected by what anyone else does — at least in no way that he specifies. In fact, I would argue that the benefits to joining the military are actually higher for Gura if very few of his Williams peers also join.

Of course, one could *try* to frame this as a collective action problem, but I don’t think that that really works.

#7 Comment By Aidan On April 29, 2004 @ 11:02 am

oh Nickerson, don’t get your knickers all in a bunch. The bottom line here is simple: the upper socioeconomic classes don’t, and shouldn’t serve in war. Part of the incredible stupidity of the Great War was preferentially recruiting and killing the best and the brightest. America’s never done that–cf. Vietnam–hell, in the Civil War, you could pay for someone else to fight for you. I think society has a compelling interest in only sending less advantaged brackets to the front. As our dear Gura himself admits, he’s got dreams. “I hope to be working somewhere that will allow me to learn the skills to later in life be apart of the decisions that are made in our government.” Yep, that’s not a dream your average grunt has. Drafting Williams kids is a waste of resources, and a waste of time.

#8 Comment By (d)avid On April 29, 2004 @ 11:48 am

David: I think you are placing too many strictures on the nature of a collective action problem (indeed, glancing through Mancur Olsen, I see no such formulation). I can’t think of too many examples of where it is necessary to have EVERYONE choose “cooperate” for the socially optimal outcome (although paying taxes is an example where this is true). In most instances, only a small subset of the population needs to “cooperate” in order to achieve the collective good. For instance, in a dormotory suite, it is in everyone’s interest that the trash be taken out, but no one individual wants to do it. However, it is not necessary or optimal for everyone take out the trash simultaneously.

Now, the suite can try to create an institution to assign taking out the garbage duties (e.g., alternating weeks). What often happens in practice is that one person in the suite cares more about taking out the trash than the others (the privileged group), and that person ends up taking out the garbage.

The military is a classic volunteer’s dilemma (a type of collective action problem). Everyone wants a secure and safe country, but the vast majority of individuals would rather be defended by someone else (choosing “cooperate” or “volunteer”) and spend his or her time pursuing private interests (“defect”). There are a few people who derive utility from military service for various reasons (e.g., patriotism or heroism), but there are not enough such people to man a military the size of the United States (Sweden might be able to operate thusly).

So, the government sweetens the deal by offering reasonable salaries, life time benefits, and college tuition. The goal is to provide enough economic incentives to encourage enough people to volunteer and fully staff the military. Of course, the economic incentives are more attractive to those whose economic outlook are not as bright as others. Thus, the volunteer army draws predominantly on high school graduates from poor neighborhoods.

Typically, only leftists argue the make-up of our volunteer army is exploitative. During times of war, such arguments gain more mainstream traction because the risk of death rises considerably. Paying people to serve on your behalf during the Civil War is generally not considered a proud moment in our history.

Which makes me wonder if you are being serious, Aidan. Is your post sarcastic? Hard to tell with the written word.

#9 Comment By Jeff Zeeman On April 29, 2004 @ 11:57 am

As for Aidan’s post, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is sarcastic. If Aidan informs us otherwise, than I am sure there will be folks lining up to shoot him down.

I think, in any event, that a much better target group for the first to be drafted are the senior executives and accountants for ENRON, Worldcom, and Tyco, as well as the various targets of Elliot Spitzer’s avenging fury — let them get a taste of life on the other side before they return home to the slap-on-the-wrists that await. Based on how upper class Americans have been abusing their positions of late (and I don’t even need to mention the Bush administration here), I’ll take my chances with sacrificing the “best and the brightest.”

#10 Comment By Aidan On April 29, 2004 @ 1:34 pm

Countries address the problem of military makeup and recruitment in different ways. Norway, for example, has compulsory military service, but that mostly consists of spending 2 great years cruising up and down the coast in navy uniforms and meeting lusty Norwegian lasses. Israel, also, has compulsory military service, but it could be argued there’s a pressing defense need. America, after the great draft disaster of Vietnam, moved, sensibly, I think, to a volunteer military. One of the problems we’re facing at present is that our forces are too compact, especially for the purposes we need. Although 100,000 American troops could whip any army in the world (with the possible exception of the IDF), 100,000 American troops aren’t massy enough for less glam, more manpower intensive tasks like military occupation.

Pertinently, better troop recruitment is required. I see no reason why the military shouldn’t recruit officers more aggressively from top colleges–our own Carl Voght served with distinction–and not just rely on their own service academies for officer creation.

Some of my friends have pursued the military medical school scholarships, which allow medical school costs to be essentially erased with military service. The military would do well to offer such flexible programs to recruit top talent into the upper echelons of their organization.

Still, fact remains, nobody from Williams needs to be a grunt. A compulsory draft, as Gura proposes, would be a collosal waste of resources, preventing talent from arranging itself appropriately. As long as military service, for those leaving high school, provides productive incentives (GI Bill style) for education and stabilization, there’s no harm in recruiting and training those who might not otherwise have those opportunities.

#11 Comment By Shimon Rura On April 29, 2004 @ 1:39 pm

I took Aidan’s post seriously. Although it sounds crass, think about it. It’s certainly appealing to envision Ken Lay risking his own ass for the future of the worldwide energy supply, but since he’s old, lazy, and demonstrably poor at following rules, he wouldn’t be of much value as a soldier.

With a volunteer army, each individual who considers joining must weigh its risks against its benefits. You only need join if the risks are worth it for you. If you’re wealthy or expect a wonderful fulfilling life, the small risk of death outweighs the potential gains (salary, benefits, education, tuition, etc.). But if you’re poor and uneducated, maybe the army is a desirable alternative to delivering pizzas.

The notion that we should have a draft in order to improve the socioeconomic diversity of the military doesn’t appeal to me. This is because I don’t believe the makeup of the military, socioeconomically skewed though it is, is any more unjust than the socioeconomic makeup of fishermen or truck drivers (other professions with low pay and high death risk). National defense seems pretty fundamental, but wouldn’t our way of life also be threatened without reliable trucking services and affordable lobster?

#12 Comment By (d)avid On April 29, 2004 @ 3:22 pm

Listen, I’m certainly not an advocate of conscription. I don’t think anyone is seriously arguing for it (by my reading, Kennedy is trying to highlight the under commitment of occupation forces — the recommended 500,000 is a lot more than 150,000).

But, I can object to phrases like “best and the brightest.” Since there seems to be agreement that poor people are doing the fighting, why the equation of familial income with “best?” “Best” in what regards? Worth? Desert? We’re not just talking about who enlists, Aidan is explicitly discussing “sending less advantaged brackets to the front.” Being on the front line obviously increases the risk of death. Aidan twice refers to these people as “grunts,” which is a step up from “pack animal,” but still objectifies. He even denies that “grunts” have dreams worthy of pursuit. I object strongly to such elitism and crass disregard for the personhood of poor people.

That said, I agree with most of Aidan’s second comment (the specific policy proposal and general argument of resource utilization). Recruiting from colleges might be a good way for the military to fill in upper-tier jobs (e.g., intelligence, encryption, recon), but I believe the military already pursues such policies. Maybe the current policies aren’t sufficient, but I figure if I know four people who pursued such careers, it must be fairly widespread. Anyone know what percent of Williams alums pursue a career in the military? Government more generally?

Shimon makes a good point about the poor also taking on more dangerous work in the private sector. Obviously, this is something that our society accepts (though workplace safety rules, maximum work week conditions, minimum wage laws, and the like attempt to minimize the degree of exploitation). Is there a reason why the subject comes up more with regards to military service than lumberjacks or convenience store clerks? The distinction can’t be social necessity, because the police force and trash collectors are both dangerous and socially necessary. Is it something about the indivisibility of the good? The collective nature of the enterprise? Those dividing lines seem insufficient since I think the policing fits both criteria at least as well as the military. Maybe it is simply that most people don’t think seriously about how dangerous it is to be a longshoreman or taxi cab driver, whereas military service in wartime highlights personal risk. Perhaps it is an outdated romantic nostalgia for the heroism and sacrifice of combat.

#13 Comment By Aidan On April 29, 2004 @ 6:47 pm

I wasn’t aware that anyone read the phrase “the best and the brightest” in anything other than an ironic fashion after David Halberstam. Excuse me for not making these things more clear.

#14 Comment By (d)avid On April 30, 2004 @ 9:29 am

Aidan: When you follow up “best and brightest” with “grunts” and imply that “grunts” don’t have dreams worth pursuing, one could get the wrong impression. Which is why Zeeman and I asked you to clarify your position.

Your second post re-used the word “grunt” and said that drafting Williams kids would be a collossal waste of resources. Given the context of the conversation, it seemed fair to take that to mean “it is okay to send kids from lower socio-economic tiers to the front to die, but it is a waste to send a college educated person to the dront to die.”

It still is not clear to me that “best and brightest” was being used in an ironic fashion. As I said in my earlier post, I’m not entirely clear why it is acceptable to value the lives of poor people less than rich people when we divide jobs in the private sector and in peace time, but not in times of war (there is a small literature on the value of human life measured through mortality rates in the economics literature). Perhaps the distinction our culture (most cultures?) makes is entirely spurious. Why is it acceptable to say, “It is a waste of resources for college graduates to work in a meat packing plant,” but unacceptable to say “It is a waste of resources for college graduates to be drafted and sent to the front?” In both cases, death and dismemberment are only probabilistic not guaranteed. Both jobs are socially necessary (well, you might need to replace meat packing with garbage collecting). Maye it is a case of a tipping point. Being drafted to fight in a war where conscription is necessary is both more dangerous and more collective than virtually any other endeavor. If policing became sufficiently more dangerous, people might make the same argument about police work.

#15 Comment By David Kane On April 30, 2004 @ 9:43 am

Unless I am mistaken, the US military today is ill-described as consisting of primarily “lower class” or “poor” or “uneducated” Americans. The vast majority of military recruits have a high school diploma — it is virtually impossible to get into the Marine Corps, for example, without one. So, the most disadvantaged Americans — those (20% or so) without a high school diploma — are significantly underrepresented in the military.

Moreover, the service academies are academically on par with elite schools like Williams. So, as a percentage of the population, smart 22 years (at least as measured by SAT scores and the like) are probably not underrepresented in the military. That is, if 2% (or whatever) of all 22 year olds in the US serve in the military, then I believe that 2% of all high SAT scorers serve as well. I have never seen data to the contrary.

So, if anything, today’s US military is not drawn preferentially from the lower classes. In fact, if anything, they are America’s best and brightest. I think that they would be even better and brighter if more Williams graduates served.

#16 Comment By Loweeel On April 30, 2004 @ 11:26 am

The real reasons behind the return of the draft proposals? People are shocked at the lack of anti-war activism. They think that as soon as the draft returns, so will the protest. It’s digustingly ironic that those who were most against the draft now want it back, just to make a political point.

See Steven Den Beste’s brilliant analysis on this.

#17 Comment By Steven Den Beste On April 30, 2004 @ 1:54 pm

For a variety of reasons, the kind of military that the US has today, and the wide variety of ways in which that military can fight, makes it so that our military has to be a volunteer force.

The question of whether the military should be “representative” is specious. The only important concern is whether it can win. If that requires us to staff it exclusively with left-handers, or people with red hair, so be it.

One of the most important reasons that the force must be volunteer is that the morale and cohesion of a volunteer force is vastly different than one made up of sullen draftees. But another reason is that volunteers serve longer. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, draftees served 3 years. Most volunteers sign up for 6, and a lot of them reenlist. That means that the military can invest more heavily in them, especially in training them.

#18 Comment By Aidan On April 30, 2004 @ 2:34 pm

there’s no question we have the best trained, best equipped, smartest, and productive military in the world. I just find the laughable degree of sensitivity about these matters rather risible. Knickerson’s very upset that I used the term “grunt” to refer to army recruits, but no less a man as Arthur Wellsley would refer to his men as “the scum of the earth, they have all enlisted for drink.” Let’s face it, as Keegan does, and admit that officers are given awards for leadership and enlisted men are given awards for killing people. There’s always been a hierarchy between the leadership positions–staffed, as Kane correctly points out–by well educated bright students from service academies and other officer training programs–and the men they order to die.

To put it another way, I am suggesting that there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between people’s worth. There are economists here: people are valued at different rates, based on education, earning potential, and any other factors you chose. That was the great scandal of the 9/11 reimbursements–the corpse of an investment banker was worth more than a corpse of a fireman. To deny this is laughable.

So I ask everyone: was Wilfred Owen worth more than some drafteee steel worker’s kid from Birmingham? Was the practice, admirable though it may have been, of killing en masse the officer corps of Britain, France, and Germany suicidal, even fatal?

For all the yelping of “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight,” is that not an appropriate use of resources? Would you have wanted your boomer parents to not recieve their academic deferrments? Would you want Gura, who started this thread, to eat it in Iraq instead of training to change the world?

I know some kids at service academies–I respect them immensely. I’m not sure if your average grunt-not a marine, or a ranger or an officer-but just your average, lumpen proletariat farm boy-comes from the socioeconomic clases that go to Williams. Probably not. But we’re all living in a world where the massive expansion of college education via the GI Bill resulted in a massive expansion of the American middle class. If more people in search of upward mobility join the armed forces, I don’t think that’s exactly a bad thing.

#19 Comment By (d)avid On April 30, 2004 @ 3:50 pm

“To put it another way, I am suggesting that there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between people’s worth.” — Aidan

Quantitative, I’ll believe. In our market driven society, it even seems irrefutable.

Qualitative? I really can’t believe that such elitism can be advocated in the United States in this day and age. In “Democracy in America”, Tocqueville doubted such sentiments could be expressed and that was during the 1830s before the end of slavery. I guess the truths espoused in the Declaration of Independence are no longer self-evident and require justification.

A few points on whether enlisted soldiers (those most in danger) come from less privileged backgrounds:
1) 92% of native born Americans between the ages of 25 and 44 possess high school diplomas. The lower figure David cites (typically 84-86%) counts older natives and recent immigrants. Neither of those two groups constitute a large portion of our military.

2) The marines are the only branch of the military who require a high school diploma (I have a couple of friends who decided to become Marines after school for precisely this reason).

3) The families of enlisted soldiers earn roughly $10,000 less a year than the median civilian family. This number excludes officers, whose parents are better educated and earn more than the median family.

Thus, the men and women who are on the front line and risking the most, tend to be drawn from lower socio-economic strata.

I don’t think anyone worthy of serious consideration is arguing for a return to an army populated by conscripts (Chuck Rangel definitely doesn’t count, not sure about Michael Walzer). Steve provides a few excellent reasons as to why a volunteer army is preferable to one based on the draft.

But I’m still not convinced representation is a “specious issue.” Reasonable people might believe (or at least wonder about) all segments of society should bear the burden of a national conflict equally. Issues of fairness and equity may be foreign territory for economists, but certainly not for philosophers or ethicists (how does one get a job as an ethicist?).

#20 Comment By Steven Den Beste On April 30, 2004 @ 3:58 pm

Aidan, I’m afraid your information about our military is woefully out of date. First, the majority of the enlisted in our military are not in the business of “killing people”. Nearly all work in support functions.

For instance, our military relies very heavily now on digital telecommunications. One example of that is the way that controllers on the ground can designate targets for JDAM guided weapons just before being dropped by jets overhead. Part of why that works is because Signals Battalions have special groups which maintain high-tech computer networks in the battle zone. Those kinds of networks need lots of highly-trained technicians and operators — and nearly all of those are enlisted men.

Another example: if the Marines actually do engage in some sort of amphibious landing on a hostile beach, they don’t do it the way it was done in WWII which you’ve seen in the movies, in hordes of small slow wooden boats. They use what’s known as an LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion), which is a huge hovercraft capable of moving 50 MPH over water or beach or tidal plain, carrying 70 tons. An LCAC has a crew of 4, and its commander (and pilot) is a sergeant. (And I might mention that piloting a hovercraft that large is not trivial.)

Even among the enlisted who do primarily concentrate on “killing people”, that doesn’t imply there’s no skill or intelligence involved or training required. The gunner in an M1 controls its main gun by operating a computer system, and that takes a lot of training and a fair amount of smarts. The forward air controller who is actually responsible for designating targets for close air support does his work using a pretty advanced computer.

Yes, Wellesley referred to his men (after the Waterloo campaign) just as you’ve quoted him. But the soldiers to which he referred were about as similar to ours now as the weapons they used were to the weapons we use now.

His soldiers were about as much like our soldiers as their flint-lock, black-powder, muzzle-loading muskets were like a JDAM or Tomahawk cruise missile.

At risk of seeming to self-promote, I hope the owner of this site will forgive me if I link to another of my posts where I provide more background about why it is that Wellesley’s comments have nothing to do with us. (If this is not viewed as acceptable behavior, please delete it and accept my apologies.)

There’s also this: “Tooth and Tail” which explains why it is that 90% of our enlisted men are not directly engaged in “killing people”.

#21 Comment By Aidan On April 30, 2004 @ 3:59 pm

“fair? you’re the fucking nihilists?!” -Walter Sobcheck

maybe if we had a military composed of sensitive poets, lovers, and multiculturally atuned Williams kids, we wouldn’t have articles like thison CNN.

and Knickerson, if you’re smart enough to be going to Yale, you shouldn’t be all misty-eyed about the Constitution that we all know restricted property and personhood rights to land-owning white guys.

#22 Comment By Aidan On April 30, 2004 @ 4:03 pm

Steve,

I was making a broader argument than a merely factual one. Yes, it is clear that a military needs a support structure, yes, many troops work in logistics, et cetera. However, when it comes to going house to house in shitholes like Fallujah (something we’re apparently no longer willing to do) I think it is safe to say that the business is “killing people.”

That’s not a bad thing, that’s just the way it is.

#23 Comment By (d)avid On April 30, 2004 @ 4:24 pm

So, Aidan, we’re supposed to aspire to the hierarchical society of the 1780s rather than the rhetoric and ideas of equality? Are you a student of Walter’s other quip about nihilism? (“Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.”)

#24 Comment By David Kane On April 30, 2004 @ 4:34 pm

Random Comments:

1) On killing people: My favorite Marine Corps t-shirt “advertised” the Corps as allowing us to “Travel to far-off and exotic locations, meet new and interesting people, and kill them.” Although it is true that 90%+ of Marines are in “support roles,” all are quite well-trained in life and death at the sharp end of the spear.

2) On high school graduation rates: “the national [high school] graduation rate is 72 percent for girls and 64 percent for boys.” Of course, there are a lot of technical issues here (high school graduation versus GED, for starters). But, big picture, the percentage of the military that is drawn from the most educational disadvantaged Americans is *much* lower than their proportion of the population.

3) On socio-economics. My claim is *not* that, after joining the military, the income distribution of soldiers matches those of civilians. My claim is that recruits are not drawn from the poorest families, as some here seemed to claim. Young people from very poor (bottom 10%) families are underpresented in the military. The same is true of the very rich.

4) On outside (non-porn) links: Always welcome, especially from denizens of the Blogosphere as famous as Steven Den Beste!

#25 Comment By Aidan On April 30, 2004 @ 4:35 pm

no, I prefer the Orwellian suppleness of “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

#26 Comment By David Kane On April 30, 2004 @ 4:40 pm

Four legs good, two legs bad!

Just realized that I misread (d)avid’s post. I think that we are in agreement on the facts. Today’s US military is drawn from families with slightly lower income, on average. Both the very poor and the very rich are underrepresented. The educational achievements of recruits are similar to the population of young people in the US, again with the extremes (high school drop outs and Ph.D.’s) underrepresented.

— Snowball