View Full Version : Iraq war comes home

lord patch
05-14-2007, 09:58 AM
Iraq war comes home
Published May 13, 2007 10:44 PM

President George W. Bush says that the Pentagon can still tough its way out of the criminal war against Iraq with a victory. If he really believes this, he has misjudged the Iraqis—who will eventually drive the U.S. out. And he has misjudged the people here.

The resistance in Iraq has been dramatic and courageous. At home it has been slow in developing—but it is here.

Take, for example, the news from a May 8 Boston Globe column. In 2000 some 23.5 percent of Army recruits were African American. That was a higher rate than the rest of the population and reflected the lack of opportunity for Black youth in civilian jobs. By 2005, after two years in Iraq, the rate had dropped to 13.9 percent—the same as of the population. As of current Pentagon estimates, "the African-American propensity to join the military had dropped to 9 percent."

That means that in the more politically aware part of the U.S. population, the people want no part of the war in Iraq. Black youths no longer join the volunteer Army as they did before. This attitude has spread in most of the big cities to other sectors of the population, driving Army recruiters into deep depression. So the Pentagon has turned to the National Guard to fill its ranks in Iraq. And send them back again and again. Especially it is relying on the guard units from smaller cities and towns in the U.S. midsection.

There the population is mostly white, less politically aware and more likely to be steeped in patriotism. And while white youths don't face racist discrimination, like all young workers they find few civilian opportunities. Many youths join the Army and the National Guard. It would be no surprise to find there is a high proportion of youths in the military from a town like Greensburg, Kan., or its neighbors.

And now, in a way, the Iraq war has come to Kansas. Greensburg's buildings were completely flattened in 20 minutes by an uncommonly powerful tornado. The tornado struck quickly. State aid came slowly.

The Kansas governor, before some presidential arm-twisting quieted her, complained bitterly that the state National Guard forces "don't have the equipment they need to come in" because it is all in Iraq. This message won't be lost on small-town USA, despite all the hugs Bush is dealing out on camera in Kansas.

Across the board, people here are learning to embrace what the Globe column said is the typical attitude of Black people in the military toward the occupation of Iraq: "This is not a Black people's war. This is not a poor people's war. This is an oilman's war."
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