Friday, November 03, 2006

Kerry's Slip or Slur?

I want to give Sen. Kerry a lot of room to exegete his own words; however, his infamous remark about those "stuck in Iraq" for lack of education is, in my mind, imperious, befitting perhaps an aristocrat but not a democrat. Similarly for John O'Neill. More important, that slip-or-slur is empirically wrong: Dr. Tim Kane's study of data on all enlistees shows that "The average American enlistee is more educated — not less — than the average young civilian."

Kane's "Facts About Today’s Soldiers" includes these items that the stereotypical majority news coverage doesn't:

* The average reading level of new soldiers is roughly a full grade level higher than their civilian peers’.
* Enlistees’ high school graduation rate was 97 percent in 2003, 2004, and 2005. The civilian graduation rate is seventeen percentage points lower.
* The wealthiest 40 percent of neighborhoods in America are the home of 45.6 percent of 2005 enlistees. For every two U.S. recruits from the poorest neighborhoods, three come from the richest.
* There is no statistical evidence to support the claim that minorities are being targeted or exploited for military service. The 100 zip codes with the highest proportions of African-Americans were actually under-represented among military enlistees in 2005.
* Every U.S. military recruit of the last 33 years has been a volunteer.