The "Troops" Demographics-Only 'Group' Down Is Poor

Annie

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http://www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/cda06-09.cfm

Research: National Security

Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003–2005
by Tim Kane, Ph.D.
Center for Data Analysis Report #06-09

October 27, 2006 |

A pillar of conventional wisdom about the U.S. military is that the quality of volunteers has been degraded after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Examples of the voices making this claim range from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News [1] to Michael Moore’s pseudo-documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Some insist that minorities and the underprivileged are over*represented in the military. Others accuse the U.S. Army of accepting unqualified enlistees in a futile attempt to meet its recruiting goals in the midst of an unpopular war.[2]

A report published by The Heritage Foundation in November 2005 examined the issue and could not substantiate any degradation in troop quality by comparing military enlistees in 1999 to those in 2003. It is possible that troop quality did not degrade until after the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, when patriotism was high. A common assumption is that the Army experienced difficulty getting qualified enlistees in 2005 and was subse*quently forced to lower its standards. This report revisits the issue by examining the full recruiting classes for all branches of the U.S. military for every year from 2003 to 2005.

The current findings show that the demo*graphic characteristics of volunteers have contin*ued to show signs of higher, not lower, quality. Quality is a difficult concept to apply to soldiers, or to human beings in any context, and it should be understood here in context. Regardless of the standards used to screen applicants, the average quality of the people accepted into any organiza*tion can be assessed only by using measurable cri*teria, which surely fail to account for intangible characteristics. In the military, it is especially questionable to claim that measurable characteris*tics accurately reflect what really matters: cour*age, honor, integrity, loyalty, and leadership.

Those who have been so quick to suggest that today’s wartime recruits represent lesser quality, lower standards, or lower class should be expected make an airtight case. Instead, they have cited selective evidence, which is balanced by a much clearer set of evidence showing improving troop quality.

Indeed, in many criteria, each year shows advancement, not decline, in measurable qualities of new enlistees. For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pen*tagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.

This report updates the previous Heritage Foun*dation report, with data on all U.S. recruits during 2004 and 2005. We introduce the term “wartime recruits” to identify volunteer enlistees in all branches during 2003, 2004, and 2005. Like the previous report,[3] the analysis considers the follow*ing characteristics:

*
Household income,
*
Level of education,
*
Race/ethnicity, and
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Regional/rural origin.

In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004–2005) sup*port the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight dif*ferences are that wartime U.S. mil*itary enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on aver*age than their civilian peers.

Recruits have a higher percent*age of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distri*bution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.

Demographic evidence discredits the argument that a draft is necessary to enforce representation from racial and socioeconomic groups. Addition*ally, three of the four branches of the armed forces met their recruiting goals in fiscal year 2005, and Army reenlistments are the highest in the past five years. A draft is not necessary to increase the size of the active-duty forces. Our analysis using Pentagon data on wartime volunteers effectively shatters the case for reinstating the draft.

... MORE, LOTS MORE...
 

MtnBiker

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Senator Kerry should read this just before he apoligizes to the active military personal in Iraq.
 
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Annie

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The demograph the US military lost were those who join during peacetime simply to have a job. When you add asking them to do what they were signed up to do ...risk their lives .... they'd rather work at MickeyD's.
Last 'reups' were over 66%. These are guys and girls that joined after 9/11 and decided to continue. In spite of too much, no exaggeration here, being asked of them, they still extended. Certainly not all are republican, but somehow they saw hope in what they are doing.
 

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Last 'reups' were over 66%. These are guys and girls that joined after 9/11 and decided to continue. In spite of too much, no exaggeration here, being asked of them, they still extended. Certainly not all are republican, but somehow they saw hope in what they are doing.
That "troops" are Republican or Democrat is a fallacy. Most feel they are obligated to serve something more than themselves ... the Nation. But then, I was spoiled in that sense. Nobody joins the Marines for a "job;" which, is not always the case with the other branches.

When I joined, we all figured we were going to war with Iran. We didn't give much thought to who was President, or what flavor he was. In hindsight, not real bright since Carter was President, but that's how it was nonetheless.

Troops are like everyone else. The really don't become politically aware until mid-late 20s - early-30s. And most, minus the 10%, are proud of what they do, and they do it more to not let their fellow Marines down than any other reason. Each Marine knows if he fails to carry his load, another Marine will have to carry two. As long as each Marine does his job, everyone has the best chance of coming home. The only notice will take of politics is if they actively get screwed by them.

If John Murtha thinks there are ANY Marines in Iraq who are proud of him, he needs to get more in touch with reality. Most Marines I know consider him a traitor to everything the Corps stands for.
 
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Annie

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That "troops" are Republican or Democrat is a fallacy. Most feel they are obligated to serve something more than themselves ... the Nation. But then, I was spoiled in that sense. Nobody joins the Marines for a "job;" which, is not always the case with the other branches.

When I joined, we all figured we were going to war with Iran. We didn't give much thought to who was President, or what flavor he was. In hindsight, not real bright since Carter was President, but that's how it was nonetheless.

Troops are like everyone else. The really don't become politically aware until mid-late 20s - early-30s. And most, minus the 10%, are proud of what they do, and they do it more to not let their fellow Marines down than any other reason. Each Marine knows if he fails to carry his load, another Marine will have to carry two. As long as each Marine does his job, everyone has the best chance of coming home. The only notice will take of politics is if they actively get screwed by them.

If John Murtha thinks there are ANY Marines in Iraq who are proud of him, he needs to get more in touch with reality. Most Marines I know consider him a traitor to everything the Corps stands for.
I put it badly, but assumed such. I know my dad was the least political person that could have entered the service, with or against his will. Seriously, at the time of his draft board, he hadn'† a clue to where Hawaii was, or why the hell it resulted in a Declaration of War. He can tell you why 9/11 should have resulted in such.
 

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I'll give you an example of why the zip code analysis is terribly poor:

I went to high school in a standard suburban north jersey town.
Population: 24,000
Median household income: $79,500
Population under poverty line: 432 (1.8% of town's population)
Kids in my graduating class of 160ish that joined the military: 2 (1 marine, 1 coast guard)

I did not know either of the two guys well enough to say whether or not they were living uner the povery line, but if they were, this report has their household income at 79,500. There is a VAST difference between median and reality in that case. My town perfectly represents how deceptive the household median stat can be.
 

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I'll give you an example of why the zip code analysis is terribly poor:

I went to high school in a standard suburban north jersey town.
Population: 24,000
Median household income: $79,500
Population under poverty line: 432 (1.8% of town's population)
Kids in my graduating class of 160ish that joined the military: 2 (1 marine, 1 coast guard)

I did not know either of the two guys well enough to say whether or not they were living uner the povery line, but if they were, this report has their household income at 79,500. There is a VAST difference between median and reality in that case. My town perfectly represents how deceptive the household median stat can be.

Interesting...that's a mighty big "if" to base your last assertion on...what you are really saying is "If frogs had wings, they could fly"...in other words, you have no idea of whether the stats are real. I am sure you have convinced yourself that they are not.
 

1549

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Interesting...that's a mighty big "if" to base your last assertion on...what you are really saying is "If frogs had wings, they could fly"...in other words, you have no idea of whether the stats are real. I am sure you have convinced yourself that they are not.
Its more like this:

They are asserting that if 65% of percipitation is rain...then the percipitation that arrives tomorrow will be rain.

Of course I just made that number up, but you can see that it is quite possible the percipitation tomorrow will not be rain.

So if the median income from a recruit's town is 75,000 then we will use that number to represent their income. Since the median income from towns is increasing then the recruits are obviously more wealthy, and to say we are feeding on poor kids is false!

Too many leaps of faith and assumptions are involved in their statistic to even draw reliable conclusions.

How about an area like Manhattan: median income is $50,000+, but 20% of the people there are below the poverty line. That is 318,640 people below the poverty line. And if a few of those people choose to join, their "zip code income" will be listed as over 50,000 (quite different then their acual income). If you look at the graph, 50,000 would be on the higher side. Most recruit's "zip code" median income is below 50,000.
 

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Its more like this:

They are asserting that if 65% of percipitation is rain...then the percipitation that arrives tomorrow will be rain.

Of course I just made that number up, but you can see that it is quite possible the percipitation tomorrow will not be rain.

So if the median income from a recruit's town is 75,000 then we will use that number to represent their income. Since the median income from towns is increasing then the recruits are obviously more wealthy, and to say we are feeding on poor kids is false!

Too many leaps of faith and assumptions are involved in their statistic to even draw reliable conclusions.

How about an area like Manhattan: median income is $50,000+, but 20% of the people there are below the poverty line. That is 318,640 people below the poverty line. And if a few of those people choose to join, their "zip code income" will be listed as over 50,000 (quite different then their acual income). If you look at the graph, 50,000 would be on the higher side. Most recruit's "zip code" median income is below 50,000.
Nope...your logic is flawed. Your assumption is that ONLY those below median income are recruits and NONE are above median. Perhaps the opposite is true and those few recruited come from a demographic ABOVE the median, therefore the statistics are skewed too low. I suspect, you, like Kerry, presume that members of the military are poverty stricken, uneducated and lazy. It does not cross your mind that the statistics are correct because they do not support your views.
 

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Nope...your logic is flawed. Your assumption is that ONLY those below median income are recruits and NONE are above median. Perhaps the opposite is true and those few recruited come from a demographic ABOVE the median, therefore the statistics are skewed too low.
The correlation between high income and college enrollment is strong enough to suppose that more low income individuals are enrolling following high school.

I am 100% certain that individuals with from high income families enlist, just not as many.

I suspect, you, like Kerry, presume that members of the military are poverty stricken, uneducated and lazy. It does not cross your mind that the statistics are correct because they do not support your views.
It is not surprising that suspect wrong. My uncle served in the Navy for 20+ years following completion of ROTC at U of Michigan...he graduated Michigan with a degree in nuclear engineering. Does that fit your generalization of my thoughts? I think are society does not offer fair opportunity to those who can not afford to open certain doors on their own. Those joining the military are certainly not lazy, all have at least a high school education , and poverty stricken may be too strong of a description for most.

While some service men may have dreamed of being in the army their entire lives, others are their because they can not afford to pursue their own ambitions. In some ways military service is great because following completion of service veterans are offered opportunity. Yet, it is not fair that these people have to risk their lives in combat to have a chance to pursue their dreams.
 

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The correlation between high income and college enrollment is strong enough to suppose that more low income individuals are enrolling following high school.
Even if what you say is true (and I am by no means conceding that it is), there is no correlation between higher income and intelligence, or higher income and ambition, or most importantly, higher income and the quality of a person. And FYI, I met more than a few college grads who went on to enlist.
 

1549

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Even if what you say is true (and I am by no means conceding that it is), there is no correlation between higher income and intelligence, or higher income and ambition, or most importantly, higher income and the quality of a person. And FYI, I met more than a few college grads who went on to enlist.
I never said military men have less character, intelligence, or ambition than any other person. I think the second part of my post made that pretty clear.
 

MissileMan

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I never said military men have less character, intelligence, or ambition than any other person. I think the second part of my post made that pretty clear.
Nope, you didn't, nor did I say you did.
 

jillian

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Senator Kerry should read this just before he apoligizes to the active military personal in Iraq.

So... because the right wing Heritage Foundation said it, it must be true? Why not try a site that has nothing more than the well-being of the troops in mind? And I'm only commenting on the issue of troop strength which they address... not the socio-economic demographics.

With Army stretched thin, could the U.S. respond to a new crisis?

Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

Oct. 29, 2006

By MICHAEL HEDGES

FORT HOOD - At this sprawling base on the Central Texas plains, a few hundred soldiers of the 17,000-member 1st Cavalry Division made tearful goodbyes to family members before making another trip to Iraq this month.

On the other side of Fort Hood, soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division trickled back from Iraq at the end of a bloody, yearlong deployment that left scores of their buddies dead and hundreds more wounded.

The quick pace of comings and goings is evidence of an Army strained to the breaking point, with little in reserve if the United States is forced to respond to a new crisis, according to military analysts.

"One third of our combat units are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are the best troops we've ever fielded, but essentially every other brigade is not ready to fight," said retired Maj. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who makes frequent trips to Iraq as a military consultant.

"America is in a period of strategic peril," he added. "What happens if we have to confront North Korea or Iran?"

Paul Rieckhoff, a former Army captain in Iraq who heads Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said his organization has gathered extensive evidence that has convinced him the Army is nearing a crisis.

"The rate of deployment is absolutely not sustainable," he said. "We are mortgaging the future of the Army. If this goes on much longer, we are going to get a post-Vietnam-type hangover in the military."

After Vietnam, the Army was called the "hollow force," afflicted with inadequate troop levels, training and equipment, leading to most of its units being rated unfit for combat, military analyst James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation said.

Some military leaders in Washington as well as in Fort Hood, however, said the Army is adapting to pressure on staffing and other aspects of its operation and that the military would be able to muster an appropriate response to another trouble spot in the world.

The U.S. Army, with a total active force of a half-million, supplies the overwhelming majority of the more than 150,000 service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. This month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker indicated the number probably will remain the same through 2010.

"The problem is simple: Our military is designed to win wars quickly, not occupy foreign countries for extended periods," said Carafano.

Military on the defense
Gen. Peter Pace, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded last week that the Army and Marines were being forced to deploy more often than the ideal of two years home for every year in a combat zone.
"We are using the force faster than we would like to," he said. "That does not mean that they're not available to go to the next fight."

Pace said troops in combat had all the equipment needed, and units not deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan do not.

"It is true that our units that are here at home are not fully equipped as they would be if there wasn't a war going on," he said. "But none of our potential enemies should miscalculate the capacity of this nation to generate overwhelming combat power tomorrow to defend our national interests."

The repeated deployments to combat zones are causing some senior non-commissioned officers, who are considered the backbone of the Army, to reassess their careers. "We were willing to go to war to defend the country. But when we got in the Army, the idea wasn't to be deployed overseas every other year indefinitely," said Perry Jeffries, 45, of Killeen , a former Army first sergeant who got out after a deployment to Iraq.

Pressures on families
Col. Larry Phelps, a 28-year veteran, said soldiers entering today's Army understand what is being asked of them. Most embrace it, he said.
"This isn't the Cold War Army anymore," he said. Phelps said the Army today is actually in better shape than it was in the decade after the Vietnam War when he joined.

"I joined the Army in 1978. That was a broken Army," he said. "It was twice the size of the Army we have today, but it was not capable of doing the things we can do today."

Still, the veterans association's Rieckhoff said his group has gathered substantial anecdotal evidence of the strain on soldiers and their families.

"What we are hearing over and over again from senior sergeants and junior officers is that the toll on families is terrible," Rieckhoff said. "Our people don't like to whine in public, but to us they talk about divorces, alcohol abuse, depression."

The anecdotal testimony of strain on families is backed by figures compiled by the Pentagon. Divorce rates among the roughly 55,000 married Army officers tripled to 6 percent between 2002 and 2004. Though the numbers are relatively small, suicides are rising in the Army: In 2005, 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared with 67 in 2004 and 60 in 2003.

Senior officers of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood strenuously object to any suggestion that their unit is overtaxed by the war.

"At the pace we are on right now, this is a sustainable force," said Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, one of two deputy commanders of the division. "I don't think we are at the point of erosion."

Phelps said the Army is more responsive to the pressures on families with the high rate of deployments. He is assigned to stay at Fort Hood while the division deploys to Iraq and work on issues that arise with families of the force's 17,000 troops.

Juggling two battles
But ample evidence shows that the Army is scrambling to cope with the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan:
The Army has forced about 75,000 soldiers since 2003 to continue serving after their enlistments ended, a policy called "stop loss." That has applied mostly to units slated to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, 11,000 soldiers are serving beyond the term of their enlistments. Of course, the military has extensively tapped Reserve and National Guard units to augment military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Army, to keep hitting enlistment targets, has increased financial incentives, added many more recruiters, raised the age of eligible enlistees (from 35 to 40 in January, then to 42 in June) and taken more enlistees who were considered marginal before because of past legal problems.
The Pentagon has increasingly relied on contractors in Iraq, with more than 35,000 working there now, mainly in food services, transportation and construction. Some Navy and Air Force personnel also are being pressed into jobs such as driving trucks into Iraq that usually would have been assigned to ground forces.
Military experts said the stressful deployment rate is a result of an Army cut too deep, too fast since the end of the Cold War.
About 504,000 soldiers were in the active-duty Army last week, according to the Pentagon. That compares with nearly 800,000 during peacetime 20 years ago. Since then, the Army was reduced from 18 divisions to 12, then 10.

"We have the smallest army America has fielded since 1939, when the pre-World War II buildup began," McCaffrey said.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the consensus in Washington was that the military could be reduced to reap a "peace dividend."

Military planners believed that high-tech weaponry rather than "boots on the ground" was critical, leading to further cuts. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld came into office in 2001 with a commitment to continuing the transformation.

Spanning the globe
Of those half-million soldiers, roughly two-thirds are in support roles and can't simply be rotated in and out of Iraq. Tens of thousands are needed in other overseas posts, from Korea to Djibouti to Bosnia. Thousands of others, including recruiters and trainers, are permanently based in the United States.
The assignment of fighting street-by-street battles with insurgents in Iraq has fallen mainly on the Army, and the much smaller but also greatly stressed U.S. Marine Corps, more than the Navy or Air Force, which have been solely in supportive roles since the fall of Baghdad.

Experts said there are no easy solutions to the strains. The Pentagon, beginning in 2004, has reconfigured the existing pool of troops into brigade combat teams of about 4,000 soldiers as a way to get more soldiers into the deployment rotations for Iraq. There are 36 such teams available to deploy. The Army is aiming to increase that to 43 within a couple of years.

Even if the Army added 80,000 soldiers, as Congress proposes to do, it would take years before more brigades would be ready for combat, at a cost of billions of dollars.

But in the long term, analysts said, the United States has to make a significant financial commitment to maintain a military capable of protecting the country and intervening abroad when necessary.

At the height of the Vietnam War, American taxpayers spent 9.4 percent of the gross domestic product on the military. Twenty years ago, during peacetime, 6.2 percent of the GDP was channeled to the Pentagon. That had fallen to 3 percent by 2001. It is now back up to about 4 percent, or roughly $400 billion annually.

"We need to spend about 4 percent of the GDP on the military for the next decade to fix it," Carafano said. "That should be something America can do."
http://optruth.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2115&Itemid=116
 
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Annie

Annie

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So... because the right wing Heritage Foundation said it, it must be true? Why not try a site that has nothing more than the well-being of the troops in mind? And I'm only commenting on the issue of troop strength which they address... not the socio-economic demographics.



http://optruth.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2115&Itemid=116
Jillian, this said nothing different than the one from the Heritage Foundation, indeed they quote one of the leading researchers from there. So may I ask why you felt compelled to write what you did? :dunno:
 

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Jillian, this said nothing different than the one from the Heritage Foundation, indeed they quote one of the leading researchers from there. So may I ask why you felt compelled to write what you did? :dunno:
From your link...

Addition*ally, three of the four branches of the armed forces met their recruiting goals in fiscal year 2005, and Army reenlistments are the highest in the past five years. A draft is not necessary to increase the size of the active-duty forces. Our analysis using Pentagon data on wartime volunteers effectively shatters the case for reinstating the draft.
From mine...

ample evidence shows that the Army is scrambling to cope with the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan:
The Army has forced about 75,000 soldiers since 2003 to continue serving after their enlistments ended, a policy called "stop loss." That has applied mostly to units slated to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, 11,000 soldiers are serving beyond the term of their enlistments. Of course, the military has extensively tapped Reserve and National Guard units to augment military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Army, to keep hitting enlistment targets, has increased financial incentives, added many more recruiters, raised the age of eligible enlistees (from 35 to 40 in January, then to 42 in June) and taken more enlistees who were considered marginal before because of past legal problems.
The Pentagon has increasingly relied on contractors in Iraq, with more than 35,000 working there now, mainly in food services, transportation and construction. Some Navy and Air Force personnel also are being pressed into jobs such as driving trucks into Iraq that usually would have been assigned to ground forces.
Military experts said the stressful deployment rate is a result of an Army cut too deep, too fast since the end of the Cold War.
About 504,000 soldiers were in the active-duty Army last week, according to the Pentagon. That compares with nearly 800,000 during peacetime 20 years ago. Since then, the Army was reduced from 18 divisions to 12, then 10.

"We have the smallest army America has fielded since 1939, when the pre-World War II buildup began," McCaffrey said.
Which do you think gives a clearer picture?

That's why.
 
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Annie

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From your link...



From mine...



Which do you think gives a clearer picture?

That's why.
Which has what to do with the socio-economic make-up of the military? Which was the point?

BTW, I happen to agree that we need to increase the numbers in the military.
 

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Which has what to do with the socio-economic make-up of the military? Which was the point?

BTW, I happen to agree that we need to increase the numbers in the military.
I specifically said that I wasn't responding to the socio-economic issue. The point was that the Heritage Foundation is a right-wing site that isn't giving an objective assessment and is inaccurate on the issue of troop strenght and is, therefore, unreliable, in its description of the socio-economic issue.

Difficult to raise troop strength with a volunteer military when the current action is a failed policy. If we get out of Iraq and focus on Afghanistan, I'd wager things would turn around. Certainly, the way to do it isn't by diminishing the quality of our troops by taking people who would have previously been considered "marginal".
 
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Annie

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I specifically said that I wasn't responding to the socio-economic issue. The point was that the Heritage Foundation is a right-wing site that isn't giving an objective assessment and is inaccurate on the issue of troop strenght and is, therefore, unreliable, in its description of the socio-economic issue.

Difficult to raise troop strength with a volunteer military when the current action is a failed policy. If we get out of Iraq and focus on Afghanistan, I'd wager things would turn around. Certainly, the way to do it isn't by diminishing the quality of our troops by taking people who would have previously been considered "marginal".
The fact that it's 'right wing' doesn't mean that it's wrong. The same would be said about many things coming out of Cato, more liberal. Equally Canegie. The whole idea that if people are 'right' they must be 'wrong' is a fallacious statement, that I would think you better than.

In fact, the information I posted was on socio-economic demographics, where were they wrong, because they are from Heritage?
 

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