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Thursday, March 12, 2009

What the Presidential Election Says About Each State's Investment in The War On Terror

Liberals love to say, "When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die." The supposition, of course, is that the rich only want war because the poor do all the fighting. Certainly, if you look at each state's mean household income, 18 of the 25 states with the lowest median household income are also among the 25 states with the highest casualty rate per capita (estimated 2008 state population) in The War on Terror (Iraq + Afghanistan).

What liberals seem to misinterpret with the aforementioned bumper sticker argument, is that the median household income for the poorest state in the union is 36,338. The median expected salary for a typical E1 - Recruit for Basic Training (Army) in the United States is just $15,222. So it's not as if the military offers pay far and beyond the civilian opportunities available.

It's also important to note the source of this quote - Jean-Paul Sartre, who was drafted into the French army in 1939 during World War II. Therefore, his statement about the relationship between poverty and war speaks more towards the nature of drafts during his time than it does towards our current system of military enlistment - which is 100% voluntary.

As I type this, I can just picture one of my liberal readers furrowing his brow, pursing his lips and stomping his foot. I'm sure this liberal would make the argument, "It doesn't matter when Sartre lived or in what context he made the statement. You yourself just proved that the states with the lowest median household income have experienced the highest amount of casualties in The War on Terror."

And indeed I did make that point. The reason I mention the context of Sartre's statement is to point toward the distinction in his experience and the experience of American soldiers today. While he was forced to go to war, our troops volunteer. To which I imagine my phantom liberal would reply, "Yes, but the poor can be forced into 'volunteering' via socioeconomic pressure."

This is true also. The stats bare out the assertion that economically downtrodden states experience a higher per capita enlistment rate. What does not follow, however, is that these enlistees are unwilling participants of war. The 2008 election showed this liberal assertion to be absolutely false.

A Military Times poll released a couple weeks before the election found that American soldiers overwhelmingly supported John McCain - who advocated the Iraq war from the start, and who intensely supported the idea of staying in Iraq as long as necessary to ensure stability in the region - over Barack Obama by a margin of 3:1. This margin of preference for the Republican, pro-war candidate was consistent between both enlisted troops and officers amongst all branches of the military and duty statuses.

When a liberal is confronted with the incontrovertible fact that American soldiers are willing participants of The War on Terror and believe in the cause for which they are fighting and risking their lives, the typical response is, "Well maybe... but it's the families that suffer during war - the soldiers are brain-washed to believe what they are doing is right."

If such a platitude were correct, the states with the highest casualty rate per capita would have supported Barack Obama - who opposed the Iraq war from its offset, and who promised to set a 16 month time table for troop withdraw if elected - in the 2008 election. This was not the case. In fact, 16 of the 25 states with the highest casualty rates relative to state population voted for McCain.

So, it isn't the case that these soldiers are fighting against their will. It isn't even the case that the communities who have lost the most want the war to end. On the contrary, the states which have lost the most - the communities which have invested the most into The War on Terror did not support Barack Obama. Yet these communities which have lost so very much, will have their opinions ignored because Obama won 53% of the popular vote, and therefore feels he has a "mandate" for his liberal military agenda.

Doesn't it seem inappropriate that those who have invested the least in this war, now have control over it?
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