Tue PM Update: Click here for Kerry’s outraged response!
Just scanned Memeorandum and the blogosphere is understandably going wild over some incredibly despicable comments Senator John Kerry made about our troops at a campaign event for Governor Ahhhnold’s Democratic opponent loser Phil Angelides.
“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
The comments speak for themselves, and Kerry’s (lack of) character. I wonder if Rep. Murtha and other vets in DC will condemn the remarks? I won’t hold my breath.
I do think this is a belief about our wonderful military that more than just a few Democrats share. Remember Bill Maher’s insulting remarks about the military ‘already’ picking the “low lying Lyndie England fruit”?
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., takes issue with remarks on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, first aired May 13, in which Maher points out the Army missed its recruiting goal by 42% in April.
“More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club,” Maher said. “We’ve done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies.”
Rep. Charlie Rangel, on trying to justify his phony call to reinstate the draft so “the rich” (who apparently aren’t fighting in this war) would get “a chance” to fight it:
“Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country,” Rangel said. “For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance.”
In other words, only the poor and uneducated sign up for military service.
I tell you what, the masks really are coming off the Democratic party this Halloween, aren’t they? First this, now Kerry’s comments? Trick or treat.
Update I: Gaius nails it:
There is this vast amount of contempt for the military within the Democratic party. They continually refer to the people in the military as ‘children’. The routinely paint them as having joined the military out of financial desperation, lack of education or a lack of ambition. Kerry is one of the contenders for the 2008 nomination and he speaks for a large part of the party.
Update II: Greg Tinti:
Also, I think we should all take a moment today and thank Ohio for keeping this condescending jerk out of the White House.
Don’t you mean Kenneth Blackwell, Greg?
Update III: Here’s video of Kerry’s comments, along with a list of upcoming campaign stops/stumps.
Update IV: In my “others blogging” section of this post, I linked to Jason’s post at Texas Rainmaker on the issue of Kerry’s comments, but he has since updated his post and included info in it that debunks the myth of the “underprivileged and uneducated soldier”. Make sure you read it.
Malkin’s a blogging machine on this today, and notes the MSM’s silence so far. I honestly will not be surprised that, if the MSM picks up this story, they actually try and prove Kerry is right.
Update V: McCain has called on Kerry to apologize:
Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country’s call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education. Americans from all backgrounds, well off and less fortunate, with high school diplomas and graduate degrees, take seriously their duty to our country, and risk their lives today to defend the rest of us in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
They all deserve our respect and deepest gratitude for their service. The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq, is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night. Without them, we wouldn’t live in a country where people securely possess all their God-given rights, including the right to express insensitive, ill-considered and uninformed remarks.
* Myth 1: Military recruits are less educated and have fewer work alternatives than other young Americans.
In fact, military recruits are far better educated than the general youth population, [Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy] Carr said. More than 90 percent of recruits have a high school diploma, compared to about 75 percent of the U.S. youth population.
That’s an important issue to the military, Carr said, because a traditional high school diploma is the single best indicator of a recruit’s stick-to-it-ness and likelihood of successfully adjusting to military service. Recruits with a high school diploma have a 70 percent probability of completing a three-year enlistment versus a 50 percent chance for nongraduates.
The military has exceeded the 90-percent benchmark for recruits with high school diplomas every year since 1983, Carr noted.
* Myth 2: The military tends to attract people with lower aptitudes.
Recruits actually have much higher average aptitudes than the general youth population, Carr said. In fiscal 2005, 67 percent of recruits scored above the 60th percentile on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The test is designed so that the average young person will score 50 percent, he explained.
But high achievement on the test isn’t new, Carr said. Sixty percent of new enlistees have scored at or above the 50 percentile — the military’s benchmark for recruits — every year since 1985.
* Myth 3: The military attracts a disproportionate number of poor or underprivileged youth.
In reality, military recruits mirror the U.S. population and are solidly middle class, Carr said. He cited a recent Heritage Foundation report that shows most recruits come from middle-class families, rather than poorer or wealthier ones. Patterns in recent years reinforce this trend, showing a slight dip in recruits from lower socioeconomic groups and a slight increase from upper-class groups, Carr said.
* Myth 4: A disproportionate number of recruits come from urban areas.
Inner cities are actually the most underrepresented area among new recruits, Carr said. Both suburban and rural areas are overrepresented, he said.
* Myth 5: The military isn’t geographically representative of America.
The southern part of the United States generates the most recruits, 41 percent, but also has the biggest youth population to draw from, 36 percent, Carr said. Twenty-four percent of recruits come from north-central regions, which have 23 percent of the youth population. The west, with 24 percent of the nation’s youth, contributes 21 percent of the new enlistees. And the northeast, with 18 percent of the youth population, provides 14 percent of new recruits.
Others blogging about this: Captain Ed, Justin Levine at Patterico’s, RightWinged.com, Iowa Voice, Dan Riehl, Astute Bloggers , Tigerhawk, Bizzyblog, Kim Priestap at Wizbang, Sensible Mom, Texas Rainmaker, Rob at Say Anything, Hyscience, USS Neverdock, Conservative Blogger, Tom Maguire, Anchoress