AP: US Troops Are Poor, Few Options and KIAs from rural Areas 'Disproportionate'

Talk about creating a false dichotomy geared to discrediting a policy! The AP has generated a doosie in theirs titled "Rural America bears scars from Iraq war" and subtitled "Nearly half of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq came from a small town".

Their main thrust is that small towns are somehow seeing their sons fall on the field of battle in "unfair" numbers.

Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.

At first blush this might seem to be alarming. But, when one lets that first emotive rush fade and allows a little common sense to be applied to the situation, it doesn't seem so outrageous. The fact is, youngsters from rural areas are simply far more prone to joining the military in the first place and always have been. So it is a natural matter of strict statistics that more from those areas would fall in battle. After all, there are more of them.

So, what we are left with is a naked, emotive effort to cause some sort of outrage over the perceived unfairness of this statistic, even as there is no "fair" or "unfair" component to it. It is simply a fact.

And, in case you are thinking that it is I, rather than the AP, positing that this KIA rate is "unfair", try this paragraph from page one of the story:

There's a "basic unfairness" about the number of troops dying in Iraq who are from rural areas, said William O'Hare, senior visiting fellow at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which examines rural issues.

A statement based on pure emotion made with no logical thought behind it. Further, it places the spotlight on the wrong issue. If we see more rural youngsters joining the military, the proper question is why aren't city kids joining in equal numbers? Why is their patriotism so lacking compared to that of rural kids?

Next the AP went on to indulge in the Left's drumbeat claim that all our soldiers are so poor that they had no choice but to join the Army.

Many of the hometowns of the war dead aren't just small, they're poor. The AP analysis found that nearly three quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.

This claim that our soldiers only joined the service because they were too poor to make it otherwise has been repeatedly shot down as false, but here is the AP bringing it up again.

Steve Sailer wrote in a story for UPI, for instance, that our soldiers do not hail from the poorest families on average.

Are soldiers the products of particularly poor families? In general, the enlisted ranks come from neither the top nor the bottom of society, but from working and middle class backgrounds.

And Sailer isn't the only one who has written similarly.

Yet, to the AP, it is that canard "Diminished opportunities" that are supposed to be "one factor in higher military enlistment rates in rural areas." Those poor, stupid troops that John Kerry so bemoaned are the favorite whipping boy of the anti-war left so very often.

Adding more illogic to injury, the AP quotes this William O'Hare to the effect that someone is somehow forcing our poor, desperate rural youth to go die.

Rural communities are "being asked to pay a bigger price for this military adventure, if I can use that word, than their urban counterparts," O'Hare said.

"Being asked to pay", Mr. O'Hare? By Whom? Naturally we don't get any other side of this story but that of this activist's.

It isn't until page two that we finally get some hint that it might not just be economics that drives rural enlistments.

Military tradition and patriotism run deep in rural America, and for some the drive to serve goes well beyond economics. Sometimes, the call is something even their parents don't completely understand.

No doubt the AP doesn't understand that kind of patriotism either! And it is also no wonder that this line of discussion results in little but the mention.

In any case, there is a lot of emotion spread about in this anti-Iraq war piece, but little by way of substance.

Certainly even a single soldier lost is a great burden to bear – especially for the family of that soldier -- but a discussion of this war requires some perspective that is all too often missing in such stories. We have lost some 3,000 soldiers in this war, it is true. But, by contrast we lost something like 5,000 every month during WWII. Worse, we lose over 40,000 Americans to car accidents every year! Where are the many heart rending stories about auto accident deaths? If numbers were so important we should see far, far more AP stories on deaths in auto accidents than stories about Iraq casualties.

Ah, but then the AP isn't trying to stop cars. They ARE, on the other hand, trying to stop Bush and the war in Iraq and they will use any emotional appeal to succeed in their goal, too. And this piece of junk is just another effort to destroy our president, our safety, and our efforts in the Middle East.

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