Peace Time: February 28, 2003


The recent ruckus over reinstating the draft in the United States, "because only the poor were serving" fell apart when confronted with statistics on who was actually in the service. Because of the high standards demanded of new recruits, troops in the volunteer military tended to come from families with higher income and education than the population as a whole. This was particularly true with black recruits. Because recruits must be high school graduates and do well on qualification tests, the average black recruit came from families that had more income and were better educated than the average black family. With white recruits, the income and education of their families were about the same as the average white family. What the media missed when Congressman Rangel (of New York) raised the issue is that the American military has constantly raised recruit standards since the draft was dropped three decades ago. 


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