Sunday, January 3, 2010

race vs. class in the Iraq and Afghanistan War

From 2004, via
...deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom reflect the racial composition of the U.S. population in 2000, with the exception of the Asian category (n=1048)::

Whites -- 731 (70%)
Black or African American -- 132 (13%)
Hispanic or Latino -- (12%)
Asian -- 22 (2%)
Other categories were 1% or less

Deaths from Operation Enduring Freedom are a bit more concentrated in the white category:

Whites -- 116 (83%)
Black or African American -- 9 (6%)
Hispanic or Latino -- 12 (9%)
Asian -- 1 (0.7%)
Other categories were 1% or less
From 2004, via The Fallen: A profile of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan
Whites are indeed slightly under-represented in today's active-duty military as a whole: They make up 64.2 percent of the force, compared with 69.1 percent of the U.S. population. (The reserve components are somewhat whiter.) But whites are slightly over-represented among the dead, at 70.9 percent.

Conversely, African-Americans are notably over-represented in the military as a whole. They make up 19.1 percent of the active-duty force, and a staggering 24 percent of the Army, as opposed to just 12.1 percent of the population. But blacks are not significantly over-represented among the dead of this global war: They make up only 12.4 percent.

The reason for this discrepancy, say experts, is that although blacks sign up in greater numbers, they cluster pragmatically in noncombat units whose training in mechanics, electronics, and logistics translates well into civilian careers upon leaving uniform. "The proportion of blacks to whites is very much smaller in the combat arms than in other branches," said retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, former commandant of the Army War College and a noted author. He added that Special Forces and aviation units have the smallest percentage of minorities of all segments of the military.
From The Rural War:
A look at the demographics of soldiers killed reveals that Iraq is not the war of any one race or region. Rather, it is rural America's war.

...Counties disconnected from urban areas tend to have higher death rates, regardless of population size. Small rural counties have a death rate nearly twice that of counties that have the same population but happen to be part of metropolitan areas.

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