Rebecca Hagelin

It was bad enough when last month we heard John Kerry insinuate that our brave and talented troops aren’t the brightest bulbs in the chandelier -- that young Americans who don’t pursue their education wind up “stuck in Iraq.” But now Charlie Rangel is actually making an argument for Kerry’s “joke” -- that our troops are ignorant and motivated by nothing higher than self-interest.

Of course, it isn’t the first time Rangel has bashed our troops and threatened to hold hearings to bring back the draft. As I wrote in this column three weeks ago, we should expect him to denigrate our volunteer military and to attempt to reinstate a coercive, unnecessary draft to “remedy” the class warfare that exists only in his imagination.

The forum was Fox News Sunday. Host Chris Wallace was questioning Rangel about his call to reinstate the draft. Because Rangel bases his rationale on the discredited notion that our troops aren’t highly educated and come mostly from poor areas, Wallace cited a blockbuster study by Tim Kane of The Heritage Foundation. The study shows, among other things, that:

  • Recruits tend to be better educated than the public at large. At least 90 percent of enlistees have a high-school diploma, while the national high-school graduation rate is 75 percent. In addition, the mean reading level of 2004 recruits is a full grade level higher than that of the comparable youth population.
  • Recruits from wealthy families are actually overrepresented in today’s military. The only income group whose participation in the military is declining is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004 and 13.7 percent in 2005.
  • In light of this report, Wallace asked Rangel, “Isn't the volunteer army better educated and more well-to-do than the general population?” Here’s Rangel’s reply:

    Rebecca Hagelin

    Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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