Why Smallest States Suffer Most In Iraq

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
USA Today
March 28, 2008
Pg. 9
Plain Talk
By Al Neuharth
The War Without End in Iraq was back in the headlines this week because it is 5 years old, and deaths of our servicemen and women there reached 4,000.
A disproportionate number of those deaths have come from states with the smallest populations. A USA TODAY in-depth analysis of death rates per 1 million residents for our five least populated states:
*Vermont 29
*Alaska 23.4
*South Dakota 22.6
*North Dakota 21.9
*Wyoming 21
Compared with the five most populated states:
*Texas 15.2
*California 11.6
*Illinois 11
*New York 9
*Florida 9
Military deaths from the smaller states are proportionately double or triple those from the bigger states for two reasons: pay and patriotism.
Basic pay for a private in the U.S. Army now starts at $1,245.90 a month. Allowances include $250 more a month for family separation.
Those paychecks aren't very enticing for young men and women in New York City or Los Angeles. But they stretch a lot further on the prairies of the Dakotas or Wyoming. That's especially important for those who have families at home to help support.
Patriotism also is a factor. An all-volunteer military traditionally attracts more rural enlistees. That's especially true in the National Guard, which now makes up nearly one-fourth of our Iraq servicemen and women (37,684 out of 156,000).
Only a military draft could even out those inequities. That's not necessarily a recommendation. But it is a fact.
A renewed military draft by Congress, strong enough to override a veto, might cause even President Bush to think about bringing our troops home from Iraq sooner rather than later. He has only 10 months to correct the biggest foreign policy blunder in our history.