This is old news but well worth revisitiing. Julian Delasantellis has written an in depth article relating to unit cohesion amongst today’s military compared to the revolving door, individual trooop deployments of Vietnam. This was explained in detail in Jonathan Shay’s book, Achilles in Vietnam.
So who actually is in the US military in Iraq? A 2007 article in the Financial Times of London described the new dynamic of military demographics in the Iraq War:
The Pentagon does not disclose the socio-economic background of the 25,000 US soldiers who have been killed or wounded in Iraq. But a breakdown of their ethnicity and states of origins shows they are overwhelmingly white and from small towns in the interior states of mid-America and the South… a military sociologist at Northwestern University, says the divorce between the social origins of most US army personnel and the character of the population as a whole is greater than ever.
More than this, he explores the political divide between urban and rural America and notes that while it was urban America that came under attack, rural America is dying for it.
And in the ultimate display of patriotism, pride and support for the Iraq War, red-state rural America sent their sons and daughters to fight and die in it.
Why? Was it that red-state America possessed some special insight or wisdom concerning the nature of the threat, the enemy the nation faced in Iraq and the rest of the Muslim world , what the neo-conservatives call “Islamofascism?”
Or was it that red-state America’s embrace of the war was due to a much simpler causation? Was it that it knew that much of blue-state America didn’t support the war, that, like a desperate lover trying to prove his worth over a romantic rival, by supporting the troops and the war, by righting the perfidy committed by the treasonous metropolis in not “supporting the troops” in Vietnam, ( which I wrote about in my June 6, 2007, ATol piece, Yes, Rambo, you get to win this time.) rural America could prove that it was the genuine repository of the American ethos and its values, the true home of the American spirit?
It is always a wonder to me how people can ultimately vote against their own interests, perhaps Delasantellis’ article gives some insight into that process.