Black Military Recruits Drop Significantly genre: Just Jihad & Six Degrees of Speculation

Military Recruiting

The number of Black recruits has dropped significantly since the onset of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. No doubt family and friends are encouraging young blacks to find alternative jobs that don't carry the risks of military service. One might also conclude that the drop off reflects the growing opposition to the war and the belief that an end is not in sight.

WASHINGTON - The number of blacks joining the military has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began, as other job prospects soar and relatives of potential recruits increasingly discourage them from signing up.

According to data obtained by The Associated Press, the decline covers all four military services for active duty recruits, and the drop is even more dramatic when National Guard and Reserve recruiting is included.

According to Pentagon data, there were nearly 51,500 new black recruits for active duty and reserves in 2001. That number fell to less than 32,000 in 2006, a 38 percent decline.

When only active duty troops are counted, the number of black recruits went from more than 31,000 in 2002 to about 23,600 in 2006, almost one-quarter fewer. The decline is particularly stark for the Army.

The percentage of minorities in the military has typically been larger than their percentages in the population at large and many critics contend that the absence of a draft leads to a higher percent of economically disadvantaged individuals.

Representative Charles Rangel of New York has been an outspoken opponent of the all volunteer military; suggesting that a draft might make politicians think twice about supporting military interventions. Rangel's bill to reinstate the draft has had little support in either party.

Daniel DiRito | June 25, 2007 | 11:48 AM
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