The (Young) White Man’s Burden in Iraq and Afghanistan Combat
From USA Today during the Late Obama Age Collapse:
Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY May 3, 2015
WASHINGTON — The senior leadership of the Air Force remains largely white and male despite an emphasis on diversity in the service and throughout the military, according to data and interviews with service leaders.
The Air Force has 280 generals, but just 18 of them belong to minority groups. That includes two Hispanic officers, or less than 1% of the total. The 13 African-American generals make up 4% of the Air Force’s general officer corps.
The Pentagon’s other branches, including the Army, share the same struggle to diversify their forces, a priority of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. A key concern for the Army resides in the lack of minority officers leading its combat battalions and brigades. That’s where lieutenant colonels and colonels are groomed for top leadership jobs, indicating the lack of diversity among combat leaders could persist for years.
It’s almost as if white men are more likely to volunteer for and succeed in the most dangerous and demanding assignments, while the Coalition of the Fringes prefers rear-echelon jobs?
The Air Force’s 9,000 combat pilots are at least 87% white. More officers declined to identify their race, 5%, than the next highest minority group, African Americans, at 3%. Nearly 94% are men.
Back during the worst part of the Iraq War, I used to try to excavate the statistics on one of the least publicized aspects of George W. Bush’s war: that whites were getting killed in combat at much higher rates than nonwhites.
In the mid 2000s, non-Hispanic whites made up about 61% of the 25-year-olds in the U.S. But through this 2009 report by Hannah Fischer of the Congressional Research Service, whites made up 74.7% of Iraq war fatalities, while minorities only accounted for 25.3%. So, whites gave the last full measure of devotion at an 89% higher per capita rate than nonwhites in Iraq.
The sacrifice gap was even larger in Afghanistan through 2009, with whites dying at a per capita rate 146% higher than nonwhites.
And, of course, the white man’s burden was even higher compared to the rest of the population of young adults of both sexes: a death rate roughly 500% higher in Iraq, and over 650% higher in Afghanistan.