Skip to comments.Military Intelligence: John Kerry's comments weren't just offensive. They were wrong
Posted on 11/01/2006 5:29:59 PM PST by Pokey78
John Kerry's comments stirred up quite a bit of emotion yesterday. The American Legion promptly denounced them, and John McCain and President Bush rushed to hold press conferences. Kerry vowed to apologize "to no one" and insisted that the statement--"education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq"--was a botched joke directed at Yale graduate George W. Bush.
Few, however, stopped to consider the factual nature of the assertions. If they did, they'd realize there's nothing to be offended about, because Kerry's words were simply incorrect. In fact, members of the armed forces are more often high school graduates, and more often of above-average intelligence, than average Americans.
Last year, the Heritage Foundation took the time to study soldier demographics. The resulting report, "Who Bears the Burden?" disproves many of the stereotypes members of the military face. Pertinent to Kerry's comments, the study found that soldiers actually tend to have more education than the general public.
"If one single statistic could settle this issue, it is this: 98 percent of all enlisted recruits who enter the military have an education level of high school or greater, compared to the national average of 75 percent," according to the report.
Of course, because military service often starts right after high school, a lower proportion of recruits have college experience. The Army had the highest proportion of Bachelor's degrees at 2.7 percent--compared to almost 8 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24.
If anything, there are two ways to make military service unlikely: Go to college, or drop out of high school. This doesn't jive too well with Kerry's "study hard or you'll end up in Iraq" message.
Of course, you could argue that since graduating from high school doesn't take a lot of smarts, those in the military are probably people with low intelligence who just have enough work ethic to see tasks through.
But the facts prove this notion wrong, too. People in the military aren't dull, because the military doesn't let dull people in.
The Armed Forces Qualifying test is basically a measure of IQ and is required of all recruits. It divides potential soldiers into categories I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IV, and V. Those who score in the bottom 10 percent (Category V) are disqualified completely, and the next 20 percent (Category IV) can never make up more than 4 percent of a year's recruits.
Every branch of the military is made up of more than 50 percent I to IIIa, in other words, the top-half of the general population. That means above-average IQs are more common in soldiers than in everyday Americans.
Looking more closely at the categories, a pattern consistent with the education trend emerges. Military personnel are over-represented in Categories II through IIIb (the 31st through 92nd percentiles of the general population), under-represented in Category IV (because of the 4 percent rule), and unrepresented in Category V. They are also under-represented in Category I--the top 7 percent of the general population, but only 2.9 to 5.8 percent of military recruits (depending on gender and service branch).
Soldiers, then, are bright people, a solid cut above the American public in high school education and IQ. It is true that few have been to college, and that the very brightest students tend not to join, but Kerry's stated (if possibly not intended) notion--that the military is a last resort for the slackers and Forrest Gumps of the world--is demonstrably false.
Robert VerBruggen is an apprentice editor at the National Interest.
Hey...it was just a JOKE MALFUNCTION!!
John Kerry is a traitor.
JF Kerry should be tried for TREASON. I do not know if Carter's pardon of VN "resistors" qualifies him for an exemption.
He should at least resign from the SENATE!
STARE DECISIS - Trent Lott had to resign the Majority Leader for a far lesser offense.
STARE DECISIS - Kerry must resign!
The sad part is that we keep letting him get away with it.
Kerry is wrong on many levels. His fellow Senator, Ted Kennedy, paid other students to do his homework for him and he has done rather well for himself.
Mark Levine hit the nail on the head on his radio program this evening.
(and I'm paraphrasing)
We shouldn't even want an apology from Kerry, it would be dishonest, because it would be a lie, because his original comments are a real and true reflection of how he thinks and how he has believed most of his adult life - he has real disdain and contempt for the U.S. military.
In my own view:
His since of honor about his own military experience is a politically contrived sham; the Swiftboats have not told one single lie about his dishonorable service and his false autobiographical writing of some of the incident reports that form the basis of the "official Navy records" for some of his own medals; the contempt the majority of his own peers in Vietnam had for him; his traitorous behavior with secret meetings in Paris with the North Vietnamese (while he was still a reserve Naval officer); his traitorous slander against the American troops in Vietnam; and his attempts to undermine the war effort in direct participation in the so-called "antiwar" movements in the 1970s; and, of no less of a consequence, we have his anti-military, anti-US-intelligence votes throughout his career in Congress.
Our enemies throughout his time in Congress have never had a better friend than John Kerry.
John sign the 180 form!!!!!
Keep the story alive. Kerry's apology via email is not enough.
"Kerry's apology via email is not enough."
You're right. I want him to abjectly apologize in front of a camera. I want to hear the words "I'm sorry" come out of his mouth.
I'm highly insulted. Why did I risk my life for a low-life like him? I risked it for those who can't fight for themselves against a savage world.
BastRAT Kerry should resign immediately.
This is not some adult pager email affair, this is (past) potential commander's in chief treasonous behavior.
Our son has Master's in Bioengineering and joined Navy to serve the country and not to be insulted and degraded by the scumbag who self inflicted three purple hearts in Vietnam to get out of it and then denigrate the military comrades.
At first glance, I misread that as
Right both ways. :^)
Well said. And such a true and devastating comment.
This horror of a human being, much less a United States Senator, should be thrown out of office. Thrown out in the name of every single service man and woman who has served or is serving in our forces. This sorry piece of sh!t has hurt the very people who RISK THEIR LIVES to defend our freedom, who LITERALLY PROTECT US ALL!
John Kerry has attempted to smash the spirit of every single serviceman or woman, denigrating their intelligence and putting a horrific message out to those who are considering serving our nation.
Is Kerry trying to make our military heroes ashamed of their chosen profession? Embarrassed? Is he trying to weaken them? Anger them? Make them believe their nation sees them as STUPID? I DISPISE THIS ARROGANT, SNOT NOSED GIGOLO!
How do the people of Mass. STAND IT?
John Kerry, an empty suit extraordinaire, a nothing without the liberal media to bolster his pathetic pinheaded statements, should be IMPEACHED YESTERDAY.
I mean it.