Many people take it for granted that minority soldiers are disproportionately killed in the Iraq war. But guess what? It’s not true.
The L.A. Times reports today — in a small story on page A9 — that a new study shows that whites account for the vast majority of fatalities in Iraq:
The majority of soldiers and Marines killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were young, white, enlisted personnel from active-duty units, according to a study released Friday by the federal Government Accountability Office.
The study was ordered by Charlie Rangel, who is no doubt bitterly disappointed by these results. Rangel is, of course, the loudmouth who proposed a draft during the run-up to the Iraq war, arguing that minorities bore the greater brunt of war casualties. In 2003, Rangel said in a debate on the House floor:
. . . we find out just today that 12 percent of the Nation’s population is black but they represent 20 percent of those that were killed.
Rangel’s statement was based on a Scripps Howard study done in April 2003, based on only 105 fatalities, which showed that 19% of the fatalities at that juncture were black.
But the new study is much more comprehensive. It “involved 1,841 service personnel who were killed and 12,658 who were wounded, as of May 28.” Today’s story states:
Whites, who constitute 67% of the active-duty and reserve forces, accounted for 71% of the fatalities. African Americans are 17% of the overall force and were 9% of the fatalities.
One can only speculate as to whether this would have been a small page A9 story if the study had shown a disproportionate number of black deaths in Iraq, as Rangel had so clearly hoped it would.