Thursday, July 24, 2008

Army Integration: Bullets Don't Care About Diversity

Buck Sargent, at Mudville Gazette, takes issue with this story from CBS News, "After 60Years, Black Officers Still Rare":

Sixty years after President Truman desegregated the military, senior black officers are still rare, particularly among the highest ranks....

The rarity of blacks in the top ranks is apparent in one startling statistic: Only one of the 38 four-star generals or admirals serving as of May was black. And just 10 black men have ever gained four-star rank - five in the Army, four in the Air Force and one in the Navy, according to the Pentagon.

The dearth of blacks in high-ranking positions gives younger African-American soldiers few mentors of their own race. And as the overall percentage of blacks in the service falls, particularly in combat careers that lead to top posts, the situation seems unlikely to change....

Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, [acknlowdges the] concerns.

"It's all about how many people you put in the front end of the pipe," Austin said in an interview from Baghdad. "It's very difficult for anybody to get to be a colonel or general in any branch of the service if you don't have enough young officers coming in."

Austin took the combat path to his three-star rank, starting as an infantryman and tactical officer. Later - as a general officer - he commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The forces he sees now, he said, are far more diverse than when he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975. Then, he said, blacks made up only about 2.5 percent of the Army's officer corps.

"We treasure diversity because it brings in a lot of different viewpoints and blends in a lot of cultures," he said. "It makes us better."
Here's Sargent from Mudville:

I have so many problems with this article that I'm not even sure where to start. Last time I checked, a bullet didn't care what color you were, and in my time in the Army I've encountered very few soldiers who did either. If the Army isn't the most colorblind institution in America, I'd be hard pressed to name another. I can't speak for the other service branches, but I have no reason to believe they'd be much different....

My young son will not be raised to "treasure diversity," whatever that meaningless feel-good phrase is even supposed to mean anyway. He will be taught that the only "cultural blend" that is important is the uniquely American culture of political, economic, and individual freedom, and self-sufficiency from government. If he so chooses to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States, he will be instructed that service is the operative word. As in, selfless service, not self-service.
See also, United States Army, "Army Commemorates 60th Anniversary of Armed Forces Integration."