Chris Kromm: The South at War

For Eric:

A few days ago Eric was questioning my numbers on the percentages of the military who are Southerners. I explained that I was following Zell Miller's speech to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. I've been looking into the question more since then.

I'm still not sure where the Honorable Senator Miller got his numbers, but I can report that they match all the numbers I see anywhere else. Anti-war journal CounterPunch, based out of California, puts the number at 42%. Essayist Jeff Adams reports that the percentage during Gulf War I was 41%. As the South's population has grown from about a fourth to about a third of the nation's population, its percentages in the military have kept pace: 33% in WWI, 22% in WWII (a low percentage, I suspect, because of the massive draft; numbers of volunteers would probably be higher for the South in both cases), 40% in Korea, 37% in Vietnam (draft again, I expect), and 41% in Gulf War I. The Institute of Southern Studies--which is actually a group of Southern left-liberals, for the record--puts the number at 42% out of a population they now estimate at 36% of Americans.

That's not as definitive as I would like, but the number is agreed upon by people across the political spectrum. I'm not sure where they're getting it, but they seem to be pulling from a common source.

UPDATE: "Essayist" Jeff Adams turns out to be an officer of the Texas chapter of the League of the South, a rather radical organization that has in the past called on Southerners to refuse to serve in the US Military due to the disdain shown to Southern culture by other Americans. (An aside--I categorically reject this sentiment. Certainly Robert E. Lee would not have understood it. How much less should we understand it, when four more generations of us have shed our blood in the defense of the American flag and of the Republic?) His latest article on the topic can be found here.

Southern representation in the military invasion of Iraq isn't yet available. However, based on the data that is available concerning those killed in action or taken as POWs, and this data can be viewed as a reflection of the makeup of the military population, then Southerners represent 38% of the U.S. armed forces in Iraq. There have been some recent surveys concerning the military that estimate the total Southern contribution to the U.S. armed forces in general is pushing close to 50%!
Adams estimates the South's population as about 30%, so he may be working from a definition of the South that's smaller than the ISS--maybe without Floriday, say.

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