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NBC: African-Americans shunning the military over Iraq war
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday August 20, 2007


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NBC News on Sunday examined the "disappearing military mainstay" of African-American recruits, who in recent years had provided about 1/4 of military enlistments.

Once seen by young black people as "a sure way to climb the ladder," the military is increasingly being shunned because of the Iraq War. "Nearly 3 in 4 blacks oppose the war," NBC stated, and the percentage of active-duty black soldiers in the Army "has plunged by a third since 2001."

The drop-off in black recruits has been recognized as a problem since at least 2005, when the Washington Post reported that "the percentage of new Army recruits who are black has slipped dramatically over the past five years, reflecting a lack of support among African Americans for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The Associated Press recently updated those figures and suggested that "the findings reflect the growing unpopularity of the wars, particularly among family members and other adults who exert influence over high school and college students considering the military as a place to serve their country, further their education or build a career."

The father of one young black man who would like to enlist told NBC that he has refused to give his permission -- required because his son is only 17 -- because "I still have that hope that in a year from now he might change his mind."

The following video is from NBC's Nightly News, broadcast on August 19.