Rural poor foot war's human costs

[Cross posted at Scru Hoo]

No surprise here. According to the Associated Press, the poorest, most rural parts of America are footing an unfair share of the war's human costs.

Many of the hometowns of the war dead aren't just small, they're poor. The AP analysis found that nearly three quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.

If you want to see how it affects Cleveland County, NC, go below the fold to watch the one-minute clip of 18-year-old Chris Nalley. He was videotaped last month (for his support of Senator John Edwards.) He has no relatives overseas, yet he understands the price his schoolmates are paying.

Chris goes to Crest High School in Shelby, North Carolina, estimated 2005 population: 21,263; median income: 41,067. The 2005 national median income: $46,326.

There's a "basic unfairness" about the number of troops dying in Iraq who are from rural areas, said William O'Hare, senior visiting fellow at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, which examines rural issues.

Diminished opportunities are one factor in higher military enlistment rates in rural areas. From 1997 to 2003, 1.5 million rural workers lost their jobs due to changes in industries like manufacturing that have traditionally employed rural workers, according to the Carsey Institute.

Rural communities are "being asked to pay a bigger price for this military adventure, if I can use that word, than their urban counterparts," O'Hare said.

As a result, in more than a thousand small towns across the country - from Glendive, Mont., to Barnwell, S.C., to Caledonia, Miss., and from Hardwick, Vt., to Clinton, Ohio - friends and families have been left struggling to make sense of a loved one's death in Iraq. It's a struggle that hits with a special intensity in tight-knit, small towns.

"In a small community, even if you don't know somebody's name you at least know their face, you've seen them before, talked to them maybe," said Chuck Bevington, whose 22-year-old brother Allan, from Beaver Falls, Pa., died in Iraq, after volunteering for a second tour. "A small community feels it a lot tighter because they've had more contact with each other."

Small town America may not be populated by the types of people who march on Washington. On the other hand, small town residents like Chris Nalley don't seem the type to ignore the obvious, that the war is "prolonged agony."

These are people's lives. It's families that you're talking about. One life makes a lot of difference.



very nice, DQ.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

OOps I just changed the headline

Did I screw up something?
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

So inspiring.

to see a young guy thinking it through and grappling with the reality of Bush's disastrous presidency.

Thanks for doing this, DQ. This is good stuff.


Also recommended.

Isn't he wonderful????

He was kind of uncomfortable at first, as are most people in front of a camera with a stranger asking questions. But I kept saying, "why do you care? You say the words but I'm not sure why." And now, of course, I know why he was reluctant to speak.

With young people like this, I can get really inspired about our future.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

I am so excited!!!

This is my very first post on BlueNC!!!

Full disclosure--I was there when Chris taped his interview. I was blown away then and blown away now by his sincerity and true concern for others.

I wish everyone in this country had Chris' sense of empathy.

Welcome, welcome

Come on in. The water's warm . . . well, most of the time!
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Water's warm

Except when it's hot.

Or cold.

Welcome from me.


And another welcome.

Glad to have you here! Truth be told, if the water were always warm this could be a fairly boring place. But its not. Which is good. And fun. Mostly. 0:-)

Someone at precinct meeting was talking about the rural poor taking the brunt of W's radically bad judgement in Iraq. Its such a sad shame. I heard Prince Harry was being deployed to Iraq. The second son makes his bones through military service. As it always was, ever shall it be. Where are the children of the stupendously stupid PNAC group?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


Thanks for posting!

I think there are more and more gaining that empathy daily.

And DQ, I've forwarded this particular post to many friends who don't normally read BlueNC. You're right. More people need to hear this young man.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Thanks, Linda

I'm just starting to realize how much video can reach people who are not regular blog readers.

I'm really excited about meeting more wonderful people like Chris and "using" them to draw more non-blogger types into our on-line discussions. You just confirmed my theory . . .

And, since video is so much fun, I'm liking my theory more and more!
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.

Very Nice DQ

More young voices should be heard, they understand things more than we give them credit for.

I like that you brought so many aspects to this post; your stats, the vid, the quotes and your writing. You are a wonderful voice for WNC, thanks for bringing it.....woman.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions My Blog

Congrats on the first post and welcome micandacam

hope you stick around and join the conversation. Always good to have another voice.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions My Blog

Blogging can be fun and

Blogging can be fun and hurtful and maddening and very fulfilling. Welcome aboard.

First let me assure you that I have NEVER approved of going into Iraq and wrote all my Congress man several times about this BEFORE the war.. Though once there I feel we have an obligation to stay until we fix things. We did after all BREAK a country under a dictator, but at least managing to get along without killing each other. We broke this system. To pull out now would not only be cowardly it would be just plain wrong and immoral because when we leave there will be nothing to protect the common people and the thugs will create a blood bath unparalleled in history.

Second, ours is an ALL Volunteer Army. Our soldiers chose to go into the service of their country. True, they didn’t go in specifically to fight wars but they were soon made to understand in Basic Training that this was their primary reason for being and their call to duty comes before all else (family, schooling, everything). They are then given the opportunity to get out without prejudice. It is true that small towns with not much in the way of jobs or educational opportunities draw more volunteers. The Army offers ambitious young people college at no or low costs, besides the specialized training in their field that can carry them to good jobs after leaving the service.

Personally being a military wife, mother, mother-in-law and soon a military grandmother I consider the military a good life and a great opportunity for young people who have very little in the way of assets . If they work hard they can rise thru the ranks and retire in twenty years with a life time pension. Then have another career that they are prepared to do well in because of military training.

Safety: Far far more young people die on our highways every week than have died in this entire war. Did you know that? Far more young people die of drug over dose (illegal and legal) in a month than have died in this entire war. Check the stats.


Great post, DQ!

When he asked at the end, "Was that bad?" I said to my computer, "No, that was great!" The young man seems to have a handle on what's wrong and why it's wrong.

Clearly, the reason so many of his classmates have relatives serving is because they have so few options. This is not intended as a slap at the military, or those who choose to serve in the military. My husband was a career soldier, and it was a great life, except when it wasn't. I was pregnant when he was sent to Viet Nam; his son was 6 months old when he first laid eyes on him and first got to hold him. He continued to have nightmares, although eventually with reducing frequency, the rest of his life.

We certainly have an obligation to fix what we broke in Iraq. I don't think we do that with combat troops. I think our presence there makes the situation worse, and the sooner we get out, the better. We should be humbly requesting help and forgiveness from the rest of the world for our arrogance and stupidity. We should be financing international solutions to the problems, rebuilding infrastructure, training security forces.

Thanks, CD

I wish I'd met you at Seagrove. I really want to put faces to these anonymous names!

I don't feel like any kind of expert on the war, but talking to Chris gets me back to what's real and what's obvious. "We can't force it on them." And I edited this out but he repeated several times (as he was trying to find the words) "Americans are dying over there." How hard is this to understand?

I have a friend who had two children while her husband was in Viet Nam. (The second one, thanks to leave in Hawaii!) Her husband is much closer to the child born years later when he was home. The cost of war is just so complex and deep. And, yet again, what seems to obvious to 18-year-old Chris eludes our warmongering leaders from both sides of the aisle.
“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”
So enjoy the drama.