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FEATURE:


African Americans in The War in Iraq



by BlackState.com Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved May Not Be Reproduced In Any Part Without Express Consent of BlackState.com.

Bush wants war, but is Iraq (Ancient Mesopotamia) such a threat that Americaís rich would send their own sons or daughters to fight and die? Would Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld send their kids? Thatís the question every President must ask himself before committing troops to war especially a President who himself avoided service in Vietnam, thanks to daddy (remember the Clinton criticism?).

Iraq has never in its thousands of years of history threatened the United States, ever. So why preemptively attack now. Why put so many lives in danger, especially the troops who protect us, when there is no direct threat to the security of the United States and we can better use the troops in the hunt for real terrorist, not an aging dictator with an army who can run faster than its soccer team.

African Americans overwhelmingly oppose going to war with another brown nation, Iraq. African Americans though only 12% of the U.S. population account for 21% of military personnel including 30% of the army. African American soldiers are amongst the first into combat and the least acknowledged. The other 70-80% is made of other hyphenated Americans and from the poor rural areas, many fresh from high school.

And donít preach about patriotism. What this administration does not know is that patriotism is best honored when critical of the government. Besides, the people are the government are they not?

African Americans have fought and died in every major war the U.S. had been involved. For instance:

1770-1783 At least 5,000 African Americans, free and unfree, served in the Continental Army and Navy of the American Revolution, the largest numbers coming from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

1812-1814 Several thousand African Americans helped to defend Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New Orleans in the U.S. British War of 1812-14.

1812-1814 At least 1,000 African Americans, mostly seamen in the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Mexico, participated in the Mexican War.

1851-1865 The services of some 186,000 African American soldiers, spread among some120 regiments, and some 29,000 Black seamen contributed significantly to the Union victory.

1870-1890 Until the 1890s, the soldiers, being some 2,500 African Americans, served. In the West in the 8th and 9th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry.

1898-1890 In the Spanish American War, three all Black units- the 8th Illinois, the 9th U.S. Volunteers and the 23rd Kansas, along with 2,000 Black seamen - represented Black participation.

1914-1918 In World War I, 367,000 African Americans entered military service, the 369th, 370th, 371st Infantry regiments being the most famous for valor.

1941-1945 In World War II, 700,000 African Americans were in the U.S. Army, 165,000 were in the Navy, and 497,000 served overseas.

1964-1974 In Vietnam, African Americans numbered 16,500 in the Army, 3,500 in the Marines, 908 in the Air Force, and 500 in the Navy. (Dr. Russell Adams at http://www.huarchivesnet.howard.edu/adams1.htm)

Although being denied equal rights and treatment in the very nation they fought for and their brethren died.

Today while African American continue to deal with the effects of slavery and segregation and discrimination and police brutality and poverty and drug and gang wars one can only hope that a small piece of the billions of dollars that will be spent for war could go to fight these ills. But once again our strong men and women will persevere and fight and perhaps die for the other part of the hyphen.

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