The dire poverty in the US territories in Pacific is a fertile recruiting ground for the US military, desperate for recruits to send to Iraq. This article
in the NYTimes describes the conditions that make a stint in Iraq look attractive to some young people. This drives home the fact that the "volunteer army" is largely a class phenomenon. The Pentagon really needs conditions of poverty and neglect to fuel its war machine, while most middle class Americans can choose to ignore the reality of war altogether.
Excerpt below the fold
The Army has found fertile ground in the poverty pockets of the Pacific. The per capita income is $8,000 in American Samoa, $12,500 in the Northern Marianas and $21,000 in Guam, all United States territories. In the Marshalls and Micronesia, former trust territories, per capita incomes are about $2,000.
The Army minimum signing bonus is $5,000. Starting pay for a private first class is $17,472. Education benefits can be as much as $70,000.
"You can't beat recruiting here in the Marianas, in Micronesia," said First Sgt. Olympio Magofna, who grew up on Saipan and oversees Pacific recruiting for the Army from his base in Guam. "In the states, they are really hurting," he said. "But over here, I can afford go play golf every other day."