Dude, where's your research?

In "Fahrenheit 9/11" Michael Moore depicted a U.S. military scheming to send poor blacks off to die in Iraq; a new report from the Center for American Progress tells a different story.

By Mark Follman
Published March 22, 2005 12:40AM (EST)

Remember the scene in "Fahrenheit 9/11" when Michael Moore followed a pair of Marine recruiters to a working-class mall outside Flint, Michigan, where the two riffed on basketball and hip-hop in order to woo several young black men to join the Corps? Moore's implication was that the U.S. military schemed to send a disproportionate number of poor minorities off to fight and die in the war.

Not so, says a new report from the Center for American Progress: "Two years after the invasion of Iraq, the rising American death toll has prompted some commentators to suggest that poor and minority soldiers are bearing the brunt of the war's human cost. An analysis of casualties by the Center for American Progress in Washington suggests otherwise. The majority of the dead are Army and Marine enlisted personnel, white men in their mid-20's, who graduated from high schools in major cities and suburban areas. Moreover, a look at the poverty rates in the high schools many of them attended suggests that these young men and women are from working-class communities that are neither disproportionately poor nor rich."

For a more truthful picture of military service in Iraq -- one that's literally more black and white than Moore's, and isn't black and white at all -- this is the film to see.

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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Iraq War Michael Moore U.s. Military War Room