Armed Forces: Second Chance

The child of poverty in the U.S. often receives an ironic privilege: exemption from the draft because he is too underschooled, underdoctored or underfed to meet the military requirements of education and physique. One-third of American youth do not measure up to Defense Department standards, and each year the armed forces turn away 600,000 men, half of whom cannot pass the mental tests. Their rejection mirrors the U.S. poverty map: more than 68% fail in Mississippi, only 7.5% in Minnesota or Washington. To Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, besieged by critics of the draft's inequalities, this is one privilege...

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