Noam Chomsky hit a new low with his claim that the poor die fighting the wars started by the rich. Wartime casualty rates are available on the Internet in great detail to rebut this nonsense claim.
In the Second World War, First World War and Boar War, the British, Australian and New Zealand Army had minimum fitness standards. Many from poor backgrounds were rejected because of poor health or they were too short.
12% per cent of all men mobilised in Britain between 1914 and 1918 were killed; but nearly a fifth of Oxford graduates who served did not return from the war; the figure for Cambridge was 18 per cent.
UK wartime Prime Minister Herbert Asquith lost a son; future Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law lost two. Anthony Eden lost two brothers, another brother of his was terribly wounded, and an uncle was captured. At the end of World War II, Anthony Eden had to take a week off to grieve because he lost his son in the final days of fighting.
So much for the poor fighting the wars of the rich. Furthermore, taxes on both incomes and inheritances were very high both during and after both world wars.
Australia and New Zealand had volunteer armies in the First World War. The population of New Zealand in 1914 was approximately 1.1 million. Almost 100,000 New Zealanders served overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 Australian men signed up.
By war’s end, over 60,000 Australians were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. This compares with around 700,000 British, 60,000 Canadians and 16,000 New Zealanders killed.
In 1939, the New Zealand labour government went to great lengths to ensure it would declare war on Germany simultaneously with the Mother Country. As in 1914, Australia made no separate declaration of war because it regarded as automatic that it would be at war with the enemies of the Mother Country
Military service was all but indispensable to been elected to public office from much of the 20th century.
Bill Clinton’s and Michael Dukakis’s failure to serve were issues on their presidential campaigns that hurt them among their own voting base. They knew that and had to have very elaborate explanations as to why they didn’t serve.
The lack of a service in the First World War of Australia’s wartime Prime Minister in the Second World War, Sir Robert Menzies, was a constant source of taunting and heckling both in Parliament and at public meetings during that war and for the rest of his life.
The First World War broke out during the 1914 Australian federal election. There was ample opportunity for a popular vote on the wisdom of going to war. The opposition Labour party won that election on the pledge of fighting to the last man and the last shilling.
Being an intellectual, Chomsky forgets the patriotism of the working class and the plain desire to ward off foreign domination and conquest. What is a just war? Murray Rothbard explains:
a just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already-existing domination.
A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them