The number of black enlistees in the US military has dropped by 58% since 2000, Defense Department statistics show—a decline dramatically sharper than any other demographic group. In the same period, white applicants are down 10% and Hispanics 7%. The Boston Globe cites lack of support for the Iraq war and general mistrust of the Bush administration as the most immediate causes for the downturn.
Bush's approval rating is hovering at at 9% among black voters, and in a recent poll 83% said they thought the Iraq war is a mistake. Others cite a growing perception since the Vietnam War that black soldiers are steered to the most dangerous combat jobs. Of the services, the Army has been the hardest hit, the Globe notes: 42,000 black men and women applied to enlist in 2000, and just 17,000 in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available.