Does it bother anyone that the United States military is currently dropping bombs on six countries…that we know of?
Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and our “ally” Pakistan have all been on the receiving end of drone attacks. That doesn’t count the untold number countries where the US is conducting covert operations with CIA and Special Forces personnel. The US has invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest fall under the heading of “those that harbor terrorists”. For the record, Congress has not declared war on any of these countries.
Times have certainly changed since the days of the Vietnam War. Those old enough will certainly remember the outcry when the country learned that President’s Johnson and Nixon had secretly ordered US troops to track the enemy into Cambodia and Laos. Violent protests and riots in the streets filled the evening news.
Today, not so much. Yes, there are anti-war groups expressing outrage at the current expansion of military operations; but most of the country is ambivalent. Most Americans could not find any of the previously noted countries on a map. But young men and women are dying there just as they did in Vietnam.
So what’s the difference? Why was the war in Vietnam such a visceral scar on the nation’s psyche while today’s bombing runs in six countries raise barely an eyebrow?
The answer is simple…the draft. Does anyone think that the military operations being conducted throughout the Middle East would be viewed with such apathy if every man and women over the age of eighteen faced the very real prospect of fighting in those wars? Seriously! Can you imagine the hue and cry if Americans, already struggling with a terrible economy, were asked to send their children off to war?
Only 1% of Americans are actually invested in these wars…the soldiers who are fighting them and the loved ones who pray for their safe return. The rest of us hardly notice. To most of us wars are like video games to be turned on and off at our whim; and this unrealistic, liaise fare attitude is further corrupting our already self absorbed society.
We need to reinstitute the draft for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is to make this country appreciate the very real cost of war.