During the Vietnam conflict the American people had personal reasons to care about their country being at war. Now, if Americans don't have their own blood or money in the game, they couldn't care less.
During the Vietnam War emotions were high. Kids were being pulled into a draft right out of high school and sent off to fight and die in war most of them didn't believe in. In addition, we had the most crucial stages of the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement, and the labor movement. This powerful combination sparked a revolutionary time in American history that brought about great change for the betterment of this nation. At the same time it paved the way for "generation X" & the "me" generation - my generation.
Instead of choosing one of the many different capacities of serving one's country, most pursue routes that will ultimately benefit themselves.
Now, America's burdens are beard by only a handful of volunteers and their families.
How does a country fight two wars simultaneously without a military draft and tax cuts for those in the highest income brackets? How can a country turn a blind eye while the blood of their service members continues to flow and our lawmakers dump $12 billion dollars per month into the Iraq conflict? The answer is simple: Our country is not at war, our troops are, their families are, and the Iraqi people are.
Just like President Bush will leave this war and recession behind for the next administration, we are standing idle, and setting a course for our kids and grandkids to pick up the tab - so be sure to spend that stimulus check wisely.
I look out my front window and see a plethora of American flags decking out the entire block of my neighbors' homes - a true patriotism contest. Yet, if they didn't know me, they probably wouldn't know anyone who served in Iraq.
I see peace vigils countered by "victory" demonstrations populated by young males who lack the courage to put their own bodies where their rhetoric is. They stand on street corners like cowards chanting ... Victory, Victory, Victory - all while they stay completely out of harms way.
However, if these same young men were required (by a military draft) to fight the war they so strongly support, they would be on the other side of the street burning their draft cards chanting ... Bring the troops home, Bring the troops home, Bring the troops home. (That is the difference between my generation and the baby boom generation).
And while these same cowards will accept nothing less than victory, I wonder - What is victory in Iraq? Will we sail a battle ship into the Gulf and sign a treaty with Muqtada al-Sadr? Not likely.
Is Iran now our biggest threat? If so, why did we prepare them a bride (Iraq)?
If anyone has the answers, by all means, let me know - because I'm drawing a total blank.
For the record, I'm not advocating for a draft. Primarily because I wouldn't want these clueless, cowardly, street corner mouthpieces sharing a foxhole with our patriotic men and women who exemplify the best of all that is American. (The "victory" cheerleaders who refuse to serve exemplify all that is un-American).
Plus, my concern is that the "Dick Cheneys" of the world would always find an out, while the poor kids of small towns & urban ghettos would be the ones selected to have their blood spilled for rich elitists who feel entitled to live lavishly and protected during a time of war & recession - a true national disgrace.
At the same time, I fully acknowledge there are veterans groups out there who wholeheartedly agree with our mission in Iraq. Most of them have served in the "war on terror." I may disagree with them, but I respect them for their service. They fought the war they believe in.
My gripe is with this despicable element in American society who thump their chests, wave the flag, support the war, but just stay home - all under their perverted perception that they are doing their part by fighting the cultural war here at home -- oh how convenient for them.
I understand that Americans hate losing wars. I'm not relishing in the fact that Iraq has been a total disaster. Actually, it saddens me a great deal, but I can't ignore the obvious. Therefore, my perception of supporting the troops is not keeping them in Iraq indefinitely to achieve an undefined victory. The tragic fact is that we can not accurately define victory. We are just hoping the bad doesn't get worse.
But if you feel that you know what victory is and you advocate for the troops to be kept in harms way -- go join them.
My final message to all the young, able-bodied, male cheerleaders advocating for victory in Iraq with no intention of ever wearing the uniform is this: SUPPORT THE TROOPS - DRAFT YOURSELF.