In 1967 during the peak of the Vietnam war, I volunteered for the US Army. At the age of 20, after 2 years of college, my patriotism and “will to win” kicked in. This is a picture of the front bumper of my 1955 Plymouth where I expressed my pre-enlistment attitude…What also helped my decision was the promise of my desired military occupational specialty, which in my case was fulfilled.
General Hershey, the head of the selective service at the time, estimated that out of every man drafted, three or four volunteered because of the threat of the draft. That threat to me back then played little part in signing up. This was a job I wanted.
But tens of thousands my age protested the Vietnam war primarily because of the draft. Many political observers today believe there are no war protests today because there is no draft. In fact Nixon proposed the end of the draft during his election campaign because he saw that as a means of undermining the anti-war movement which indeed it did. The draft was discontinued in 1973.
What can we learn from this? Foreign policy and the kind of wars we fight mean little to 18 through 30 year-olds; most couldn’t care less, at least not enough to protest – unless they are threatened to become personally involved in them such as in “drafted.”
Can you imagine the protests today if we had a draft going on?
I, a guy decades beyond draft age, would be part of them. With my understanding of our rules of engagement and our ignorance of the ideology that motivates the so-called “enemy” and the duplicity of our so-called allies in the nations we are fighting in, I conclude such war is a waste of time and a waste of life.
What bothered me about the Vietnam war was we were not in it to win. Winning was not defined and was not pursued. The same applies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the Islam-dominated Middle East. The governments and their leaders we choose to support are not trust-worthy. They do not share our morality, never mind our interests. They are double dealers who are informed by a different morality based on centuries of immersion in Islamic ideology.
If I was 20 years old today and there was a draft, I would be on the front lines shouting “hell no, I won’t go.” Not because I am not patriotic; not because I don’t like the military – but because we are engaged in countries where we have not defined the enemy, where we have not defined winning, where we fail to accurately understand the ideology that motivates the enemy. My new bumper sticker would be “Fight Islam at home”.
We are fighting wars where we have an agenda that I neither understand nor respect. Is the agenda “national security?” Not from what I can gather since we fail to recognize the enemy is Islam and all that it teaches. This is a problem that has greater impact at home than abroad. Is the agenda oil? It doesn’t have to be. We have plenty at home. Is the agenda feeding “the war machine” that generates tens of thousands of jobs? Possibly. Is the agenda the enrichment of Middle East interests promoted by sympathizers who have infiltrated our government. That is also possible, but I don’t know.
If faced with the draft today I cannot fathom wasting my life on something I do not agree with and don’t understand. And on my list of priorities, volunteering would fall just below having all my teeth extracted and shooting my dog.
This would also make a great bumper sticker…