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Indifference or Anger?

June 9, 2010

As a result of our being linked to by Tom Ricks at Foreign Policy (Thank you, Mr. Ricks!) our traffic skyrocketed, we had comments that were thoughtful (no trolls!)  and this comment/question was left by a new reader.  If we want our (the milspouse) opinions heard by civilians – here’s one who really wants to know.

Since this is a blog by military spouses, I’d be interested to hear your take (and your readers) on a couple of thoughts and questions I’ve been mulling over regarding the general indifference of the American public, highlighted in the story you mention.

Many comparisons have been made between Iraq/Afghanistan and Vietnam.  Some bear out, others are total crap.  At face value, the two conflicts would seem to be different when it comes to American reaction. But…

I wonder if there really is a difference between the two in this situation.  Does the general indifference of the American public concerning Iraq/Afghanistan, only take place because there is no draft, because they don’t have to deal with the results of Iraq/Afghanistan?

If the American population was forced into dealing with Iraq/Afghanistan on a personal level, would their reaction be the same as it was in the 60s and 70s or would it still be indifference?

And I wonder if it is better to come home to indifference or anger?

– mike

Intriguing questions!  I’m going to have to think about them… but have at it, folks.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle permalink
    June 9, 2010 9:08 am

    I think if there was a draft, and if more families were immediately effected, then we’d see a whole lot less indifference and a whole lot more support. I think (I hope) that people have learned their lesson from Vietnam and that our soldiers would be supported. I think a draft now would propel more people into thinking more critically about this war.

    In many ways I think having an all volunteer military as we have now makes it more likely that people could blame the soldiers; and that’s not happening, much. We get the random comments about how “we knew what we were getting into” and we get the people at the airport who won’t give up their seats, but by and large, most people support the soldiers for volunteering to do a job that they don’t want to do. But many still are still indifferent.

  2. June 9, 2010 10:52 am

    That is a really good question. I would like to think if more people were directly involved in the war, more people would step up to support the military in more tangible ways. Right now so many are not directly affected by it all. It is easy to say, “We support you” but I think there would be more action from people if they were more impacted by the war on a daily basis.

  3. Just a Joe permalink
    June 9, 2010 8:16 pm

    “Does the general indifference of the American public concerning Iraq/Afghanistan, only take place because there is no draft, because they don’t have to deal with the results of Iraq/Afghanistan?”

    You bet your butt it does… and quite possibly the Politicians would have never voted to go after Iraq (or at least felt the pressure to get out far quicker) if we had a draft that kicked in after 180 days of sustained war operations.

    I think as we take a good hard look back and the GWOT years (2001~201?) after this is all done we will see the fallacy of trying to maintain a long running, two front war with a volunteer force.

    National benefits require national sacrifice.

    Just my opinion as a serving member of the military… YMMV.

    • Danielle permalink
      December 20, 2010 3:16 pm

      If there was a draft in place I doubt we would still be in Iraq, and I doubt we would have started in Afghanistan…for the second time. If every American family had to be on edge about one of “their own” being deployed, there would be a lot more political pressure to end the war.

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