What have the young veterans of Iraq and Afgahnistan learned from their collective rite of passage? I'm afraid far too many lives have been blighted from the experience. The volunteer army has made us too quick to look for military solutions.If the children of the rich and powerful were called to serve,if everyone was called to serve without exception our recent military misadventures would never have occured.
World War Two was a fight for national survival but more recent wars remain problematic.Korea ended in an armistice ,and the lesson of Viet Nam is that nationalism is stronger than communism.If we had done nothing in Korea, would Korea now be unified and a possible ally against a rising Communist China just as Viet Nam?
If we had done nothing in Korea, I believe China would have an even stronger ally in the united communist peninsula. Japan would have real trouble. Personally, I believe the mistake in Vietnam was not in the fight, but in letting them (communists) win.
Surely someone will disagree, but tell me if Communism would have failed in the late 20th century if the West had not opposed it so strongly and pushed it to collapse.
Call me a cranky old lady, but I see a lack of discipline, responsibility, ability to work within a team for a common effort, and attention to detail in many 18-30 year olds. These are habits and standards that are drilled into them in the military and which they take with them upon discharge.
Why those ephemeral "job creators" aren't clamoring for military vets to fill what few positions are out there in the civilian world is beyond me.
Pardon me for briefly straying from the topic of your blog.
I agree with you. The sad part is that "people" (nameless but ever present) allow that generation to be all those things you describe.
Maybe the "job creators" ARE hiring vets, while those shiftless slackers continue to fill their days with OccupyWallStreet - a noble (HA!) endeavor. Not. Just think how great it will look on young man/woman's resume that they fought again big finance and lived in a park!
The number of organizations that were created specifically to find returning vets gainful employment, and the marketing to employers that they're having to do, indicates that vets are NOT returning to find jobs waiting for them.
I wouldn't be so quick to draw a distinct line between the kids in our military and those protesting the appalling income gap between the very rich and the rest of us; the ones who were told all their lives that a college degree was required to get a decent job, only college educations are horrendously expensive and they graduate with staggering student loans. And no job. Anywhere. But the financial CEOs got obscene bonuses for playing fast and loose with other people's money.
Because they're all in the same boat. They're poor right out of the gate, college degree or military experience, and they're looking at a life of lowered expectations and financial insecurity.
"...the appalling income gap between the very rich and the rest of us; the ones who were told all their lives that a college degree was required to get a decent job, only college educations are horrendously expensive and they graduate with staggering student loans."
What would your opinion be if you had an obscene income? Would you still be the benevolent katieog, or might you be a little protective of the fortune that you had amassed? I have often pondered how a person manages to earn 6 or 7 figure salaries. I wish I had the answer. If they played dirty to reach that position (lie cheat steal from their peers), then I wish them every turn Karma gives them. On the other hand, if an exceptionally bright or perceptive executive rises to the top, good for him/her.
Anyone who believes college is a free pass is a fool. Also, I know plenty of people who possess college degrees but don't know Jack S. I prefer to work with people who actually use their brain, solve problems and innovate rather than just sit on their...degree.
College is horrendously expensive - if you let it be. Don't rack up debt attending a private, out-of-state college. Stay home, attend a local or in-state public university. Work and pay your fees along and along. A friend earned a degree with very little debt, and most of that debt was incurred by studying abroad. Hypocritical? No... her degree is in a foreign language.
BTW - she is working and repaying her loan. She is not working in her field - yet, but she is working.
I would rejoin with this question: How many millions upon millions does it take to build a secure, happy life where you don't want for anything? After a certain point, the heaping on of more IS obscene.
Who said anything about a college degree being a free pass? You know very well that our society has funneled kids onto the college path with the mantra that it's the only way up the income ladder. Sure, tuitions at private, out-of-state universities have always been expensive, but when was the last time you looked at tuition/room & board/fee rates for Georgia students going to Georgia's colleges? Georgia Tech is $18,000 a year...and it's ranked one of the five best "value for your buck" institutes. That's $72,000 for a four-year degree.
According to the College Board, tuition and fees at colleges have risen 130% in 20 years.
I think the American Dream of each generation doing better economically than the previous one stopped with us, Charlie. Kids with high school diplomas don't have much hope of long-term gainful employment as long as employers can pick the college-educated ones who are now vying for the same barrista/bus driver/retail clerk jobs.
Back to the topic of the blog - the draft. Whether two years of military service or public service (with a boot camp atmosphere required for either), I would support a mandatory stint to serve this country. No exemptions. Minimal wages, housing and medical provided, standards for performance established, - but, what do you do with the ones who fail to perform? Kick them out of the program? Probably what they wanted to start with! Put them in jail? At what cost and to what effect? How do you fund it and what do they do? Not a simple solution.
Charlie, if we had never gone into Vietnam there would be very little difference in the world to day; except 50,000 + American men would not have died. Ho Chi Minh approached Woodrow Wilson about Vietnamese independence at the end of WW 1 - and was rebuffed. Subsequently, the Vietnamese people fought for nine years to oust the French. Which they did.
Enter the CIA, under the false assumption of Communist hegemony (a real myth if one ever existed) to install an unelected dictator - no other word for it. Eisenhower and Dulles got us into that quagmire unnecessarily. The Vietnamese people have always disliked and distrusted China. We forced them into the position of allying themselves with China. And China was never a willing ally to the USSR - Mao distrusted them and was constantly on guard on his northern border.
And we didn't let the communists win. The Vietnamese nationalists won. The division of North and South was an artifice created by the West (Europe and the US). And now we have trade relations with the Vietnamese and China holds a large portion of our outstanding debt.
So, exactly why where we in Vietnam? I have many friends who served and I mean absolutely no disrespect to their valiant service in this theater.
I respectfully disagree. Had the West not opposed Communism, it would have consumed the world.
Do you doubt the predatory nature of Communism? Or do you doubt the role of the free Western nations?
BTW - not Wilson. Truman. Roosevelt and Mihn had an understanding. Roosevelt died without informing Truman. Truman sided with the French.
Katieog... I could write a lot in response to what has been shared here, but I will hold it to only two comments.
First, I am not fond of the draft, but if our country was being seriously threatened by mass forces, I would likely support it under those conditions. I say this having had two uncles who served in WWII... one who was drafted and is still alive today. The other who volunteered and was lost in the war, So it's a bit personal for me.
Second: You said "These are habits and standards that are drilled into them in the military and which they take with them upon discharge."
Yes...for some (and I do mean some) the military can be a good place to get what they have needed. However on the overall statement, I beg to differ.... These are habits and standards which should be taught at home. The people of the United States would be wise to begin there.
Ho Chi Minh attempted to approach Woodrow Wilson in Versialles in 1918 to plead for Veitnamese independence and Wilson refused to hear him. Jean Lacouture, Ho Chi Minh, 1968. Not the dumbest of Wilson's decisions since he was responsible for segregating the military and Civil Service.
Per John Foster Dulles, the biggest mistake we (the US) made was to allow the British and French their pre-war colonial position after 1945. Which, considering Dulles' role in Southeast Asia, I take with a grain of salt.
What I deny is an overarching Communist hegemony. There was never a concerted Communist agenda for worldwide domination. Yes, the Soviet Union threatened the welfare and freedom of European countries and we reacted appropriately to prevent that occuring. China never had designs on Vietnam, Mao had his hands full holding his communist rule in place just in China.
I believe Vietnam was an ill-informed, misguided intrusion into an internal situation. We should have known when the French were defeated in 1954 that interference was doomed. Hubris got the best of us.
And yes, we could have won - by destroying both North and South Vietnam.
I stand corrected in fact about Ho Chi Minh and Woodrow Wilson. However, please tell me what sitting US President would agree to meet with a 28 y/o cook/baker to discuss liberation of their small Asian nation from France?
I agree with Dulles’s assessment, but the French and British had their own agendas during the war anyway. I think FDR took the approach of let’s win the war first, then sort out the colonies.
I REALLY have to shake my head at this comment – “What I deny is an overarching Communist hegemony. There was never a concerted Communist agenda for worldwide domination.” Wow! Really… you believe that?
Ever heard of COMINTERN? COMINFORM? Care to discuss Soviet actions/intentions in Eastern Europe? Central Asia? Angola and Central Africa? Greece? Italy? Cuba? South America? Lenin and Stalin both believed and pursued policy that in order for Communism to flourish, capitalism and democracy must be defeated and overthrown worldwide. That was part of the disagreement between Trotsky and Stalin – not whether to foment revolution, but when.
Bck to your comment was about Vietnam. Uncle Ho went over to Communism in the 1920’s and was the chief COMINTERN agent in Asia from the 20’s through WWII.
“China never had designs on Vietnam” Wrong again, I think. Read Uncle Ho’s own words about China circa 1946. BTW – Vietnam was a Chinese province about 1000 years.
The war in Vietnam was completely in line with the Truman Doctrine to contain Communism. Too much politics led to defeat.
Yes, Charlie, I have heard of them all. And as to all of the countries you cite, each had differing sociopolitical circumstances in the 50s and 60s. And what I said was "overarching" agenda.
And Vietnam was in line with a misinformed, misguided application of the Truman Doctrine. We should never have been in Vietnam. We were, we lost, 50,000 + troops died, Vietnam is (suposedly) Communist, and we have normalized trade relations with them, and the dominos have not fallen.
We will just have to disagree on this.
I clearly see an "overarching" agenda of communist hegemony actively pursued by Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist communists. You don't.
I clearly see active Western opposition halting and then forcing the collapse of the worldwide communist plan. You see a misguided application of the Truman Doctrine. Had the West not acted, the dominoes would have fallen. No doubt about it.
War is bad. Life under a worldwide communist hegemony would have been far, far worse.