President Barack Obama should be worshiping at the grave of Richard Nixon. “Why,” you ask?
Remember it was President Nixon, who in 1973 ended the military draft as a reaction to the American youth revolt caused by the unpopularity of the Vietnam War.
The absence of a draft is the only reason why millions of 18 to 25 year olds and their parents are not marching in Washington protesting the war in Afghanistan and to a lesser extent now, the war in Iraq that appears to be winding down.
Can you imagine if today’s draft age men and possibly women were pulled away from their iphones and were shipped to Afghanistan for a year? This would be a very different country.
In fact it would be a redux of the late 60’s and 70’s protest movement, only with a social networking twist. “Hell No, We Won’t Go” would have millions of Facebook fans and be Twittered about.
Instead of the Vietnam era chant: “Hey, Hey LBJ how many kids have you killed today?” It might sound like: “Hey, Hey Barack Obama how many kids must die for Osama?”
But luckily for this president, Afghanistan war protests are virtually nonexistent in the year 2010, the ninth year of a war with no light at the end of the tunnel. Why?
The answer is simply because only one half of one percent of our population is currently serving in our volunteer military and they, along with their long suffering families, are a quiet, motivated group of great patriots and super troopers.
President Lyndon Johnson could only dream of such a force in Vietnam.
However, it is unfortunate that our finest and bravest volunteers are bearing the burden of a war that no one in Washington knows how or when will end and, even worse, no one can tell you what victory would even look like.
Americans generally don’t think about the war in Afghanistan because it is far removed from their everyday lives. It was totally buried in the press until General McChrystal erupted on the pages of Rolling Stone. Such irony, because one can hardly imagine a Vietnam era general giving an interview to Rolling Stone, at that time a mouthpiece of the anti-war counter-culture.
Even more astounding is the latest Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll from June 30 finding 62 percent of Americans supporting the war while geography surveys report that only 17 percent of young adults age 18 – 24 can even find Afghanistan on a map.
I assume that 17 percent figure would change pretty darn fast if the draft lottery resumed and spring break was a trip to Kabul instead of Cancun. Maybe then young adults would hold their elected officials more accountable and become more engaged in the geopolitical world they will inherit.
For I’ll wager that back in the 60’s all 18 to 24 year olds knew where Vietnam was on a map.
Myra Adams is a media producer, writer and political observer. Her media clients have included national associations, political interest groups and corporations. She was on the creative team with Mark McKinnon that created the now infamous John Kerry “Windsurfing” ad for the Bush 2004 presidential campaign and served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign. Myra’s web site TheJesusStore.com contributes all profits to Christian charity.