November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

My father was a veteran, the base pediatrician for George AFB in the late 1950s. My maternal grandfather was a veteran, cooking for troops in Europe after the WW1 armistice. 

I'm not a veteran, and neither are any of my siblings or my cousins. We came of age in Vietnam and then held our breath through much of the 1980s. Like many of our same-age peers, our distrust of government was coupled with a sense that there were no good wars. We never thought about the consequences of the all-voluntary force except that we would not be cannon fodder as a result.

Except that there are some social consequences of the all-volunteer force in a long war. I know plenty of those in one of the military services or reserves, or a veteran, but my family is not at risk of being sent overseas, at least not without a draft. I don't remember where I heard the following notable fact this week (probably listening to the podcast of the political roundup on the PBS NewsHour), but the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest wars since the 18th century when there hasn't been a draft. As a result, there is no sense of shared burden. Tax cuts are our burden, and we are urged to go spend money this and next month, else the terrorists win.

To our nation's shame, we are in our first credit-card war.

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Posted in History on November 12, 2007 11:08 PM |