'support our troops ....'

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Thu Mar 27 12:21:35 MST 2003

Hi Anthony,

This is NOT the important difference. Volunteering for military service
doesn't mean volunteering for war. As I've noted before, I taught high
school in NYC for a decade. During that time, many, many students -- ALL of
whom were Black and Latino -- expressed their desire to enter military
service. Many did. Why? Was it to fight in a war? No way. It was to end up
with a good job, training and travel opportunities. That is the main way
that recruitment was pitched to these young people. And, once Bush declared
war, these volunteers were not 'volunteers' any more. You can't just resign
or quit the military in wartime. You will be court-martialed. Opposition to
the war (not to mention organized opposition) seems to be fairly widespread
in the military, although perhaps not as widespread as it was in the
military after a decade of anti-war movement during the Vietnam aggression.
Of course, anti-militarist forces, like the SWP at the time, are less
likely to be brought into the military where there is no draft. Here's
where being a 'volunteer' comes into play: you may feel you have less
grounds for complaint if you are sent to war, after volunteering for duty.
I think a lot of kids (not all, true) are going to think twice about
joining up in the wake of Iraq. Therefore, I also think that sooner or
later, Washington is going to have to re-institute a draft, if Bush is
going to wage his "endless war."


>We should keep in mind an important difference between
>this war, and the Viet Nam war. The current US army is
>a 'professional army' - soldiers are 'volunteers', not
>draftees. The army in Viet Nam as a conscript army,
>who were largely there against their will.

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