posted on Jan, 17 2007 @ 02:01 PM
I think the all volunteer army was created in 1973. It was a direct result of the tragedy we called the Vietnam War. I think the Vietnamese call it
the 10,000 Days War of Independence. 1945 to 1975. America became disenchanted with the War not because it was being fought for all the wrong reasons,
I regret to say, but because too many Americans were coming hone in aluminum coffins mostly at Dover AFB. Americans like any war that is short and
that we win. We hate any war that is long or that we lose.
The compulsory draft was employed in the Vietnam War. My memory is that young men, 18 to 29, were subject to the draft. Because we had so many more
men in the pool than the armed forces required, there was a lottery each year, which specified the order of birthdays that would be called up.
The ruination of the Selective Service System was the number of kind of exemptions or deferments offered. Persons in highly skilled jobs were
exempted. Brain surgeons and engineers and other skills or professions deemed more important to the war effort than serving in a muddy rice paddy.
Scholarly college students were exempted on the ground we always need intelligent, educated people more than we need a “grunt.” President Clinton
went to Oxford to avoid the draft. Vice President Dan Quayle went to the Indiana National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. President Bush 43 went to the
Texas then got “transferred” to the Alabama Air National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. Vice President Cheney got 4 college deferments and 1 wife
pregnant deferment to avoid serving his country. The rich, the famous, the well-born, the well-placed did not serve.
Special circumstances were created to exempt others from hard service, such as the National Guard offer of 6 months training, 7 years home duty. With
so many exemptions around, it did not take long to see that mostly rich white boys got exempted out, but poor black boys did not. Or poor whites, too,
but they are much harder to see than black boys. The inequities practiced in the draft got intertwined with the civil rights movement in general. The
American civil rights movement soldiers on the ground were young black people encouraged by a scant few white people.
When the Alabama Highway Patrol turned the dogs loose on the young children, they were 99% black. Deep South Ku Klux Klan murder victims ran 8 or 9
to 1 black compared to white. Vivid memories of young blacks being fire hosed as they tried to march frm Selma to Montgomery is one big reason Senator
Lott got trash-canned for cheering Strom Thurmond who defended this violent Southern reaction to the Earl Warren Federal Courts. Most Federal judges
then were not pro-civil rights. Even fewer are today. Thanks to Ronald Reagan, Bush41 and now, Bush43. If up to that trio there would be NO
pro-civil rights Federal judges. Old memories die hard.
Out of this civil melee came the volunteer armed forces. I never liked it. I don’t like it now. But from 1973 until March 18, 2003, none of our
wars amounted to a hill of beans. Most of the deaths sustained by US armed forces were involved in humanitarian aid efforts. A fair proportion were
caused by friendly fire, mainly in Granada. The Army and Air Force still had separate radio frequencies. Panama and old Yugoslavia did not cause more
than a handful of casualties. The First Gulf War likewise had nearly as many friendly fire losses as Iraqi caused losses. But for the unaimed Scud
missile that hit the barracks in Saudi Arabia, we’d have very few KIAs. But now we are seeing the KIA count rise to levels that Americans do not
want to see. A bit OK if we were winning the war, but not OK if we are losing the war, as we already have in Iraq. Iraq is now engaged in a Civil
War, only we - our president - refuses to call it that. A
s Colin Powell warned Mr Bush, “if you break it, you own it.” Well, we have broke it good! But can we fix it at all? We had 550,000 men and all
the bombers in the world in Vietnam, but we could not control the southern half of the country, despite the strongest effort ever from 1964 to 1974.
59,000 KIA. 1 million of them killed. We lost. Wrong war, wrong cause.
Say hello Baghdad.