The Ultimate Burden

Bob Herbert has a sobering Op-Ed in the NYT this morning, The Ultimate Burden. He describes a book of color photos by photographer Peter van Agtmael of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how most Americans have conveniently put these two absurd, obscene conflicts out of their minds.

So, who the Hell in America does fight these wars? Answer: less than 1% of our population of 300 million, and where does that 1% predominantly come from? Certainly not from children of the upper classes, from children of the economically advantaged.

So, where’s the draft? Funny we can’t pass one, isn’t it? I wonder why that is?

Here’s the most popular comment to Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed. It says it all:

I wish we could pass a new Constitutional amendment that said that a Congressional vote authorizing a war or any other overseas military action would immediately trigger a draft of males and females between 18 and 25 and that the first young people drafted would be any 18- to 25-year-old children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews of members of the House and Senate, the Cabinet secretaries, and the president and his/her staff.

Would Bush have been so quick to authorize an invasion of Iraq if he had known that doing so would subject Jenna and Barbara to the draft? Would Hillary Clinton have voted for the Iraq War Resolution if it had meant that Chelsea would be headed for boot camp?

If the rich and powerful are not willing to send their own children into combat, then the war is bogus. Note that most members of Congress had a child or grandchild in the armed forces during World War II.

Thank you, pdxtran from Minneapolis, for that insightful comment.

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