Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Influential Generation, So Far Silent

The most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been going on now for almost a decade, unabated. They will probably go on for several more years. These wars surely will have profound effects on the countries where they are fought and the people who live there. They will have profound effects on the American military, in both it's formal and informal culture. I think most people realize that.

Maybe what most Americans don't realize are the effects that these wars will have on American civilian culture. Many of our young men and women in military service, have been fighting these wars, in foreign countries. Many of them for several years, in cumulative time. This is the kind of military service that hasn't been required in this country since the 1920s and 30s. Eventually, these wars will end. The veterans, as has happened in all previous wars, will be pushed out of military service and return to America. There are a lot of them and they have experienced life as few of their countrymen and women have. They are going to have different perspectives on a lot of things than the rest of the country.

They are going to be people worth knowing, worth listening to. They are going to be people who feel they have earned a right to participate in the national dialogue. If you believe that they are going to line up in any kind of liberal vs conservative or religious vs secular manner, I think you are mistaken.

I have no idea what they are going to be like or how their voices will shape the future of America but I think we will be hearing from them in the decades to come. I'm interested to see what they do. I'm interested to hear what they have to say.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am too. Not sure I'm optimistic, but sure they will be known. It's ust that they are so few in relation to the masses.
Even in my day,the percentages of serving folk was much higher.,,,{cusp of end of draft.}
Hopeful is the word, I guess. May these heroes help shape our future.

beebsblog said...

The veterans will be flushed like used toilet tissue.

Politicians pay lip service, eh?

Steve Harkonnen said...

For one, they'll maybe tell the truth...that America, a long time ago, lost her vision in Afghanistan. Our main objectives were met in Iraq by turning it into a Democratic nation.

Afghanistan, however, is a different tale. We lost vision there because we started attacking the Taliban. Although they did at one time have something to do with al-Qaida, we went after them instead and decided to leave al-Qaida alone.

And now, because of this, it's why we see al-Qaida still in power, bin Laden still alive.'

It's good for our government to have an enemy that wants to kill us all.

It instills fear in the population. And fear is a government's best friend.

Contrary said...

After Vietnam we, as a nation, stopped fighting "wars" and started nation building and attempting to win hearts and minds. It isn't working.