As one who came of age during the tumultuous 60's and remembering the active resistance we engaged in against the Viet Nam war, the acquiescence to our wars of today is deeply disturbing and unsettling.
But there is one element that is completely different from that time. Today there is no draft of the age group that was the primary source of protest back then. Today there is no such concern. In the 60's and early 70's if you were draft eligible and your lottery number was chosen, your choices were rather limited. You could be drafted into the military and quite probably be shipped off to Viet Nam; you could ask for conscientious objection (but you needed justifiable grounds i.e. religious) or you could flee the country as many did and go up to Canada and seek refuge and sanctuary there. That was pretty much it.
So in fact, there was personal self interest often involved with the many who objected and resisted to that war as there was a good chance you would be sent to Viet Nam and come back in a flag draped casket.
There was a reason the college campuses during that time were inflamed and scenes of daily protests. You felt emboldened, a part of it all as you believed your protest along with others next to you could bring about the end of the war. It obviously didn't end as early as we hoped but it forced one president not to run again and put sufficient pressure on his successor to finally end it in 1973.
Today there are no mass protests on our college campuses against our wars. Our college students have no draft to contend with and therefore no self interest to protest. It is only conscience that makes people protest today, certainly not the fear of having to go to war.
So whether it was a stroke of genius or something diabolical, after the war ended the Congress eliminated the draft and with it the primary source that fed the flames of protest.
So is this a plea to restore the draft, make our military more equitable instead of just letting our poor and rural kids go off to fight our wars? No, the draft will not be restored any time soon. Besides, if there is not enough volunteers to join the military, the Pentagon has (and the Congress has funded) private contractors (mercenaries) to compliment our men and women in uniform to fight our unnecessary wars.
It is saddening however, considering the scenes of our military torturing and humiliating detainees in Abu Ghraib Iraq, the indefinite detention and torture of those swept up in secret renditions worldwide and sent to Guantanamo or other sites or our drone attacks that maim and kill innocents in Pakistan (to name just a few of our more infamous acts of behavior) that elicit hardly a murmur of disagreement from our compliant main stream media or from us the American people go who about our business as if there are no wars i.e."Oh yeah, Afghanistan", so detached and unengaged we remain, certainly not able to verbalize, much less muster the energy to protest against the terrible reality that is being committed by our government in our name.
But maybe there is a pattern here. Wall Street creates the worst financial meltdown and economic calamity since the great depression and our government bails out the perpetrators, while most Americans remain essentially unmoved, except for the ultra right wing tea bag clamor of inanity, ignorance and outright stupidity, grabbing the megaphone.
The general population's passivity and inaction in the face of what is happening all around us is the most disquieting.
It brings to mind the waning days of the Roman Empire where supposedly Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
Our Rome (America) is burning folks. We may not be fiddling, but we are turning our backs to the reality in our midst.
For if we do not act to take our country back we will be the silent partners and enablers to our own undoing.