What information should a person have about a war before volunteering or accepting a draft?
During the Vietnam War, countrary to the belief that people just "dodged the draft", young people started studying about the country, the conflict, and the ethics of when to participate in war. "Teach-Ins" which presented both sides of the debate were conducted. (The term was coined to match the spirit of "sit-ins" for the Civil Rights Movement.) Some even saw the need to study the language since language and culture are so connected. Before one enlists or accepts being drafted for ANY war, what are some BASIC, fundamental pieces of knowledge a person needs before participating.
There were some famous individuals who stood up to government and went to jail for their beliefs. Mohammad Ali the championship boxer for one! " War is a scam" was a quote by a famous general " Smedly Butler" who was recruited by a group of American Nazi party leaders during world war two in order to take over the United States government. He went along with them just long enough to expose them to congress and supposedly stop the coup. However there was a covert operation called "operation paperclip" that brought thousands of nazi's and their technical know how to America.Rocket expert Eric Von Brawn was one such individual along with his colleges.There is more to the story but, if your interested I'm sure that you can research it for yourself.
In my opinion, people should be as well informed as they can. A mitigating factor might be that the intelligence that they might be using to make up their minds is skewed. Each individual has his/her own reason for fighting a war and one of those reasons might be they were drafted. Another reason is for love of country and patriotism, to do what they feel is right, or to fight to keep future generations free.
They should know all they personally need to know to make a decision. Is Mom ailing (he may never see her again, how many children is the wife leaving behind and will her husband be able to care for them?). Will his wife be able to make ends meet and raise a growing family on the money a soldier makes?
There are a lot of factors that go into making a decision, but they are personal and we cannot judge soldiers for making the decision that THEY and their families alone need to make. I praise them for making the decision to keep me free.
I grew up in the Vietnam war era. I was eligible for the draft and was assigned a low draft number. This meant I would almost certainly be drafted. As a working class young man I did not have the options presented to more affluent families. I could not go to college and get a deferment for college. Going to Canada to escape the draft was not an option - I could barely afford to get myself to work each day. I had three options: first, I could voluntarily enlist in a branch of the service and have some control over my fate; second, I could simply allow myself to be drafted and accept what the military gave me; or third, I could simply refuse to go. I did not have a religious objection to the war, killing, or the draft so the third option was not viable. The first option required a four-year commitment to military service while the second option was a two-year active duty stint. I chose to accept the draft. I was aware of all the social and political turmoil surrounding the war. I had some idea of the purpose of the war as stated by the government, and I was aware of the treatment some returning soldiers were encountering. In the end, my decision was based on the time commitment alone.
I received "the letter" and prepared to go to a nearby city for physical evaluation. I told my family and friends I was probably going away for a couple of years. I was ready for the draft. It turned out I failed the physical and was given a 4F - not suitable for military duty. I had mixed emotions. I was happy I was not going to a dangerous place but I was also disappointed I would miss the experience military duty would give me.
In response to the question posed here I say volunteering is dependent on individual patriotism and understanding of the purpose of the war. Opposing or refusing a draft must be a personal decision concerning the activities of war and the stated purpose of the conflict.
We should all pay attention to citizen journalists who work in regions torn by war. You won't get anywhere near full coverage on standard media. If young people want to get a preview of what war is about, they should get a job in a factory farm slaughter house. They should also be aware of hazards like white phosphorous, depleted uranium and land mines. Talk to vets who have been there and are now back home, many with PTSD and suicidal thoughts.
Make sure they are not acting out of conditioning from the media or a sense of altrurism. Because when they come back home, if they come back home, nobody cares about them. They have wasted their time and their life for others who partied, made money and had a good life.
If you're "drafted" you don't have much of a choice other than to follow the law and go, or break the law and hide.
A large percentage of folks don't join the military to fight any specific war. Oftentimes it comes down to lack of other career opportunities in their area. Statistically most are from lower and low middle class income families. Well to do kids don't usually race off to boot camp.
This is not to say that there aren't people who grew up always wanting to be in the military or have a family tradition of joining up.
I'm just acknowledging not many people are turning down high income job offers or 4 year scholarships to universities in order to join the military. Some people joined for the advertised GI benefits.
"Be all you can be." - U.S. Army
Navy. It’s Not Just A Job, It’s An Adventure”. - U.S. Navy
"The Few. The Proud. The Marines
“Aim High” - U.S. Air Force
There were many draft dodgers during the Vietnam war, because Americans were at a state of maturity. The fight for freedom cliche did not resonate with the oppressed. The Vets who made it back state side were never the same, Many were drug addicts, many were crazy, and many more were jobless. I asked some Vietnam vets why they were there, and none of them could answer that question. But the reason is obvious when you look at the resources in a host country. In Vietnam, rubber and opium were the main resources. In the Middle East it is Oil and shipping lanes.
Americans are mature enough to understand the truth. If China got a hold of the worlds resources, America and the dollar bill would plunge into nothingness. It is a cruel world, and America has to continue to kick ass in order for us to have the spending power that we enjoy.
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