When I was a kid, Vietnam was our next-door neighbor.
Nearly every night my mother would listen to WQXR, "the radio station of 'The New York Times,'" to hear how her stocks had done. Along with that litany of statistics came the numbers of Viet Cong killed. The number of South Vietnamese killed. And, last, the number of Americans killed.
I was with my baseball coach at summer camp (I was 11) when he got a letter that his best friend had been killed in action. Six years later, a guy on my team, Andre, came home heroined and drugged. Six years after that, I saw him homeless and strung out, crazy on a New York City subway platform.
Taking a page out of Bertoldt Brecht, the government televised the draft lottery. They'd put all the birthdays into a drum, spin it and pick them one by one. The lower your number, the greater your chance of going to war.
I remember the year my brother got number 91. I still remember this 38 years later.
Then, America, under pressure from liberals ended the draft. Since the mid-70s, we've had an "all-volunteer" army.
This has had an unintended effect.
Wars are now hidden from us.
Our children, our neighbors, ourselves no longer have to go. They no longer get killed.
Wars which are distant geographically are also now distant psychographically.
So when a bunch of chicken hawks call for troops to go fight in some distant land, those of us in upper-middle-class America might hate it, but we don't feel it.
We never see the carnage or the coffins.
The all-volunteer army became a hidden army. An army primarily of the underclass fighting to protect primarily the upper class.
We need to make war--the culmination of evil--egalitarian again.
If we're so eager to fight wars, we should have to put skin in the game.
We shouldn't send someone else's kid to die if we're not willing to send our own kids to die.
Watch this link from 2:18 to 2:59. You'll get my drift.