Volunteer soldiers, Vietnam vets differ

The Vietnam War changed the culture of a nation and gave it a vocabulary with special words and phrases: peacenik, tie-dye, Woodstock and draft dodger.But that hasn’t happened in the war in Iraq.

Is it because there is no draft?

The cultural advancements made in the 1960s were outstanding.

The decade was marked by the civil rights movement, led by the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. Among others, King, led protests and demonstrations on behalf of civil rights.

Perhaps the widespread protests that developed over Vietnam were just an extension of that cultural movement by people who, by then, were veteran activists.

Although the U.S. had maintained a peacetime military draft for decades, it grew to be widely unpopular during the Vietnam War. But Iraq is being fought by volunteers, not draftees.

With so many men in the service, the Vietnam War affected a much wider range of people than Iraq has. People at home were more likely to know somebody in the service and that made the war in Vietnam hit closer to home than the one in Iraq.

There won’t be as many people protesting if only a relatively few people are personally affected.

And Americans do not feel the war economically. There is no wartime economy where resources are diverted for military goods through restrictions or rationing.

So what would compel people to protest at the levels of Vietnam?

We may never know until the war touches more people and their families. And that’s unlikely to happen with an all-volunteer military.

Nathan Bass is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Tomball.