Fit Philosophy

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Location: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Half Century

Noting the effusive praise for the military filling the ether this Memorial Day, I reminded of the difference it made 50 years ago that general conscription for the war in Vietnam had just begun in 1963. The chance that any male out of high school might be drafted to go "kill the Viet Cong," as Bruce Springsteen put it, made a dramatic difference to sentiment about military service. Then a majority, especially of those in college, opposed both the war and the government waging it. Some would even die protesting, as at Kent State. Now enlistment is mainly for those too poor to have many other prospects and most of the rest of Americans are only too glad to gush over their "sacrifice" and heroism. I myself am more sanguine about the role of the military in American life than I was then, and I don't feel hostile toward any of the thousands in uniform. But I am critical of the hypocrisy I hear now from those voicing their praise for the sacrifice that only others have to make...