Afghan War…The Difference Between Draft & Volunteer
AP Photo - U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan Christie, of Washington, Ind. with 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 5th Marines, left, counters fire along with fellow Marines against Taliban positions, in Nawa district, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. The fight, which began when Taliban fighters opened up with assault rifles and machine guns on a Marine patrol over open ground, lasted around 2 hours, and ended with no casualties among the Marines and an unknown number of Taliban wounded or killed.
No LIFE Magazine shots of the dead.
No press coverage of the metal, flag strewn coffins coming home on Hercules aircraft.
No Hippies or University students camping out on the Washington Mall.
No draft cards being burned by healthy, young 18 year old boys refusing to go to war.
Yes, there are allot of things missing from the war being fought in Afghanistan, that were very evident during the Vietnam war, except for the dead boys coming home in coffins we no longer see.
Yes, eight more brave American soldiers gave their lives in the four day long Battle of Wanat, an Afghan village outpost near the Pakistani border that has been nicknamed “Al Qaeda Haven”.
One of many deadly battles being fought by American and Coalition forces in this eight year-long war the Pentagon has dubbed “The Long War”.
One wonders just how long this “Long War” is going to be; yet, from where I’m sitting, in Canada, this war could have been a heck of a lot shorter but not for the scenic detour former President Bush took through Iraq, thousands of miles away from the 9/11 bad guys, with an insurgent war still raging in that country now, only to return to where it all began, years later and needless body bags filled.
Yes, the U.S. Military is now fortified with volunteers instead of draftees – the vision Nixon had wished for the American forces all along – but one wonders how many dead young men and women have to return home, for the volunteers to run out and the need for a conscripted military to begin once again.
Maybe that’s why we don’t see protestors and placards and Mothers and Widows walking Pennsylvania Avenue anymore because our young people decided of their own free will to give the ultimate sacrifice, to protect “Us” from “Them”.
All I know is that the numbers of dead soldiers keep trickling in, Canadians and American soldiers, like water from a cracked dam, and enough over time can become a torrent and the dam, which is our tolerance for this war and these bad guys, might just break under the pressure, conscription or not.
For dead is dead my friends, whether that young soldier held a draft card or a volunteer application, and we are fighting an enemy on foreign soil that we as their foe do not know.
And each day, no matter the tactical plan, these men and women walk the narrow paths up these winding mountains and are being picked off like ducks floating in a strange pond by an unseen hunter who has walked this terrain all his life.
Yes, these eight men, their bodies will not be seen in coffins being up loaded onto Hercules aircraft, and we won’t see their youthful faces like some macabre roll call in the next issue of LIFE, but they’re dead nonetheless, and this war, “The Long War” grows longer with each day.
Does anyone know how to pitch a tent at the Lincoln Monument anymore?