I am am part of what you are calling the Iraq generation. I can still recall the first time this country invaded Iraq. It would seem every time someone listens to a bush someone spends 40 years in the desert.
I take offensive at being labeled as the Iraq generation. The people who are running this war should be called the Iraq generation, or perhaps the war generation. My generation has had nothing to do with this war except to be the generation dying in it. The United States is the only country in the world to be lead by cold war era leaders. Russia has had two major shifts in leadership since the cold war, starting with Gorbachev and then Putin. Europe has had countless changes in leadership since the cold war era. Europe is now a united Europe. The Europeans have set aside their differences to such an extent they even use the same currency. The former eastern bloc country's are becoming part of the EU and are starting to develop socially and economically. China is capitalism in drag and Charmain Mao Zedong is dead. Even the last holdout, Fidel Castro of Cuba has handed over power. The people who are running these current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the same exact gray haired senile old men who plunged this country into debt to fund huge war projects during the cold war, who murdered 144,455 Americans in the Vietnam and Korean wars and the same people who nearly exterminated the entire planet in the 1980 playing "games" with nuclear warheads. What has our generation ever done to be labeled the Iraq generation?
The people of my generation have become ignorant of the true horror of war. During Vietnam every day there were pictures and videos of young dead and dying Americans on TV and pictures of the flag draped coffins arriving by the shipload. Now reporters are embedded with the military and are prohibited from showing anything that might be hazardous or damaging to the war effort. The footage is edited and if it sneaks out the reporters are arrested. It is now prohibited to take pictures of the flag draped coffins of dead Americans. Information is so controlled that after the Abu Ghraib scandal service men and women are prohibited from carrying cameras.
War to my generation is simply a distant problem, something clean, something other people have to deal with. War is only to be supported and never questioned. War is peace. My favorite media coverage is the little black and white pictures taken from a bomb dropping airplane showing some factory exploding. The idea is to show how accurate the bombs can be, what is never mentioned are the people who just died, right there in the little black and white picture on TV. Who were the people who just died? Why did they die? What reason did we just kill them? What did they do to me, or the pilot who dropped the bomb, or he officer who told the pilot to drop that bomb?
Not only is the horror of war from the U.S. prospective hidden from my generation so is the horror from the victims prospective. Why don't we see dead and dying Iraqis on TV? Why are we an occupying force in Iraq? Invading and occupying a country for not having anything to do with any known terrorism against the U.S. seems a bit extreme. If my generation is to be defined as the Iraq generation then we need to have something to do with a war beyond just dying in it.
I will leave you with this quote.
"Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their Differences without cutting Throats; for, in my opinion, there was never a good War, or a bad Peace." Benjamin Franklin
In 1967 I began work as an agricultural volunteer with a non-governmental social service organization in Viet Nam. It was a time when the US government was waging a war imposed on the people of Viet Nam by US ideologues seeking their own political interests, a war that sucked in or forced young men and women from all sides into the war machine, a war that killed or maimed many thousands of innocent people in addition to combatants, and scarred the lives of the individuals and families who survived. Then too parents and family members wanted their children and loved ones to come home safely, and therefore "supported the troops". Has there ever been a parent, anywhere in the world, who didn't want his or her child to return safely, regardless of the situation the political leaders had put them in?
The US did not achieve a military victory in Viet Nam; the desire for an independent country prevailed. Yet today there are healthy diplomatic relations between the two countries, US business offices in Viet Nam, students studying in each other's home country, and significant growing trade between the two countries. US products are advertised and sold in Viet Nam, and Vietnamese products are now widely available in the US. Catchy advertisements promote products during commercial breaks on Vietnamese TV much the same as in the US and many other countries, commercial construction is expanding, and tourism is popular and growing. I?ve visited Viet Nam several times in recent years, and have been encouraged by both the economic improvements and the positive outlook among most people, - improvements and attitudes that are possible only when there is peace.
I continue to think of all the lives lost or damaged, on all sides, in a war that didn't have to happen. And I think about what could have been different if the politicians favoring war had not got their way. Certainly, not having had to overcome the emotional and physical scars on life and land, as well as the death and financial waste, would have enabled all involved to be better off both emotionally and economically today. And the positive things mentioned above could have developed much sooner.
Today our country is again waging war in others? home lands, again caused by one's political leaders who have chosen violence to achieve their wishes, while criticizing those who see other solutions; - chosen again to send others' children and loved ones to war using untruths and bait-and-switch rationalizations; - chosen again to release the beast in all.
These actions, and the devaluing of life, particularly of the innocent civilians whose deaths are not officially counted but simply brushed away behind the ugly term "collateral damage", show that these leaders, and perhaps we as a nation, have learned little from past mistakes.
As our federal government begins a sixth year of violence and occupation in Iraq, and longer in Afghanistan, may we find a better way. May we work to take away the occasion for war. May we see clearly that war and empire are not the answers. May we redirect the resources devoted to war to positive life-enhancing uses to benefit communities and families in Oregon and everywhere.
May we see that our cooperative efforts are more successful than the sum of individual efforts. May we realize that crimes against humanity are the concern of all, affect all, and can only be effectively resolved through the cooperation of all. And rather than criticize the weaknesses and failures of an organization like the United Nations that provides the opportunity for countries to come together to work on issues of common concern, may we realize its true potential and thus strive to both improve and strengthen its ability to benefit all. May we do this, not only for ourselves, but especially for children and grandchildren everywhere.
My kids are 8 and 10. They were 3 and 5 when the Iraq war started. They don't remember 9/11. They won't remember a time when we weren't at war.
I'd hoped to give them a better view of American political life than the one I had--my first political memory was watching Nixon resign on TV, and watching my parents' anger that I didn't understand. Unfortunately, my kids haven't had a much better ride. Bush is the only president they've ever known.
I'm not sure if you know, but today many "millenial generation" high school students are planning a walk out from school to go demonstrate against the war downtown. My son is one of them. I was just saying to him earlier this week that I remember being pregnant with him when I heard the news that we bombed Iraq, the first time around (desert storm). An issue that we have dealt with, and other families with kids his age, is when the kids were old enough to start perceiving what was going on, and the anxiety and hopelessness they feel about the state of the world. It's really hard to convince and 11 or 12 year old that despite our country being involved in something so horrible, it's still OK to allow yourself to plan a future and recognize the good in the world, instead of just feeling guilty and sad about something beyond your control. I had to tell him that there has been a war in everyone's lifetime since the beginning of civilization, and that it's more or less a part of human existence. That's sad to tell your child.
Also, it brought up a thought about when I was a small child during the Vietnam war. As far as I knew, the war was a PLACE, and the adults would turn on the TV every evening to see what was happening at that place. I viewed it as the permanent situation at wherever that place was, and no one explained anything about it to me. What's even scarier is that I completed a college education, and at no point in my entire education was the Vietnam war ever discussed.
I wholeheartedly agree. During my entire education, high school, or college I had only one "maverick" college professor who discussed war. This might be because the professor was a marine at one time. My degree is in political science and It would seem there should have been more discussion about war but there never was. Why is this? Why can't the education system even discuss war? Has any one had any experience of formal education about war in school?
I grew up in the 90s hearing my parents' stories about protesting the war in Vietnam and taking other social action. This sort of social engagement, and particularly the horrors of war, seemed so far away to me. I remember thinking, "I'm so lucky to be living now! I'll never have to face a war like that or the political turmoil of the late '60s!" I look back now and have to laugh at my naivite - and I feel so sad that things have come to this again.
As long as text messaging & myspace surveys march on, the war means very little to the youth of today.
However, if those types of things are taken away, there will be blood in the streets. Just like the Ramones said, "I wanna be sedated..."
If the real cost of the War against Iraq is three trillion dollars then Bush/Cheney have spent one hundred and thirty thousand four hundred thirty four dollars and eighty cents on each one of the original twenty three million Iraqi citizens.
($3,000,000,000,000.00 divided by 23,000,000 = $130,434.80)
In doing so Bush/Cheney and their conservative base have financially raped Americas children for generations in order to pay the taxes needed to pay off the bills Bush/Cheney Left Behind.
The kids ought to be outraged, I sure am.
The war has made me apathetic to politics. I hear the Republicans using fear tactic talking points trying to rally support for the war while the Democrats talk about ending the war to gain political power (even though almost all of them voted to authorize the war).
All I know is the solution to the war issue does not lie in voting for either of the two mainstream parties...
I'm curious about the effect of popular culture on these guests. I grew up in the aftermath of the Vietnam war and pretty much it was very easy to be cynical and pessimistic about war in general. I am wondering if "the greatest generation" Saving Private Ryan" "Band of Brothers" the idea of Gulf War I defeating the "vietnam syndrome" had an effect and what that effect is on young people.
As a college student for the entire time that the war has been going on and living in this country as it enters into economic hard times, it is hard to comprehend how any one can not be concious of the issues that this war are bringing on to the "millinium" generation. As the cost of the war increases with no bounds, at home employment goes down, federal social programs are hendered and the national debt is constantly expanding. The results of this will be that the current generation will be paying for the indiscriminantspending of tose in power now. This will be the largest issue facing my generation.
As an observer it has made me into a very sinical person at a rather young age. It appears that the war and the hardships it has brought are little more than a vindetta brought by the neoconservative movement who were miffed at a government that they have had issues with since the 1980's.
I have to confess, I am very much anti-war, and anti this war, however I have lost the fervor I felt before. This will sound terrible, but it is the way I feel, I mourn the loss of the innocent life, but I have come to truly dislike our military. I have little sympathy for the soldiers, they made the decision to join the army, it if wasn't for them, there would be no war, so I also hold them accountable. Except for the innocent people that may be harmed, I almost don't care if the war ends anymore. I feel that perhaps the continuation of the war is the only way to show supporters how wrong they are, when they see how much blood is on their hands.
Hold a war and no one shows up, its not much of a war. I applaud your courage to state such an unpopular (yet true) opinion. However its important to remember that the war's effects extend well beyond just the troops, your directly paying for this war by way of tax dollars, I think bridges might be a better expense.
I realize it is all our money that pays for the Iraq war, but I certainly don't feel that is the primary motivation for most peoples anti-this-war stance, it seems like an afterthought. Tax money pays for many things I don't like.
I guess what really bothers me is that the "troops" are made out to be heroes and this is clearly not objective. It is impossible to say anything negative in public about them without being labeled anti-American. The yellow ribbon toters are generally the same conservative group that has no empathy for anyone suffering in this country, is anti-choice, evangelical (bigoted) and then without irony they are asking the public to aggrandize and worship the "troops" - an outsourced killing machine involved in an egregious war based on a lie. Then again this country also thinks athletes are role models - so what else can we expect.
you would blame an ignorant and frighted 18 year old for his sad attempt at patiotism? they get them at 17, too. what did YOU know at 17? not the taste of alcohol, the noble feeling of voting, the exitement of sex...
that's the face of todays Soldiers. Children. i see them come in to my unit everyday. they are CHILDREN who are dying in the sandbox.
Do not make these Children your enemy. put blame where it belongs...
on Bush and all the others...
Soldiers, for the most part, are mearly pitiful victims in this money scheme
Sorry. But. We hold people accountible for their decisions in this country at YES 17 and 18 for everything else, so why not this? If a 17 year-old rapes someone we would certainly be holding them accountible and placing blame. You can't have it both ways. Age isn't an excuse for ignorance.
for those ignorant enough to join, serving is punnishment enough. we dont need people like you going around compairing us to rapists.
and besides that, an enlistment in the reserve involves an 8 year contract. so there are a lot of soldiers who joined before the start of the war, or when it wasnt as unpopular. beyond that, have you heard of stop loss??
it is ignorant and unfair to place the blame like a blanket over all the soldiers.
what wouldnt i give to stop my 17 year old hand from signing?
a moment of ignorance is worth 8 years of dread.
when will i be deployed? how long? will my spouse still love me when i return home? what if I refuse?
please try to listen and have compassion. I didnt vote for this war. and i certainly dont support it, but there is a heavy price for refusing to go.
NO I won't have compassion for people involved in violence based on a lie, because they are supposedly on my "side." If you ask me to have compassion for them, then you should also ask me to have compassion for the people firing bullets at them from the other side. Neither of which I am willing to do. Ignorance, sympathy, and sentiment are no excuse for bloodshed at any age, in any culture.
If soldiers are against the war, then get out of the military and face the consequences. If numerous soldiers who are allegedly against the war did this, perhaps it would put an end to it.
consequences. that's it. do you know what they would be? have you any idea?
saying you are against the war and going to rallies is not much of a sacrifice and doesnt have hard 'consequences'.
and what about the humanitarian missions? my MEDICAL unit has been to S. america and Gorgia (the country) for treatment of the famished, ill and diseased and not once did they fire a an m-16.
My good friend who is also a medic went to Katrina.
what have you sacrificed for the sake of ending the war?
when it amounts to what i would have to sacrifice, i will listen.
i dont think you can. nevermind being willing.
I would be the first to admit I have sacrificed and done nothing "for the sake of ending the war." I believe I never said I was trying to end it, I just don't support it or the troops involved in it. I said: perhaps the continuation of the war is the only way to show supporters how wrong they are, when they see how much blood is on their hands."
The fact that the military is involved in some humanitarian missions changes nothing. Its like saying Cuba "maybe" has good health-care so I supported Castro. Some good by an organization doesn't cancel out the bad. Some good probably occurred under Saddam, but is that relevant? Apparently Hamas also gets loads of support for their humanitarian activities.
I don't know much about the consequences of desertion. I believe that often desertion results in a less-then-honorable discharge or court martial (which I would assume results in jail time.) I think when the laws were originally written you could be hanged, probably not the case today.
I didn't join the military, nor would I. I don't need to balance this by sacrificing anything to have a legitimate objection to supporting the troops.
I am a 20 year old college student, I don't have family members or close friends who have been in the war. I don't see this as a sad fact, or a reason for me keep out of political involvement or protests. I feel that we are lucky and we are safe. I am always looking for information, trying to find as many different perspectives on a current issue as I can. I do not see myself as apathetic and unaffected, although I am personally unscathed by war.
"although I am personally unscathed by war."
Wait till you see what you will pay in taxes over your lifetime for the Bush/Cheney war against Iraq, you should feel violated.
I was enlisted in the Army for 5 years beginning in Feb 2002, ending in 2007. During my enlistment I was acutely aware of a disconnect between the professional, sterile language we used to discuss war and the violent reality of war itself. It seems as though the military is still reeling from the public disgrace it encountered in Viet man, and in an effort to validate itself, has sterilized its entire business. The Army is more cooperation than fighting machine. We can't use ugly language to talk about the ugly things we're doing in Iraq. This is a professional organization with effective technologies for dealing with all its functions. The Iraq War has not seen the kind of journalism that, in Viet man, connected the public with the brutality of the war. But that doesn't mean it isn't going on. A friend of mine returned from Iraq with a laptop full of photos he has taken with his phone. One day as he was showing me the slide show we came across a picture of a mortar-blown crater. Charred limbs were resting near the craters edge, and local Iraqis were rushing toward the scene. My friend laughed, and told me that those were "enemy combatants had been eliminated", like waste, like a problem with your muffler.
My eight year old son looks at what the US has done over the last five years and asks me questions like
- what is wrong with adults?
- don't they understand that no solution will come from war?
- why do they teach us not to fight, but then turn around and are voilent with others?
- why are adults making such bad choices?
He worries about the children in Iraq. He attends peace marches, and is generally worried about the world we are passing on to the next generation.
I find this sad.
And I find I have few answers.
I'm now 30 but I was in high school when we invaded Kuwait. I had never experienced war firsthand, I learned a lot about Vietnam, but to invade another country after knowing all of our mistakes from that time made me very angry and scared. I remember leaving class to join a student protest. I was optimistic that our voices would be heard. That experience shaped the way I vote and approach politics now. Although I'm much more pessimistic about protesting. But the same fear I felt in high school hit me in March of 2003 when Bush announced we'd be invading Iraq. I never imagined that 5 years later we would still be there.
As part of the "Iraq Generation" in my early 20's, I must agree with most commentary thus far on the show that we as a generation are so removed from the situation.
Though we may or may not be well-informed about it, the "Apathetic Generation" may be a more appropriate term for the bulk of the people in my age group. It seems to be a complete polarization between we who are involved in the Iraq news daily and those who put more weight on television programs like "Lost" and if they look good enough to get laid.
As long as our news coverage is filtered and more emphasis is place on material entertainment, our generation as well as those following it are doomed to continue being apathetic and completely ignorant. The information needs to be essentially shoved down the throats of our generation for us to grasp the severity and devastation of the situation. Our generation needs to be able to relate the war back to their own lives and well-being beyond what the Bush administration's blanket statements regarding to "our freedoms".
Personally, I am disgusted by probably 75% of my generation. There was a time in our history when being involved and well-informed was a right and considered mainstream. Nowadays, it seems that taking a stand... ANY stand, on actually pertinent issues beyond who should win American Idol is considered counter-culture by that 75% who live in ignorance.
I commend people like Aria Joughin and all the others of my generation that actually get involved, stay informed and strive to move towards informing our peers.
I am of the older anti-war generation. It seems like current generation's protests have had limited effect because the draft doesn't exist. This is a clever maneuver by the powers that be knowing what happened during the vietnam War. Our generations anti-draft and anti-war movement was mostly generated by the fact of the draft hanging over their heads. The current generation needs to become more political and more anti-imperialist (we had a distinct understanding of what late capitalism and imperialism was all about). We see a lack of theorizing and political consciousness -- at least not on the depth and scale we had during the Vietnam era.
I have two comments I don't think that this war feels far away, but when your average family has to spend so much time concerned about gas and the next meal it is easier to turn away and not get involved. Also, as a mid 20-s woman, the society we are in makes me scared to have children. Alot of females feel this way, so what happens then no future because of this war so I think even though we are not getting the gruesome images we are feeling the affects of this war.
I am a 22 yr old Sergeant in the Army Reserve. I think that even though we have been in this war for 5 years, the youth of America are sadly ignorant of Iraqi culture or the war in general. Most of my friends now have college degrees, but cannot tell me the difference between Sunni and Kerdish Iraqis. Who or what is to blame for this? I cannot say.
I don't think this war is real to them.
I'm unquestionably concerned about the human cost of war, and the tarnished image of our military in the eyes of would-be recruits as witnessed by Aria at Franklin High. I am also concerned that this war is lining the pockets of the powerful few in the military-industrial complex with money that might have been used for social services, including education for my generation. This war has incurred a national debt that my generation will shoulder as we age into the tax-paying work force.
A recent college graduate,
The parents of the youth of the 1960's were very straight, very much nationalistic and conservative, in light of a general heroicism accompanied with the outcome of WW2. Throughout th 1960's a movement swept the youth which seems to be much more powerful than today, because of the fact that there was a distinct deviation from a mainstream class. People heroically and dangerously protested what was then an extremely conservative america. They promoted peace, rallied, and most importantly "joined for the common good," againt the government. The unfortunate result was a war which was NOT ended by protest but went on for a decade more in spite of the biggest protest america had ever seen.
Here we all are, angry with dissent, or feeling an apathy which we cannot rid.
I would like to point out that this is because we are not distinctly divided like our parent's generation. More importantly, we use the term "war" as if we actually are. We are not at war any longer. This is the OCCUPATION of a territory. We do not see an end in sight. This is exactly why young americans are finding themselves apathetic to the OCCUPATION of Iraq. There is no specific goal under the bush regime's OCCUPATION. We do not see daily news stories of the situation in iraq/afghanistan because we hae nothing to be proud about nor anything to look forward to. Dont feel sad that you dont have any emotion, if the government wanted you to have it, they would give it to you.(irony)
yes, an occupation.
and yes, our youth (including myself) are a product of the society our parents created.
money and clothes and tv and music are the extent of our depth.
it's not up to children to stop this war, only to be killed in it.
it's up to the boomers. and what are they doing?
crippling us with apathy. crippling us with materialism.
WHY ARE YOU NOT REPORTING ON THE WINTER SOLDIER EVENT?
I believe that the current generation isn't that much different than the Viet Nam war generation. But circumstances are vastly different in one respect:
When I was 18 EVERYONE that I knew was Drafted, scared of being drafted, or had a family member or friend that was drafted or scared of being drafted. Many joined the military only to avoid the draft.
The Draft made the Viet Nam war personal to most families. The Draft was responsible for most Americans opposition to the war. If there were a Draft today the active opposition to the war in Iraq would increase a hundredfold.
The Vietnam era draftees also kept the military somewhat honest by exposing the lies about body counts, exposing massacres like Mai Lai, writing letters home telling the truth, etc. Our current professional soldiers have no incentive to risk their job by exposing lies and criminal activities by their superior officers.
And worst of all in my view, they have no incentive to refuse an illegal order to commit a War Crime, like the War of Aggression against Iraq. It's just "go along to get along", and keep their professional job.
As much as I hated the draft and being drafted, the draftees kept the nation and the military somewhat honest, so I would rather have the draft than the current all professional and therefore mercenary military.
Erin Watada is really the only "Army of One" and the only "Army Strong" because he refused to commit that War Crime; Watada is the only real American Hero of the Iraq War era.
I am just now really upset and thinking about getting involved in protesting against the Iraq war. I've come to this decision because we got into the war my second year of college, and now years later, I am going back to get my masters and we are still in Iraq. I never thought we'd be there that long. I guess I was naive and I think that people are very disconnected. I think now people are really asking themselves when enough is enough.
I think what bothers me the most is that we are in essentially the same situation as vietnam. This seems to show that our government either didn't learn from our past mistakes or just chose to ignore them and as our president says: "Stay the course."
my friend once said that "every bomb that is dropped is dropped on our futer" i dont know if she made that up or not, but that is a powerful quote.
Comments are now closed.