Presidential campaigns and the draft

The current Democratic demagoguery on the draft is aimed a group of young people with no personal experience with conscription. They can't put the issue in context, and the revisionist history taught in our schools and referenced in the mainstream media does not meet the need.

So how to educate our college age population? Maybe by putting them in the shoes of their predecessors. Recommend that they go to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial website. Ask them to do a search on any birthdate in the year 1948. What will they typically find?

For illustration, let's search September 11, 1948. There are twenty seven men with that birthdate whose names are engraved on The Wall. None of them ever got to vote in a presidential election! Eighteen of them died before reaching the voting age of 21 and never voted in any election. These men were powerless to change the government policies that sent them to war. Most would have been single, with a high school education at best. Many were from modest economic circumstances and/or minorities. This allowed them to be treated without due respect. Their absence from the community did not have a big impact outside their families and friends. And the Establishment treated them poorly.

The title of Kregg P. J. Jorgenson's book, Acceptable Loss, says it all. We have heard of John Kerry's Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Have you heard of Mr. Jorgenson's? John Kerry got sent home after a comparatively minor third wound. Mr. Jorgenson got sent back to his unit with his third Purple Heart while recovering from gunshots to both legs and with his leg muscles held together by wire.

Mr. Jorgenson was a 20 year old "shake and bake" sergeant. This concentration of 19 & 20 year—olds took a disproportionate toll. Add in the fact that the men were rotated in and out as individuals, not as part of a unit, and you find the source of much of the problems some of them were to face. Post—war studies found higher levels of psychological problems (e.g. drug use) in the units with the narrowest and youngest range of ages. They needed the effect of more mature leadership. Often, they did not get it. Today, we rotate as units and use reserve forces with strong ties to the community.

How did we get to a position that imposed most of the burdens on such youth? Who was the leader with the vision to effect change? That answer will be even more unbelievable to the MTV generation. His name was Richard Nixon. Running against Hubert Humphrey he made a national radio address, "The All—Volunteer Armed Force", on October 17, 1968. He pointed out that by using conscription, the government was required to pay a private less than $100 per month, one third of the civilian minimum wage! His concluding sentence bears repeating. "Let's show our commitment to freedom by preparing to assure our young people theirs."

When elected, Nixon appointed a commission to explore his vision. He began the "Vietnamization" of the war and began gradual troop withdrawals. Draft calls were reduced. The numbers from the Selective Serivice System [  ] tell the story.

1968     296,586
1969     283,586
1970     162,746
1971       94,092
1972       49,514
1973            646

Thus began the transition to today's force. Given the difficulty in passing a Constitutional Amendment, it is interesting to see how fast the 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971. The text was passed in Congress on March 23, 1971. It was ratified by the states by July 1,1971 and was officially certified on July 5, 1971.

The right of 18 year—olds to vote was won by the young men on the battlefield in Vietnam. Not the draft resisters or college students, but the combat soldiers being paid mere cents per hour! Before you believe the spin from political operatives, take a few minutes to learn the facts! It was a Republican president who had the vision to end the draft and make a commitment to the freedom of young people!

The current Democratic demagoguery on the draft is aimed a group of young people with no personal experience with conscription. They can't put the issue in context, and the revisionist history taught in our schools and referenced in the mainstream media does not meet the need.

So how to educate our college age population? Maybe by putting them in the shoes of their predecessors. Recommend that they go to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial website. Ask them to do a search on any birthdate in the year 1948. What will they typically find?

For illustration, let's search September 11, 1948. There are twenty seven men with that birthdate whose names are engraved on The Wall. None of them ever got to vote in a presidential election! Eighteen of them died before reaching the voting age of 21 and never voted in any election. These men were powerless to change the government policies that sent them to war. Most would have been single, with a high school education at best. Many were from modest economic circumstances and/or minorities. This allowed them to be treated without due respect. Their absence from the community did not have a big impact outside their families and friends. And the Establishment treated them poorly.

The title of Kregg P. J. Jorgenson's book, Acceptable Loss, says it all. We have heard of John Kerry's Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Have you heard of Mr. Jorgenson's? John Kerry got sent home after a comparatively minor third wound. Mr. Jorgenson got sent back to his unit with his third Purple Heart while recovering from gunshots to both legs and with his leg muscles held together by wire.

Mr. Jorgenson was a 20 year old "shake and bake" sergeant. This concentration of 19 & 20 year—olds took a disproportionate toll. Add in the fact that the men were rotated in and out as individuals, not as part of a unit, and you find the source of much of the problems some of them were to face. Post—war studies found higher levels of psychological problems (e.g. drug use) in the units with the narrowest and youngest range of ages. They needed the effect of more mature leadership. Often, they did not get it. Today, we rotate as units and use reserve forces with strong ties to the community.

How did we get to a position that imposed most of the burdens on such youth? Who was the leader with the vision to effect change? That answer will be even more unbelievable to the MTV generation. His name was Richard Nixon. Running against Hubert Humphrey he made a national radio address, "The All—Volunteer Armed Force", on October 17, 1968. He pointed out that by using conscription, the government was required to pay a private less than $100 per month, one third of the civilian minimum wage! His concluding sentence bears repeating. "Let's show our commitment to freedom by preparing to assure our young people theirs."

When elected, Nixon appointed a commission to explore his vision. He began the "Vietnamization" of the war and began gradual troop withdrawals. Draft calls were reduced. The numbers from the Selective Serivice System [  ] tell the story.

1968     296,586
1969     283,586
1970     162,746
1971       94,092
1972       49,514
1973            646

Thus began the transition to today's force. Given the difficulty in passing a Constitutional Amendment, it is interesting to see how fast the 26th Amendment was ratified in 1971. The text was passed in Congress on March 23, 1971. It was ratified by the states by July 1,1971 and was officially certified on July 5, 1971.

The right of 18 year—olds to vote was won by the young men on the battlefield in Vietnam. Not the draft resisters or college students, but the combat soldiers being paid mere cents per hour! Before you believe the spin from political operatives, take a few minutes to learn the facts! It was a Republican president who had the vision to end the draft and make a commitment to the freedom of young people!