By Paul Craig Roberts
hat tip: International Clearing House
November 13, 2009
It is conventional wisdom that it was the draft that ended the Vietnam war. According to this explanation, cowardly college students subject to the draft and their unpatriotic families, forced an end to the war. This is Karl Marx’s explanation. Material interests, not empty morality, are said to have brought the war to an end.
That fact that in those days the US still had an independent media of sorts that sometimes framed the war in moral terms is ignored. Are we sure, for example, that the film of the naked little girl running in terror down the road burning with napalm was ineffectual in arousing moral opposition to the war? Are we certain that it wasn’t an aroused moral conscience that brought about the end of the war but was college students’ fears for their lives and limbs?
If we ascribe ending the war to material interests, it makes ending the war look as unworthy as the war itself.
Yet, virtually every conservative columnist, commentator, newsperson and politician, as well as today’s antiwar protesters and apparently the Pentagon, believes that a military draft would reduce Americans’ toleration for wars because of body bags coming home to middle and upper class parents. Apparently, the lower class doesn’t mind its kids coming back in body bags.