2020-07-09 20:38:42 (UTC)

Prompt 082: You've Been Drafted

82. You have been drafted to go into the Vietnam War. How do you react to this news? Will you report to your new post or try to flee the country and why?

There's no reason for the United States to go to war with any other country. The US hasn't been invaded in nearly 80 years, right? You might want to consider 11 Sept 2001 an attack, but that was not an invasion. It was a one-off.

As such, in this day and age there would be no legitimate reason for the United States to draft soldiers once again, and it would be difficult to convince me otherwise. If the US government ever felt seriously threatened, there's always depleted uranium (which they use already), drone strikes (made famously ubiquitous during the Obama administration), and nuclear weapons (which, if the bloviating heads of state are to be believed, are back on the table).

"It was a different time," during the Vietnam war, and for the government to pull off the stunt it had attempted, they needed warm bodies (the early 70's also seemed to mark the time when the elders in the upper-class seemed to really start to dislike the poor, growing resentful of those helped and sustained by the New Deal). So the draft was implemented.

Personally, I think I'm a bit too tightly-wound for military service. I'm certain I wouldn't be alone in that. And that doesn't mean that unfit soldiers - being too tightly-wound, or otherwise - never went to war. I think a lot of folks found out too late that they too were unfit for armed conflict, and maybe it cost them their lives, or the lives of those they cared about, or those who cared about them.

It's not a question of enjoying it. I don't think anyone who has seen combat looks back on that time longingly. In fact I also think most of those who clamor for war excessively are the ones who haven't really been exposed to graphic violence in their own lives, first-hand. Video games don't count. It's like a glorified NIMBY mindset ("Not In My Back Yard").

Rather, it's enduring it. Enduring the flip-flopping of life from periods of boredom, of hunger, of loneliness, of excitement, of hilarity. There's no telling which comes next, and just when it will spring on you. If you mix into that a constant state of conflict, where explosions and bullets could cripple or kill you at any moment, from any direction, it will demand a lot from you in terms of endurance.

Were I of drafting age during the late 60's, I would have wanted to flee, but I likely would have ended up succumbing to the draft and staying in the military. When I was younger, I was too much under the thumb of my parents and wouldn't have wanted to shame them in the eyes of the rest of the family and relatives. I'd have trained with my uncle in the use of firearms, finished my obligation, and if I had survived I would have ended up like so many other shell-shocked, afflicted veterans. I'm curious of the branch where I would have been a best fit. Maybe the Army? Navy? I imagine I would have operated some kind of vehicle, but I am not interested in air travel.

Of course, my untested "rebellious streak" wants me to say that I would have fled the country (I would personally want to have joined the draft-card burners and stateside protesters, but I admit I never really had the balls to do such a thing). At the advent of the Gulf War (ugh, the "first one," as it's referred to), my mother told me that we would all flee, "to Canada or something," were I drafted. I was 14-ish at the time, and it seemed like a serious threat to my mother.

I doubt my mother would have felt the same were I of draft age back in the late 60's. I think it took the Vietnam War and the draft to let the typical US citizen understand what the draft was, so that later it would be a tactic only to be (rightfully) maligned by anyone whenever the subject was breached.

My father would have been drafted for that war, but during his medical exam it emerged that he had injured his back (he was a championship wrestler in high school and college) and was unfit for service. I'm uncertain as to whether I would have been adamantly against or adamantly for military service, were my dad a veteran. Due to his circumstances, and perhaps what he learned from veterans he knew and/or read about, he never asked about or encouraged my own interest in military service. I never used anything resembling a true firearm until I was in my mid-30's (which is actually something I regret not knowing about until so late in life).

I think it's interesting how back during the first Gulf War there were rumblings about the draft. But nowadays (pre-COVID, I suppose), there was really no mention of the draft ever coming back. There have been gripes about enrollment, but since the economy has riddled so many communities with few options other than military service, there seems no shortage of able-bodied young folks enlisting. The upper class have arranged things so there's no shortage of warm bodies anymore, rendering the draft obsolete (...or invisible?).