How far we’ve come since WWII: yes there is a war on.
(CNN) — Another wartime Christmas week has arrived.
Yet on the streets of the United States, it often feels as if this is a nation that has half-forgotten that its sons and daughters are in combat.
Not literally, of course; Americans are intellectually aware that the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq continue. And for the families of the young soldiers, sailors, Marines and aviators in combat zones, the wars never go away, even for a single tick of the clock.
But the lack of shared sacrifice during these war years — the sense that those of us at home go on with our lives pretty much as usual while the men and women who have volunteered to be in uniform risk their own lives anew with each rising of the sun — is a notion that is especially acute during the holiday season.
How have our lives changed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? What has residing in an America at war done to the texture of daily life?
Where’s the shared sacrifice of war?
by Bob Greene.
Mr. Greene, we have endured countless protests by the left, crying crocodile tears over the causalities of the war and the “suffering” of US troops and their families.
Greene goes on and on about war time rationing and restrictions. Newspapers would run stories on it, ration cupons were a part of everyday life. Nylon, silk, rubber, metal, things we take for granted toady were drafted into an effort to beat the Axis was machine. They became scarce during the war, shortages were common. Something never seen in the postwar years.
There was more to the war than rationing. The technology of the day still required massive man power. Ships took hundres of men to keep them running. Mechanics, welders, truck drivers, carpenters, plumbers were all drafted to make the army run. It was a rule of thumb that for every soldier or marine with a ruck sack and a rifle, seven other service members made his job possible.
Now one of the left’s favorite boogymen is the “permanent war economy”, that means US industry is geared for war. This came about due to President Dwight Eisenhower ‘s farewell address. The “military-industrial complex” was his warning about President-elect Kennedy and his rhetoric. He fears the JFk would run the US headlong into war with the USSR.
See the US had to build up it’s military to face the USSR. Their used to be several Army divisions, Air Force Wings, Navy ships and overseas bases the US had to fight the cold war if it got hot.
Between the wars, the US downsized it’s forces, reverting back to the model of the last century. A small professional force augmented by the state militias (the national guard). After the war, most thinkers figured that we’d be fighting the massive red hoards. So we did not cut back as massively as we did after WWI. We did another round of cut backs after the USSR fell apart in the 90’s.
Elvis Presley served in the US Army’s 3rd Armored Division. That unit fought in Desert Storm then was deactivated. Just one example of the post Cold war draw down.
Technology improved. Of all the causalities in Europe, 1/4 of those belonged to the US Army Air Force’s 8th Air Force. To bomb a factory took waves and waves of bombers. Flash forward to the Vietnam war era. To destory the Bridge at the Dragon’s Jaw took a flight (5-6 aircraft) a fe laser guided bombs. We lost lots of pilots in Vietnam, don’t get we wrong. But the “War of a Million Sorties” was nowhere near as costly as WWII, the firepower was greater.
And so we come to the War on Terror. The US military is growing, WITHOUT a draft. We need men and women with technical skills, not bodies. The “permanent war economy” actually produces the internet and other peace dividends. It makes it possbile for Greene to enjoy this holiday season with out worrying about the war.
Yes, to those of you who have been there, those of you down range and those with loved ones over there, it seems strange. Like a dream. That we can enjoy “normal” with a war on.
But that’s the point.
While the left bitches about the “new normal”, moaning about security measures and drone strikes, we are safe.
Rough men and women are doing violence on our behalf with more firepower than any WWII general could have dreamed of. A Private in the Army today knows more than a sergeant did in WWII. His platoon has access to more firepower than an entire battalion of WWII soldiers.
Times have changed, for the better. That’s the real lesson of WWII, Mr. Greene. Thanks to the hard work of the WWII, cold war generations and this generation of service members, leaders, scientists and engineers, we can be free.
Your Welcome Mr. Greene