The Bush administration’s rallying call that America is a nation at war is increasingly ringing hollow to men and women in uniform, who argue in frustration that America is not a nation at war, but a nation with only its military at war.
From bases in Iraq and across the United States to the Pentagon and the military’s war colleges, officers and enlisted personnel quietly raise a question for political leaders: if America is truly on a war footing, why is so little sacrifice asked of the nation at large?
There is no serious talk of a draft to share the burden of fighting across the broad citizenry, and neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions.
There are not even concerted efforts like the savings-bond drives or gasoline rationing that helped to unite the country behind its fighting forces in wars past.
“Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice, except us,” said one officer just back from a yearlong tour in Iraq, voicing a frustration now drawing the attention of academic specialists in military sociology.
…and then there’s this:
In an interview, Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, said that discussions had begun on a program to seek commitments from bankers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, electricians, plumbers and solid-waste disposal experts to deploy to conflict zones for months at a time on reconstruction assignments, to relieve pressure on the military.
I believe there are representatives of at least a few of those professions among the war’s more prominent online advocates. And what good news for them finally, they’ll be able to really contribute something to the war effort!