Born in the U.S.A.: Post 4

During the late 1960’s, Johnson pushed for more troops to be sent to Vietnam. The main way that the military gained troops was through volunteers. Around two thirds of the men who served in the Vietnam War were there because they wanted to be. The final third of troops were acquired through the draft and by court orders. The Vietnam War draft was done in the fashion of a lottery. It was carried out by assigning a number to each day of the year. All 366 dates were mixed into a container from which they were randomly drawn. The date picked was then posted on a board showing the order that birthdays would be selected for the draft. Over 1.7 million men were selected for service this way over the course of the draft. Still, the government tried to find other ways to require that men enlist.

Due to this rising need for soldiers, the U.S. government attempted to acquire troops in almost any way possible. In “Born in the U.S.A.”, Springsteen sheds light on the fact that many eligible men who faced criminal charges were given the option of joining the military as an alternative to other forms of punishment. In the song he writes: “Got in a little hometown jam, So they put a rifle in my hand. Sent me off to a foreign land, To go and kill the yellow man.” While this technique of recruitment yielded greater volume of troops, the quality was much poorer. Most of the men enlisted because of criminal charges didn’t want to serve to begin with. Troops acquired this way caused problems for the military because many of them didn’t feel the same need to try since they were being forced to join.

Bruce Springsteen was one of the men drafted during the Vietnam War. Springsteen didn’t agree with the war and wanted to get out of enlistment. Springsteen made sure to fail his physical so that he wouldn’t have to join. Due to a concussion he had sustained, as well as a failed physical, Springsteen was deemed unfit for military service. Although Springsteen himself didn’t serve, he had friends who did. After losing friends in the war, Springsteen felt a need to expose some of the U.S. governments questionable decisions during this time.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=AXkfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=N1MEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3892%2C4612363

http://www.historynet.com/live-from-dc-its-lottery-night-1969.htm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-werner/brothers-under-the-bridge_b_1388514.html

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Travelin’ Soldier – Post 4

So last time I left a lot of questions unanswered in my own head. I also realized I haven’t really touched base on the Iraq war much. I’ve mentioned it but really haven’t discussed what happened, how it started and the people’s reaction. Nor have I discussed the most important thing there is: why did the event of what Natalie Maines said in London in 2003 have such an impact? Was it just her words and actions or was there something else going on?

Allow me to try to answer some of these questions.

First, the war on Iraq has many names. Other than the typical and most common name of the Iraq war, there is the invisible war or even the well known “war on terror.” Why did it get this particular name? Many would argue that it was after the terrible events of September 11th, 2001 when planes crashed into the twin towers that the war truly began, but actually the United States did not officially declare war and go to war with Iraq until March 2003 when the United States began bombing Baghdad. The goal was to get Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay to surrender.  President Bush made the claim that it was all in the idea”to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger” (Singal). In April of 2003 the United States took control of the capitol. As stated in previous posts the Dixie Chicks statement was made on March 10th, 2003. So it was during the beginning of the war. But why all of the distress and anger? And why so soon after the war began?

Many would argue that the Dixie Chicks had made their statement so early in the game because so many people also viewed the war in the same way that they did. Many thought that we had gone to war for the wrong reasons. Many also thought that this war could turn out like so many others have, such as the Vietnam war. And by far, many people were just afraid. Fearful because of what had happened on September 11th just a small two years prior to declaring war. People wanted to feel safe and secure in their own homes, in their own country. This is what Bush and so many others played off of in their game of war.

Before the official claim of war, there was obvious opposition. Many did not want another war. There were all kinds of protests to try to discourage the declaration. One of the largest protests in the world was  in London. “Police said it was the UK’s biggest ever demonstration with at least 750,000 taking part, although organizers put the figure closer to two million” (Million). Many in London had gathered with the mindset  to mislead and prove the Prime Minister did not have the support of his people if he chose to back the United States’ decision to go to war with Iraq.

London was not the only place protests occurred, but it was by far one of the largest.  On the home front in the United States many were unhappy with the idea of war as well. “Demonstrators converged near the United Nations to protest the possible war in just one of the more than 600 anti-war rallies around the globe. Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 375,000, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly estimated turnout at 100,000. Besides protests in large cities such as Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California; rallies were held across the United States in smaller towns such as Gainesville, Georgia; Macomb, Illinois; and Juneau, Alaska, according to the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice” (Cities). One of the groups had a mock dummy of President Bush holding fake blood over the people as they were barricaded against a wall by police. The group in New York had many speakers such as “Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and actors Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover” (Cities). The people urged the President and the United Nations leaders to rethink their position on this war, to try for peace and to give it a chance.

As stated earlier it was believed that although Saddam Hussein was an “evil man” and an “evil dictator” people still believed that instead of the United States getting involved in another fruitless war, they should try for a peaceful end.

The impact of what Natalie Maines had said on the stage in London in March of 2003 was significant not because of the songs they sang, but because it was less than a month after the largest protest in London and also because it sided with the protesters. But why was it such a big deal and so many people were becoming angry with the women? Was it because war had already been declared or was it simply because of the lack of pride in their country and president that their statement had?

 

Singal, Jesse, M.J. Stephey, and Christine Lim. “Seven Years in Iraq: An Iraq War Timeline.” Time. March 19, 2010. Accessed October 15, 2014. http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1967340_1967342,00.html.

“‘Million’ March against Iraq War.” BBC News. February 16, 2003. Accessed October 19, 2014. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2765041.stm.

“Cities Jammed in Worldwide Protest of War in Iraq.” CNN. February 16, 2003. Accessed October 22, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/15/sprj.irq.protests.main/.

Blog Post 5: For the song of Country Joe and the Fish, Results of the war

For my fifth blog post about the song “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin-to-Die-Rag”. I decided to talk about the results of the Vietnam War. I am going to focus on the soldier’s life after the war. Although, many of the soldiers who participate in the Vietnam War never come back, some of them come back to their respective homes.

I read in some articles that the only people who were happy for their return were their own families and close friends. Many of the soldiers who come back from the war, never receive a “thank you” or a “welcome back” from the society. They were treated with hostility and without respect. In my opinion, the society did really bad, because many of the people need it to come back to their life, and reintegrate into the society. And if the society is not grateful with them and respect them, it is really hard for them to reintegrate physically and mentally into the society.

On the other hand, many of the soldiers who come back from a war: Vietnam War, Afghanistan, or Iraq war among others. Do not come back from the war alone, a lot of them bring something with them, and that is the mental illness of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). As I read 31% of the veterans who come back from Vietnam War suffer or had suffer from PTSD. Now a days 11% of the veterans from the Vietnam War still having PTSD, it is incredible how after 40 years the war still a life in some people. The symptoms PTSD may include: flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event, in this case the Vietnam War.

This mental disorder do not just affect to the people who have it, also affect to their families and close friends: parents, wives, children, friend…The life of this people have changed because of the Vietnam War, this means that the war do not just affect the people who participate into the war. The war affect every single person in the United States.

The references I used are:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/13/vietnam-veterans-not-thanked-for-military-service

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/winter09pg10-14.html

Post 4- Machine Gun

In Jimi Hendrix’s song Machine Gun, he talks about death of the soldiers fighting in Vietnam. I used that idea and I have decided that my research paper is going to discuss how American casualties as well other causes that may have had an influence on Vietnam War approval. Just by looking at the chart one can see that overall the percentage of people thinking that sending the troops to Vietnam was a mistake. In 1968 the largest amount of casualties were recorded that the Americans have seen since the war had started. It turns out that 1968 was the bloodiest year of the Vietnam War. There were 16, 894 men that died fighting against communism. At the end of 1968 54% of the American people said it was a mistake sending troops into Vietnam. I think that casualties had a lot to do with the approval of war. Another example would be the beginning of 1967 only 32% of people disapproved the war and by the end of the year that number increased over 10%. This may have to do with the fact that in between 1966-1967 the amount of casualties almost doubled. In 1966 there were 6,350 casualties and in 1967 there were 11,363 casualties.

vietnam support

Another topic that I may discuss in my paper, that I have not yet researched, is that it is very possible that music influenced people in their decision to oppose the Vietnam War. For example, in 1970, Jimi Hendrix as well as many other famous musicians, played at Madison Square Garden at an anti-war concert. During the 1970s people saying that the war was a mistake stays above 50%. During this time only 6,173 men die as well. I do not know for sure, but if it wasn’t the casualties that were convincing the people during the 1970s, I think it was the music. Music is a very powerful tool, and it is possible that people are listening to the music and coming together to oppose the war.

Work Cited:


http://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html
http://www.michaelbutler.com/hair/holding/articles/HairArticles/NYT1-29-70.html

Gimme Shelter- post 4

When asked about “Gimme Shelter” Mick Jagger described it as an apocalyptic type of song, and even goes so far as to say that the entire album, “Let it Bleed” was also that way. I think that this is a great indicator of how people were feeling about the events going on in the world at the time, especially after the Tet Offensive. This feeling likely would have not been unique to this generation as people surely felt as though the world was ending during both World Wars, for the first time it seemed people were questioning what it was that the country was fighting for. After the Tet Offensive occured, people really began to question if the war was really worth it and why the United States was sending young men off to die. Now, not only was killing the enemy completely impossible, it also wouldn’t lead to the end of the war, as the war was as much about politics as it was killing. This is what made the Vietnam War so different from any war the United States had fought previously; it wasn’t a war about world peace or protecting the United States. It was a war about politics.

After the Tet Offensive happened American support for the war plummeted and the public demanded change. As a result President Johnson decided not to run for reelection and Nixon was elected as president. This also lead to the implementation of “Vietnamization” where the majority of the military responsibilities were shifted over to the South Vietnamese military over time to cut down on the number of American causalities. It was also thought that eventually this policy would make it so that the Americans could eventually withdraw completely without causing the fall of South Vietnam. The American people were excited a bout this idea, they thought that it would finally lead to the end of the war.

“I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag” Post 4

December first 1969, upwards of a million young men across America stare at their television screens. As an older gentleman begins to call out dates, many young men imagine their fate. Once the older man is done, millions of sighs are let out across the nation. However, many would see a low number and their heart would sink into their stomach.

Throughout the Vietnam War 27 million American men would come to be of draft age. This seems to be a large number and makes one think just how much of an effect the Vietnam War had on American society. But this number is deceptive, on top of all these people are the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends that these individuals know. And suddenly the amount of people affected by the draft becomes much larger. In this sense (and many others) the draft helped make the Vietnam War more real in the minds of the American people.

The draft even effected the servicemen that volunteered. Enlistees in 1968 were comprised of about 54% of men that had volunteered simply due to draft pressure from having a low number. The logic was that if there’s a high chance that I will be drafted, I might as well volunteer and get some say in where I serve and possibly what my service is.

By its very nature the draft was something of permanence. It was something that stuck in your mind. The constant pressure of whether or not you or a family member would be called, building and gnawing, was something that made Americans very anxious. The draft deeply contributed to the reality of the war on the American home front. This reality was an image of stark death and chaos, consuming a poverty stricken nation in a supposedly just war. Fought, in part, by boys with forced patriotism burning in their hearts.

Sources:

Working Class War by Christian G. Appy