This lack of citizen ownership of America’s wars was Nixon’s gift to all of us when he eliminated the draft. If he hadn’t, and the last 17 years of combat directly impacted all of our children (not just a relative handful of volunteers) Love Harry Potter Witch Hat maybe we’d have found the time to collectively demand that Congress at least grow the fortitude to actually declare war and perhaps subsequently demanded a logical end to it.
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A lot of legitimate points in these responses, with commenters rightly ascribing culpability to both political parties, multiple presidents, and the military-industrial complex at large. However, what I don’t see a lot of is an assertion of societal guilt. If you’re American and you’ve paid taxes in the last 17 years, Afghanistan is as much yours (and mine) as anybody else’s. Make no bones about it, we’ve been at war for two decades because so few of us have any real skin in the game that there has been little public push to end the futility.