Quote: Originally Posted by smarteyeball
Geopolitical/cultural gap and reason's for occupation aside, what is the fundamental difference between a Vietnam Vet and an Iraq/Afghan vet?
Both wars sent brave young people to foreign lands to face horrors civilians will never understand. Both have a high attrition rate - be it mental, physical or life itself.
Yet the former were treated with utter contempt, the latter are lauded as heroes. Yet, essentially the are doing the same job - which is protecting US interests.
Again no offence intended for the 'elephant in the room' question because I am truly curious - but is the 'over the top' support for current serving troops a way to compensate for former attitudes and behaviour and as such, perhaps one aspect intended to avoid making the same mistake twice?
Or is it simply because a 'troop friendly' media and populous attitude makes up for the shortfall that conscription once filled?
Smarteyeball, it is definitely not a "troop friendly" media. The media has much the same attitude as they did during the Viet Nam War. They started out on the same tact in the current WOT as they did in Viet Nam showing protest, majoring on the faults and mistakes and talking almost nothing of the heroes. That really hasn't changed. You hear nothing of Medal of Honors recipients in the media. You get plenty of coverage of collateral damage.
While I would definitely not call the support for the troops "over the top", it is definitely stronger and more well publicized than during the Viet Nam era. I think you have hit on part of the reason - "support for current serving troops a way to compensate for former attitudes and behaviour and as such, perhaps one aspect intended to avoid making the same mistake twice
Two things a very different this time around.
1. Much better communications and access to all points of view via the internet. In Viet Nam, in this country, you were stuck with the very slanted views and agenda of ABC, NBC, and CBS. That was it. That was all you saw or heard. We did not have access to the BBC; there was no Fox. Now one can see video's shot by the soldiers themselves, read their letters, listen to interviews that the mainstream media "overlooks".
2. The US reserves are being used extensively in the WOT. They were not used much at all in Viet Nam, especially in the ground war. That means that virtually every village, city and town in the US has been directly touched. Reserve units are hometown units. Everyone knows someone who has been to or is in the sandbox. Taht tends to broaden and heighten support for the troops.
3. Viet Nam era vets have banded together in formal and informal organizations to make sure our current heroes are honored as we from that era weren't. A large number of us became activists and counter-protesters. By and large, we have drowned out the voices of the protesters - and our numbers are usually much larger - even when the anti-military protest organizations are paying college students to protest.
The media still does not cover this. They give extensive coverage of the protesters and a passing mention of the counter protesters. The media only gives numbers on those rare occasions that the protesters outnumber the counter protesters. This I know from personal experience.
But the public backs and supports us vets because of #1 and #2 above.
I hope this gives you some insight.