I’m not a war monger, but I’m not exactly a pacifist either. A well-armed and well-trained military is essential to any country that wants to consider itself a world power, and anyone who says otherwise is idealistic and has too much faith in other members of the human race.
I don’t know when war got gray and fuzzy, but from people I’ve talked to who actually lived through the 1940s, some of whom fought in the war that occurred in the first part of that decade, there wasn’t the opposition that we have today for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was a clearly defined enemy who was definitely bad and it was the duty of the Allied Nations to defeat that enemy. The propaganda that came out during that war is difficult to watch now, and not all of it was from Axis Powers. If you don’t believe me, watch this, this, and this. From Disney! Imagine a mainstream film studio making a movie like this these days. Wouldn’t happen, and if it did it wouldn’t be accepted by any normal person.
One of the things I feel very strongly about is honoring those who have fought and died for their countries over the years. It’s easy to get mad at senior citizens for driving slow, walking slow, not understanding technology, and being generally unsuited to modern life, but before you get real upset think of what they might have been doing in 1943 or 1944. There’s a chance that nice old man down the street has seen (and maybe done) unspeakable horrors. That was before PTSD was recognized, by the way, so those soldiers had to cope with it by themselves.
The war on the home front, by the way, wasn’t quite as nice as it is today. Those living back home actually had to do without: gasoline was rationed, so was sugar, rubber, meat, and a lot of things that would make normal life pretty tough. In other words, soldiers in foreign theaters and citizens at home were all contributing to the war. Some gave up their comfort and convenience, same gave their service, some gave their lives, but the main point is that the war affected nearly every person in the US much more directly than it does today.
The casualty count is something else drastically different today than in wars past. People are outraged over the 4000 Americans who have died since the war began. That is a lot of fine young men and women, most of them between the ages of 18 and 25, who will never get to worry about Social Security or retirement, and it’s terrible that their lives have been cut short. Something I find rarely mentioned are the 29,000 US troops who have been wounded in the conflict, and I think it’s a credit to the quality of military medicine that the killed to wounded ratio is so low.
In comparison, consider the battle for the Island of Iwo Jima. This battle was a major campaign in the Pacific, in part because the US desperately wanted control of the airport on the island, and in part because it was sacred in Japanese folklore and the soil was considered to be the same as mainland Japan. The 21,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island knew they were going to die there, and it was their job to inflict as many US casualties as possible. They did a pretty good job, causing the deaths of over 6,800 US Marines and Navy Corpsmen and wounding some 19,000 more. Ready for the kicker? That took place over the entire length of the battle, which lasted just 35 days.
That certainly wasn’t the only Pacific battle with a high death toll: Guadalcanal (7,000 dead in 6 months), Tarawa (1,000 killed in 3 days), and Okinawa (12,000 in 2 months) were pretty bad too.
War just ain’t what it used to be, from the public opinion to the casualty counts to the propaganda campaign.