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Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:25 PM

Veterans In New Congress Fewest Since World War II

By Amanda Terkel (HuffPo)
Posted: 11/17/2012 9:08 am EST Updated: 11/17/2012 11:21 am EST

WASHINGTON -- The 113th Congress that takes office in January will have the fewest military veterans since World War II, although the number of members who served in the Afghanistan or Iraq wars is growing.

Nineteen percent of the next Congress will be veterans, with 85 in the House and 18 in the Senate, according to a tally compiled by the American Legion. In the current Congress, there are 91 veterans in the House and 25 in the Senate.

...


"While the total number of veterans in Congress has decreased, we will see a record number of post-9/11 veterans in Congress this year," said Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "Sixteen veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have won their races and will be part of the House of Representatives next year."

While committee assignments in both chambers are still being figured out, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has already said she will step down from her position as chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, meaning Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will likely take her place.

...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/17/veterans-congress-fewest_n_2144852.html



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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Veterans In New Congress Fewest Since World War II (Original post)
pinboy3niner Nov 2012 OP
longship Nov 2012 #1
SheilaT Nov 2012 #2
pinboy3niner Nov 2012 #3
Victor_c3 Nov 2012 #4
JustABozoOnThisBus Nov 2012 #5
ohio_88 Nov 2012 #6

Response to pinboy3niner (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:32 PM

1. But we will have Tammy Duckworth!!!

I am a huge fanboy!

Here:


If you haven't seen and heard this, you need to.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:45 PM

2. Keep in mind that only a tiny minority

of our citizens actually serve in combat.

I am very conflicted about this. I do understand that in WWII, and perhaps also in the Korean War, the draft grabbed almost everyone. Since then, not so much.

I am the mother of two grown sons, now ages 25 and 29. I have felt very strongly for quite a while now that the military may not have them as cannon fodder. I realize that my sons are no more precious to me than are any sons to their mothers. I also understand that we personally have resources (such as relatives in Canada) that many others do not have. And I also understand that serving in our military is a very proud and patriotic aspect of the lives of a certain subset of our population. I do not consider myself any less patriotic than those people. But I am not willing to sacrifice MY sons in the stupid wars we've been waging in recent years.

I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to lose a child to combat. Nor can I imagine what it is like to come home maimed. I am in awe of those who deal with those things. For all my personal intention to keep my sons out of combat, I also understand that veterans are absolutely crucial to our country's understanding of war.

Another side note. I have three brothers. The two youngest never served. My oldest brother enlisted in the military and was inducted on August 22, 1961, shortly after the Berlin Wall went up. He wound up being stationed in Berlin for about two years, and I can recall very distinctly his saying at some point that he was very glad he'd been posted there, rather than in Southeast Asia.

I think, because of my age and location in history, I have a strong resistance to military service. I used to read old Life Magazines, starting with the first issue which was in November, 1936. As a consequence, it's as if I remember the events of the late 1930's through WWII. It was not until I got partway through WWII in those Life Magazines that I fully understood why the older generation were so appalled at the anti-war demonstrations against the war in Vietnam by my generation. It really matters when you come of age.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:25 AM

3. Thanks for a thoughtful and eloquent post

It's common for war veterans to be conflicted, too. Hating the war, but proud of our service. Wishing the war never happened, but unwilling to say we'd have done differently and have to give up having had the privilege of knowing those we lost... For veterans--and especially for combat vets--I think those kinds of conflicts in our feelings are a major issue in our PTSD because it makes it so hard to come to a personal perspective on our experience that makes any kind of sense.

Years ago I was one of a group of VN vets that went to speak to a HS history class in Maryland. On our first visit, we noticed "VIETNAM" spelled out in large letters across the back wall of the classroom. Looking closeley, we discovered that the letters were made of 58,000 straightpins the teacher had had the students spend 5 minutes each day putting in. The next year, the back wall was filled with a collage of 58,000 faces clipped from magazine photos.

That teacher was someone who had gotten his draft notice, refused induction, and had spent either 18 months or 2 years in jail for it (I'm a little rusty on the precise time he served of his 2-year sentence). And we who had fought in Vietnam admired that teacher and felt we had more in common with him than with the VN War chickenhawks.

I'd been a draftee in '67, but I'd volunteered for the draft by calling up my draft board and asking them to take me. I don't know if that got someone else off the hook--I was more concerned at the time with being able to get out in 2 years in case I didn't like the military, rather than being locked into a 3- or 4-year enlistment. I also volunteered for Infantry, OCS, Vietnam, and combat assignment.

Today's disconnect between American civilians and their military is a problem for which some see resurrection of the draft as the solution. Some also support a draft as a deterrent to war. But I can't help remembering how long the VN War went on despite the draft, and that 17,725 draftees were killed in Vietnam (30.4 percent of all combat deaths).

Your conflicts--and your feelings about the prospect of your sons going to war--are perfectly understandable. I can't help being reminded of an expression of another mother's feelings...


&feature=related

Johnny I hardly Knew Ye

While goin' the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin' the road to sweet Athy
A stick in me hand and a drop in me eye
A doleful damsel I heard cry,
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your drums and guns and drums and guns
The enemy nearly slew ye
Oh my darling dear, Ye look so queer
Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild
When my heart you so beguiled
Why did ye run from me and the child
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run
When you went for to carry a gun
Indeed your dancing days are done
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.

I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I'm happy for to see ye home
All from the island of Sulloon
So low in flesh, so high in bone
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven't an arm, ye haven't a leg
Ye're an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
Ye'll have to put with a bowl out to beg
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.

They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They're rolling out the guns again
But they never will take our sons again
No they never will take our sons again
Johnny I'm swearing to ye.




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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 04:28 PM

4. You took the words right out of my mouth

But put your thought a little more eloquently that I would have.

The first paragraph that you wrote sounds exactly like me. I知 proud of my service in many ways but, at the same time, I知 appalled and ashamed of it. Trying to describe what my military service means to me is a very complicated and muddy thing.

Watching the events unfold in the Middle East right now on TV is a hard thing. I know that I知 far removed from the seemingly looming war over there, but at the same time I知 envious that I will be sitting this one out. I知 happy that I知 out of the military and that everything is in the past, but I feel a yearning to return to war. The things that upset me and appall me the most are exactly the things that I miss. No, maybe not the feelings of losing a friend or even the feeling of seeing a guy from the opposite side of my sights fall, but I miss the feelings of excitement surrounding the danger and the feeling of a rifle in my hand.

I think that this has a lot to do with my PTSD and a sense of worthlessness that I (and probably other veterans) feel. When I was in the Army I was at my prime. I was in the best shape of my life and I was able to accomplish anything I wanted to. I returned home, got out of the Army and attempted to start my civilian life and I find that things like holding a job, driving in traffic, ordering food at a fast food restaurant, and even remembering to bathe and change my clothes every day van be a struggle.

I never look down or think less of anyone who says that they tried to avoid fighting in a war. Having been there and experienced war first hand, I know that it is an experience that I wouldn稚 wish on anyone.

In short, the insight that combat veterans provide to war is a valuable one, but that was already mentioned above.

Pinboy3niner, thanks for your post. I enjoy reading and listening to what you have to say. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that you were also an Infantry Platoon Leader like me (albeit in different wars). I wish that someone like you would have talked to me before I set out on my military career. The fact that you were a volunteer (like me) for the profession also speaks a lot to me. The feelings that you write about and what you say really does a lot for validating my own feelings and thoughts. Again, thanks.

Victor

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Response to pinboy3niner (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:01 PM

5. Probably just statistics

From the article: ... the last conscription force to fight a war is at retirement age, and they are leaving Congress....

With no draft, there are simply fewer people serving (though they serve for longer times and multiple deployments). So it makes sense there are fewer vets in congress. This seems to be a side-effect of having an "all professional" army.

Plus, we seem to be giving more non-combat roles to contract firms, reducing the ranks of non-combat MOS personnel. All those army cooks and clerks from the Vietnam era have been replaced by Halliburton and others.

I just hope this trend in Congress doesn't lead to cuts in veterans benefits. To some, we're just part of the 47% leeches.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:26 AM

6. Yes, it is statistics,

the numbers below are one explanation of why there are fewer veterans serving in Congress. There are fewer veterans in the population at large.

Service During Wartime:
(Number of Americans who served on active duty in each era)

WWI - 4.7 million
WWII - 16.1 million
Korea - 5.7 million
Vietnam - 8.7 million
Gulf War - 2.2 million
Post 9/11 - 4.0 million

Source: Department of Defense Personnel and Procurement Statistics Principal Wars in which the United States Participated - U.S. Military Personnel Serving and Casualties

For additional statistics see:

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2011/10/05/war-and-sacrifice-in-the-post-911-era/7/#chapter-6-a-profile-of-the-modern-military?src=prc-headline


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