My father had a low draft number and always told me he couldn’t see himself trudging through the jungle with a machete. It was the early ‘70s and Vietnam would be over soon, but young Americans were still dying in Southeast Asia. So dad joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Enterprise. Unlike a lot of the other men of his generation and demographic, dad did his duty.
While dad sweated on the Pacific Ocean and learned the joys of monsoon season, millions of other American men protested the unjust, expensive and bloody war and helped bring it to an end. The popular conception of that period is one of free love and political turmoil. It was an era when old men started unpopular wars and the righteous stayed behind.
But that’s not an accurate picture, according to this week’s War College guest, Bruce Cannon Gibney. He lays out the case against the Boomer’s collective memory in his new book “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America.”
Gibney shows Boomers overwhelmingly supported the war until they had to serve in it. Worse, most who wanted to avoid the war could seek conscientious objector status but instead abused the deferment system. From dodging down, class privilege to officer bounties, Gibney busts the myths of one of America’s favorite sacred cows.
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