Everything You Know About the Vietnam War Resistance Is Wrong
The Baby Boomers weren’t heroes
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 carrier 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 Americans took the streets, protested the unjust, expensive and bloody war and helped bring an end to it. 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 tossed kids into a meat grinder.
But that’s not what happened, not really. That’s just how Baby Boomers like to remember it. This week on War College, Bruce Cannon Gibney lays out the case against the Boomer’s collective memory in his new book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomer’s Betrayed America.
According to Gibney, almost everything we believe about the resistance to the Vietnam War is wrong. Boomers overwhelmingly supported the war … until they had to serve in it.
Worse, most who wanted to avoid the jungle could seek conscientious objector status but instead abused the deferment system. From dodging down to fragging to officer bounties, Gibney busts the myths of one of America’s favorite sacred cows.