August 31, 2006

Where are all the student war protests?

Andrew Rosenthal asks:
Student protesters helped drive Lyndon Johnson — in so many ways a powerful, progressive president — out of office because of his war. In 2004, George W. Bush — in so many ways a weak, regressive president — was re-elected despite his war. And the campuses were silent.

There was a brief burst of protest when America first invaded Iraq. But if there is a college movement against the war, it’s hiding pretty well. Vietnam never had the moral clarity that the 9/11 attacks provided to this generation’s war. But in Iraq that proved to be a false clarity, and a majority of Americans now say they oppose the war and no longer trust Mr. Bush’s leadership of it.
I've long wondered about this. I was a student on the University of Michigan campus from 1969 to 1973, and I've been here at the University of Wisconsin campus throughout the present era, so I have lots of strong first-hand perceptions. The atmosphere now is completely different. I walk through the main crossroads of campus -- the Library Mall -- nearly every day, and I see virtually no anti-war activity. I see some environmental efforts, as individuals with clipboards ask me if I "have a minute for the environment." (What kind of clod says "no"? You don't have one minute? No!)

By contrast, I saw 20,000 people gather in the Library Mall a few days after 9/11 for a memorial, and 800 people showed up this past weekend to demonstrate against an irrelevant bunch of fools who called themselves Nazis. But efforts to get an in-person anti-war demonstration going around here are amazingly unsuccessful. Here's a wan little display I photographed last November. If there were more things going on, I would photograph them, I assure you. I'm not seeing student speakers in the Mall trying to assemble an audience. Occasionally, some group tries to get something going with sidewalk chalkings and some music on the Mall, but students walk past, going about their own business. I am not seeing the outward expression anger and outrage among the students.

Rosenthal points to polls that indicate indicate that a majority of Americans oppose the war and don't trust Bush, but mere opposition doesn't necessarily translate into the kind of anger and outrage that we felt on campus in the Vietnam days. These polls may express a sad disappointment that things didn't turn out better or simply a statement of belief that we are not winning.

IN THE COMMENTS: As I expected -- it was in the Rosenthal piece too -- many say that the draft made the difference, but a set of multiple causes is developed in the comments.

It's interesting to see how many people think that today's would-be demonstrators are substituting internet activities. (That makes it so easy for people who want to ignore them to ignore them.)

I think a key point is that in the Vietnam era, young people romanticized the enemy and even imagined that its ideology might be an improvement on our bad old materialistic society. Communism seemed to fit with the Age of Aquarius. But Islamofascism is alien to American youth culture. I don't think many kids today are going around thinking: Would it really be so bad if the other side won?

Another good point is that a peace demonstration in the Vietnam era had big social and sexual benefits. It was fun and -- commenters keep saying -- a great place to meet women who had joined the sexual revolution. Going to a peace rally requires more anger and grim determination.

167 comments:

dearieme said...

It's not a conscript army now.

JohnK said...

Anne,

Could it be maybe the draft had something to do with it? I have always thought that the anti-war protesters in the 1960s were driven by to things; the desire to save their own asses from having to go, and the desire to have an excuse for a party. Now, the U.S. doesn't have a draft and no one has to go who doesn't want to. Shockingly, young people are still what they have always been; completly self absorbed in the fun of being young. I for one am glad to hear the college students these days have something better to do with their lives than make jerks of themselves for the "movement".

Dave said...

I was paroled from college in 1998, and, while we were not at war then, we nonetheless saw the folly of goverment and its practitioners up close and personal (hello, stained dress!)

Today's college kids, I surmise, have at their disposal a far greater array of information than did kids of previous generations, and, therefore, the youthful and naive idealism we saw in previous generations seems to dissipate rather too quickly for large groups of ideologues to do their thing.

The inefficiencies and inadequacies of government are laid bare, daily, in all manner of snarky blogs, news reports, etc. Apathy ensues, therefrom?

Plus, the lack of conscription, of course.

Slocum said...

Yes, both the draft and changes in the nature of war. There were hundreds of thousands of troops in Vietnam at the peak than there are in Iraq and, of course, soldiers died at a much greater rate.

Anthony said...

And the ones who do protest do so on the Web.

El Presidente said...

The USSR has saddly dropped its support for campus radicals.

Ann Althouse said...

Rosenthal's piece mentions the draft and I was going to call attention to it. It is the first explanation that's always given. It's certainly fair to say that we Boomers weren't really as idealistic as we liked to think we were.

El Presidente said...

The children of the 60's were the pinnacle of civilization. Ah how I pine for those days of socialist idealism.

altoids1306 said...

The Organization Kid (sub. required)

A great article in the Atlantic by David Brooks about the modern college student. And while it is part typical David Brooks caricature, it is mostly true.

The 60's movement would like to believe that the college campus is an everlasting fount of idealistic youth ready for conversion by the liberal faculty - but most college students these days are hardened by SNL/Jon Stewart/Colbert. While Bush is particularly set-up for unthinking ridicule, the ridicule of politics is more or less universal. Their eyes (my eyes too, perhaps) are trained on a professional career.

Another Thought said...

Could it be that they were all aborted 20-25 years ago??

Another Thought said...

I say that only half in jest. There's little doubt that today's students are more conservative than we were 30 years ago.

Dave said...

One other thing.

When I was in college I took a film class, and one of the films we saw was the documentary Medium Cool, of the 1968 political convention in Chicago.

The professor made the point that people who saw the movie/documentary for the first time had little else in the way of firsthand accounts of the events that unfolded, and so, their interpretation of Chicago and its reaction to protesters was colored by what they saw on film. Whereas, the professor argued (and this was eight or nine years ago) today's technology allows many more people to capture the zeitgeist.

Fritz said...

Ann,
The Soviet Union financed the civil unrest. That's why the pot heads in the 70's wrote the FISA laws to prevent the CIA from telling the FBI about these activities. Sort of like today the same leftist ideology to protect terrorists from the NSA. We late boomers are more conservative, our children love their country and the early Clinton type boomers raised lazy gen xer's, they don't make an effort to do anything, that includes protesting.

Mark the Pundit said...

Perhaps partly in jest, but here is my theory:

The 60's saw the Sexual Revolution, and from all the anecdotes told in movies and television shows about the period is that the guys followed the women for one reason: try to get laid. And all the cute girls were marching in the rallies, so the guys naturally showed up to show they cared about the cause.

Fast forward to today. Go to a Code Pink rally or another anti-war rally attended by females, and the attractiveness is just not there. Guys are not interested in trying to pick up chicks who do not shave their legs or underarms, so they stay away. And as a result, the crowds are dwindling.

Oh, there is also computer games now. heh.

Seven Machos said...

My basic premise would be that a substantial majority of students simply do not oppose it enough to protest it. Many are for it, or tacitly for it, or don't care.

One of the main thrusts of the 60s was "do your thing and wail with it." That's what kids are doing now: their thing, and wailing with it. Sorry it doesn't fit into the ossified vision of some old people.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Its the draft. Its not just that the Johnson-era protesters were trying to save their own asses. They were trying to save their brothers asses and their neighbors' asses and their friends' asses.

College students today are much more insulated from the effects of the war. Students tend to see college attendance as a sort of entitlement, an extension of high school. They're there because they're supposed to be in colllege at this age. And military service is almost like a separate, alternative track that puts the average college kid in a different and insulated social group from people who serve in the military. I imagine in the Vietnam generation there were fewer kids who felt entitled to a college education and a lot more people who were in college precisely in order to avoid the draft and those people might not have ever gone to college without that impetus.

There's also a cruel sense I've gotten from a few people that the sacrifices of a volunteer army are not as serious as those of a conscripted army because the volunteers assumed a risk when they decided to join. I don't know how widespread that feeling might be, but I'd guess its more likely to be present in people who are relatively insulated from the casualties of the war.

John Mosby said...

Professor:

Another spin is that you '60s protesters won!

That is, you transformed society so that the institutional means of participation are now truly open to all - minorities, women, 18-year-old voters, people of humble background, etc., etc.

A protester in the 60s saw old white men at the top of all institutions. A would-be protester today looks at the people in charge and sees a significant chunk of people who look like her.

Why take to the streets and incur the costs of civil disobedience when it seems like the system more or less works?

JM

Richard Dolan said...

Rosenthal's piece hits the mark only in noting the obvious: there is no mass protest movement, on campus or off, today. Self-interest is always relevant in understanding motivations, and thus the lack of a draft is undoubtedly part of the explanation. I think it is only a small part.

The Vietnam protests grew out of the larger context of social protests generally in the 60s. There is nothing like that today. Recall that the seminal events of the early 60s involved the civil rights movement, which drew on the deepest values of American democracy. The domestic civil rights movement was occurring at the same time, moreover, as the European colonies in Africa and elsewhere were gaining independence. Both the civil rights movement at home and the end of colonialism abroad resonated broadly throughout American society, and struck many as presenting a fundamental choice between right and wrong. The Vietnam protests were fueled in large part by the same sentiment, in that many had the same conviction that the war presented a fundamental choice between right and wrong.

In hindsight, it seems clear that the Vietnam war was a far more ambiguous historical event, and that the protesters were both naive and to some extent manipulated. But I think you can't understand the Vietnam protests unless you accept the fact that, for a large portion of the US population, there was a burning sense that a great moral injustice was being perpetrated in Vietnam at the time. As the 60s gave way to the 70s, the civil rights movement passed from the moral clarity of MLK's Dream, through riots, the Panthers and much more, into something very different, and that too fed into the Vietnam protests.

There is nothing like that today, and only a very small segment of American society views the Iraq war -- not to mention the larger struggle with Islamofascism generally -- as presenting such a clear-cut choice between right and wrong. Indeed, even the most poorly read college freshman is familiar, at some level, with the long history of attacks on US institutions and Western values generally. Except for the BusHitler crowd, that history makes the Iraq war a much more complicated story. Without that burning sense of the morally right vs. wrong, it's hard to imagine any mass protest movement gaining steam on or off campus in America.

Rosenthal's piece not only misses the mark in that respect, but becomes tendentious and obtuse when he goes looking for explanations. He says, for example, that "[t]his war is also largely hidden from American eyes," and imagines that "[t]he pressure to be silent is great." In what deep, dark cave has this man been hiding in? If that is what he sees, it seems to me that Rosenthal is observing the American scene with a glass eye and a tin ear. No wonder it all looks so strange and incomprehensible to him.

Telecomedian said...

Mark the Pundit - that's pretty funny, and part of that is true. I went to an animal testing protest because of a cute girl, and, if it helped get her naked, I'd have stormed Gilette's labs myself.

I'd say the draft had more to do with the protests then, and, as a semi-related subject - notice how we as a country keep getting fatter and fatter? How much of that is based on bad eating habits and lack of exercise, something conscripted military service can help change?

I wonder if there should be a new draft, if not for military service, but to at least get young people away from the chat programs and do some sit-ups.

J said...

"But because there is no draft — a fact that Graham Nash noted sardonically on Sunday night — no young person has to fear being conscripted into the fight. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Americans find it much easier to stay silent when there is no shared sacrifice"

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the protests in the 60's were about self absorbed jerks who didn't care about anybody but themselves, not the war.


"This war is also largely hidden from American eyes. Unlike Vietnam, when journalists were free to witness and record combat operations, the Pentagon controls access to American troops in Iraq and the images that come with it. The Pentagon banned press coverage of the flag-draped coffins returning home from Iraq"

How out of touch can a reporter be? Also, the "flag draped coffin" policy was in place long before this war:

"The Pentagon has refused to release those photos, saying it has begun enforcing a policy approved in 1991 intended to respect the privacy of the families of the dead soldiers."

Took me about ten seconds to find that. Here's the link:

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2004/10/05/suit_seeks_release_of_flag_draped_coffin_photos/

Is Rosenthal a liar or just stupid and lazy?

Jake said...

During the Vietnam war, many men who were not qualified or interested in college went to college to avoid the draft. The stress of staying in college made them very angry about society and the war. This anger radicalized them.

They should have flunked out but sympathetic professors passed them so the students would not go to war. Consequently, these radicalized students had plenty of time on their hands to create violence and mayhem.

Henry said...

I doubt it weighs much in the minds of college students, but there is the fact that after the success of the anti-war movement in the 70s in getting the U.S. to abandon Southeast Asia, what followed was the collapse of South Vietnam, the boat people refugee crisis, and the killing fields of Cambodia.

Psychologically, I wonder if activists are more likely to be radicalized by frustration at a political agenda that doesn't move fast enough than by anger at an agenda not their own.

madawaskan said...

You know forget the more important stuf this pisses me off-

I've long wondered about this. I was a student on the University of Michigan campus from 1969 to 1973.

What the hell is your skincare regime-out with it now!

As for my half-witted analysis as to why the protests aren't there, that has not been discussed, I'd say to Democrats you don't have HIPPIES ANYMORE because of-

STDs...

Sex sells-and admit it those 70's protests were a lot about sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Something like that-though I wasn't there-even though I look older than Ann.

Damn it.

Goesh said...

Who knows for sure? I suppose when the body count from Fallujah for instance tallies out at roughly 1500, the notion that we shouldn't be in Iraq is dulled somewhat when said dead are associated with the likes of the recently deceased zarqawi. I think a fair number on the Left have late night second thoughts on the value of killing them where found, but won't admit it. I suppose too a goodly number of undergrads indulge in violent video games and there is no need to be venting on the streets.

Stephen said...

As you mentioned Rosenthal covers the draft--if you look at people who have actually been to Iraq, though, there aren't many protests from those returning from it either. (There have been 100-150k at any one time and, for an outcry, there has been Sheehan--and that's about it.)

The most obvious difference is the body count. As much as Iraq sucks it's a fraction of Vietnam. The other is that people who now think the war was a mistake don't necessarily think leaving will help the situation.

However--say they did protest--I'd be surprised if Bush wound up giving it much thought and people on campus probably realize this. In the early 60s, students protesting the U.S. especially at an elite blue-blooded school were much more of a shock to anybody in power. Now, (at least for Republicans) we look at this as the sun rising in the morning. People will be able to say they protested, but no one among the Dems (I think) can really think it would change U.S. policy.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think there are several reasons:

1) College students are more informed about the war.

The 60s only had one media - the liberal media. Today most college students get their news from the internet, which is much more balanced. If the internet existed in 1968, the Tet offensive would not have been seen as a victory for the enemy.

2) No direct/correlation to the costs.

In 1968 and 1969, over 20,000 soldiers were killed in vietnam. This from a population of 200 million. Today there has been only 2500 killed in Iraq from a much larger population. Most people (especially those in the north-east and midwest) do not personally know anyone who has been killed in the war.

Further, because everyone is a volunteer, there is less of a moral issue. How do you complain about someones death when they volunteered... even if you oppose the war.

3). The polls on oppostion to the war are misleading. A majority of Americans still support the Iraq policy. They are just dissatisfied with the progress.

Joe said...

Draft aside, the war on terror (and I include Iraq) is not Viet Nam, despite that twits like Rosenthal assume them to be identical. The sense I had back then is that we were intervening in a civil war. Now, we have suffered an attack far worse than Pearl Harbor, the culmination of a series of attacks since 1979. My daughter was a college freshman in 2001 and saw how most students bristled at any suggestion by lefty profs that America was to blame. The "Question Authority" mantra turned around against those who preached it.

paulfrommpls said...

There really is a massive threat to the country these days. If you're pissed by the Iraq war, unless you're a conspiracy-minded moron who believes it was all done for Halliburton, at bottom it's a tactical disagreement. You don't stage massive marches over a tactical disagreement.

So maybe it's a sign that the large majority of college students are not conspiracy-minded morons.

Seven Machos said...

Joseph -- There's also a cruel sense I've gotten from a few people that the sacrifices of a volunteer army are not as serious as those of a conscripted army because the volunteers assumed a risk when they decided to join.

It's not that the sacrfice is any less serious. If anything, it's more serious. Here are people who volunteered to act bravely, to be heroes. But the fact is, when you sign up for military service, you sign up for potentially being killed in a war. That's what armies are for: war. That's one thing soldiers do: die in the interest of political objectives.

What's to protest about? Do we protest when barbers cut hair?

Sloanasaurus said...

Madawaskan makes an interesting point. I was in Madison during Gulf War I. While I supported that war, I admit that I attended various "No Blood for Oil" marches because I was offered free beer for the events. I remember one march that had people pulling wagons of beer. Regarding the 1960s... I suppose easy sex would have been even more compelling...

Seven Machos said...

I have to add here that P.J. O'Rourke originally proposed the very apt "protest for the hotties" theory. (Ken Kesey said, "Do your thing and wail with it.")

Joseph Hovsep said...

I don't know how much this might have permeated through to would-be protest organizers, but I've been party to some conversations about the cost-benefit ratio of organizating big protests. It seems like organizing mass protests is expensive and may not really yield much practical benefit in terms of changing policy, at least not as much as alternatives. I know Prof. Althouse cited other protests that could be perceived as less worthy targets, but perhaps there are fewer mass protests in general in this age of cyberactivism and media saturation.

SteveR said...

My daughter at 16 finds her teachers that come from that mindset amusing. She has a pretty good sense of why we are in Iraq and the choices being made. Everyone remembers 9/11 its not "one, two, three, what are we fighting for?"

They usually know people who have joined the military and respect them, they don't watch CBS either.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Seven: What's to protest about? Do we protest when barbers cut hair?

I'm not sure how to rationally respond to that. Putting men and women who volunteer to defend the country at unnecessary risk is worthy of protest in my opinion. You can disagree about whether the risk is unnecessary or whehter the war good or bad for our national security, but recklessly putting servicemembers--volunteer or not--at risk should be protested. I certainly hope most people and most-of-all our leaders view our soldiers as less expendible than overgrown hair.

hdhouse said...

i love revisionist history. least we forget...there were half a million troops overthere and the kill rate was 253 a week not 15 a week. we had a draft and when the student deferments were dispenses with in the form of a birthday lottery (causing a student who I witnessed, throw himself out a 14th floor dorm lounge window when he came up #4).

There simply is no comparison. Viet Nam was all consumming. It was a third of the news every night for 8 years. If you flunked out of college your draft board was notified and you were gone. end of story.

to assert that "college students are more informed about the war" (Iraq) is just silly. less than a third of college students can find it on a map.

to assert as: "Jake said...
During the Vietnam war, many men who were not qualified or interested in college went to college to avoid the draft. The stress of staying in college made them very angry about society and the war. This anger radicalized them.

They should have flunked out but sympathetic professors passed them so the students would not go to war. Consequently, these radicalized students had plenty of time on their hands to create violence and mayhem."

is this innane or what. where did you come up with this point of view? "the stress of staying in college...yadayada" angered them? "plenty of time to create violence and mayhem"?

these comments and this silliness cheapens 50000+ US dead...that's dead like in dead. it soils the 10 times that amount wounded.

it was a national cancer and you reduce it to a soundbite.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Meade said...

Remember that famous picture from the cover of Newsweek of the co-ed kneeling over the wounded student at Kent State? Recall that she was not in fact a Kent State student.

I think Jake and Henry have it exactly right: 1) no critical mass of angry radicalized faux students; and 2) the inchoate shame and revulsion that haunts most informed Americans (particularly, Boomers) aware of the genocide following U.S. military withdrawal in 1975, withdrawal that was a direct result of the student war protests.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Great thread.

I would like to know how many anti-war college students are reading Daliy Kos, etc every day. That would be telling.

My guess: lots of college kids are anti-war and lots of them read the blogs instead of protesting.

In a lot of ways protesting was, as all the anecdotes here imply, about joining a community, asserting fellowship, more than about protesting the war. Now you can get that online.

StrangerInTheseParts said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Certainly the draft has something to do with it (I was drafted in 1966). Back then, people never thought that the North Vietnamese Army or the Viet Cong would harm them in the USofA. Now, even if you don't support the war, in the back of a lot of minds is the simple fact that this enemy of today, could, and have killed a lot of people just minding their own business. Most students today understand how foolish they would look after a protest, if the next day a large amount of innocent people would be killed. A very real possibility.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave said "When I was in college I took a film class, and one of the films we saw was the documentary Medium Cool, of the 1968 political convention in Chicago. The professor made the point that people who saw the movie/documentary for the first time had little else in the way of firsthand accounts of the events that unfolded, and so, their interpretation of Chicago and its reaction to protesters was colored by what they saw on film. Whereas, the professor argued (and this was eight or nine years ago) today's technology allows many more people to capture the zeitgeist."

What??? The Chicago convention was completely on TV, along with the street demonstrations and riots. Don't you remember the demonstrators chanted "The whole world is watching"? We didn't need a movie to show us anything. And since the convention was on every channel and there was no cable, everyone saw it, and everyone saw the news from Vietnam too. So the lower tech of the era caused MORE people to see it. The convention was extremely dramatic to watch on TV, and the events went on for days, with tons of commentary from Walter Cronkite and that sort of highly trusted journalist. There are some images that are still very vivid in my memory, like delegates holding and rocking an American flag and singing "We Shall Overcome" to show their solidarity with the protesters, the horribly red face of Mayor Daley, and the police officer who hit a demonstrator one extra time with a nightstick after the guy was already in the police wagon in custody.

One thing about Vietnam was that many students thought the other side was morally superior and deserved to win. There's not a similar idea about Iraq. Young (and old) people today have no affection for the enemy. They see the danger, they just don't know how to deal with it. With Vietnam, young people romanticized the enemy and really came to see our soldiers as the bad guys. You see some tiny bit of that attitude today, such as with these 9/11 conspiracy folk, but I don't think it's common.

On skin care: As a person of freckles, I never laid around in the sun. I've never gotten a tan in my entire life. And no smoking.

Meade said...

Four [brain]dead in Ohio.

Bruce Hayden said...

I was there during that time, just as Ann was, only a year ahead of her. And though most would not admit it, it was the draft. As a draft aged male, esp. after all the deaths of 1967, 1967, and 1968, dying in a rice paddy in Vietnam for a mismanaged war was on all of our minds.

Of course, we wouldn't admit that that was what was driving our protests, because we were so idealistic. But the intensity of the war protesting was far away ahead of almost anything else, and I do believe our personal worries about the draft were what really motivated us.

Of course, it wasn't just protesting about the war. We had guys getting out on as COs, others finding the right docs, etc. The guys who managed to immunize themselves from the draft by some strategy or another were heros.

I think that another part of it was our collective guilt about getting out of the war. I was attending a fairly good small liberal arts school at the time, and we had the money and connections to often get out of the draft, or at least delay it until graduation, while we knew our less fortunate brethern were serving in our places.

Indeed, a large percentage of my male high school classmates (class of 68) who didn't go to college ended up in the military, and some died there. Whereas my timing was perfect for missing the draft - my 2S expired June of 1972, and I sat out the draft as 1A for maybe 3 months while troops were backing up in the U.S. that had been scheduled for deployment in Vietnam. And then, the draft was ended. They only got halfway to my lottery number that year, but I would have easily been drafted if I had graduated a year earlier with that number.

One interesting point about the protests is that they at least seemed the loudest, etc. after the death toll had peaked and had started to drop. If you looked at the protests, you would probably have assumed that the peak of the casualties was in 1970 or so, and not back in 1968 at the peak.

Doug said...

Strangerintheseparts beat me to it. I was going to mention the part about online bitchfests replacing marches in the streets. The ending of the draft probably accounts for most of the lack or protests, but I think social activism has moved from the streets to the web, mostly because it is easier to get a bunch of hippies to log on than it is to get them on a bus to DC on time.

Also, the few large anti-Iraq protests are even ridiculted by a lot on the left for becoming a forum for many different groups' pet projects (Puerto Rican independence, Free Mubia, Pro Castro elements) instead of focusing on the war. They also lined up with ANSWER, which is quite an embarassment to the left wing cause.

The small part of one rally I saw had some guy addressing a dwindling crowd as "comrades". If you want to start an anti war movement in America, cut out the communist rhetoric

Meade said...

Bruce Hayden said...
"... our collective guilt about getting out of the war"

well-deserved.

vnjagvet said...

I don't have anything much to add to this thread because so many of you have made the points that I believe correct.

I do think there are significant differences in today's war than the one being fought in the sixties. These differences make it difficult to organize mass protests because there is no constituency for them.

Afghanistan and Iraq are the two main battle points of a wider war the west is fighting against a group of nuts who use breathlessly brutal tactics.

While the US has led those two battle points, other countries in the west are engaged in this war in their own ways.

The Vietnam war, on the other hand, was a part of the cold war. On one side were the USSR and China who were unambiguously allied with North Vietnam and the Viewcong. On the other side were the non-communist countries of the west. Again, the US organized and provided the bulk of the military resources to fight in Vietnam.

In the 1960's, there was still a significant political strain in the US which was supportive of (or at the least not hostile to) international communism. This strain had money and organizational power in the sixties and used both to "help" the students organize the large demonstrations.

Today, there are few in the country which actively support the jihadists' goals.

reader_iam said...

Ann, I have a question about something which you touched in your post when you noted that you've seen "some environmental efforts." My question is: as many as you used to? What about other protests relating to issues that were ALSO being protested about over the years? I guess I'm trying to get at whether this is simply a more generalized phenomenon and if it has to do as much the personal priorities of students raised at and in a much different time.

Here's why I bring this up:

I've noticed this phenomenon, too, in my various travels, but most especially when I spend time back in Newark, Delaware, home to the University of Delaware. I lived in the town proper for many, many years, and smack dab in the middle of it, just a 14-second walk to Main Street for eight of those. I got very adept at dodging, as late as 1994, all kinds of petition drives, etc. Against war (GWI) and various military entanglements. Against the investments of one corporation or another. For or against one sort of development or environmental issue or another. Well, you know the gamut of standard issues. This was true throughout the year, even in summer.

This summer, in all the time I spent in downtown Newark over six weeks, wandering around taking pictures of change, I encountered exactly one petition-wielder (and I wasn't ducking, either, being curious).

One.

And he wanted my husband and me to sign a petition in support of permitting a WaWa convenience store to go into an empty building that once housed a CVS. (Btw, I remember when that CVS went in--and there was quite of bit of opposition to the "chaining" of Main Street, back then. What irony. Chains and upscale everywhere, now.)

Right across from that empty CVS (itself about 30 seconds from where I used to live) was a construction site, where the Stone Balloon used to stand (at one time, that place got some pretty darn well-known acts). Advertised on a billboard were the condos being built there, the one-bedroom version slated to start at 349,000. (I'll bet they're smaller than what my roomy apartment across the street was. Its rent was $350ish 12 years ago, utils included.)

Wow! Have things changed! When I discussed these two things (among other changes) with a few townies and a few lefties whom I still know from the old days, they were sort of...well, let's leave it at disgusted. But the younger people and students with whom I struck up conversation at various cafes? Didn't turn a hair (blonde, brown, purple or otherwise).

Now, UD never was the hotbed that UW was. But still. It was a college town, for crying out loud. There was no lack of teach-ins, displays, etc. etc. And compared to the rest of Delaware, at least, residents of Newark (proper) were definitely more left and progressive.

Somehow, your post and all of this is making me think of an article that appeared earlier this week in, of all places eWEEK, provocatively titled "Generation Y for Dummies."

Its purpose is to tell IT bosses about how the upcoming workforce is and will be different, and what managers and co-workers will need to know to cope with the change. But it's more interesting in the portrait it paints, for good and for ill.

Here.

Ann Althouse said...

Reader: It's a pretty standard WISPIRG effort. Not really getting weaker or stronger, I think.

JohnK said...

Bruce Hayden,

If I recall correctly, they changed the draft laws in the early 70s to severly limit colleges defferments. The fact that campus protests got so much more violent even though casualty numbers were falling and U.S. involvment was winding down is pretty damning evidence that the protests were all about the draft.

quietnorth said...

I agree with the points about the draft. No draft=no protest.

But don't students have a different relationship with ideology now as well? (a more skeptical one?) Students don't believe the government, but they don't believe its critics, either. Few buy into revolutionary solutions. They recognize they are a part of the system. They like what it does for them, in general.

monkeyboy said...

I'll try not to go over ground already plowed, I think most of the comments about non-support of the war not exacly equalling opposition to be true, Being born in 1967, I can't speak to the generational zietgeist of either the boomers as college students or todays youths.

Reader_jam spoke about the boomers being mad and the students being complacent. Might this be rebellion? A generation who have had boomer parents telling them theior entire lives they need to get radicalized and involved might not protest out of spite.

Jeff said...

"Where are all the student war protests?"

This is the same lament heard during Desert Storm. Perhaps a better question would be, why do Boomers in the media expect subsequent generations to follow them in their smug self-congratulatory ways? Far from being a rite of passage, student protests seem to be another phenomenon unique to the boomers. Or did I miss the history of mass sit-ins during Korea, WWII, WWI, the Spanish-American War, etc?

The real precedent for the student demonstrations of the Vietnam era was the Civil War draft riots. You know, the riots against dying to free other, darker people from a brutal system of slavery?

The students were more concerned with their moral preening than with the fate of the Vietnamese people. Witness the complete absence of post-war context whenever the sentimental paeans to the protesters are shown in popular culture. As far as they are concerned Vietnam ceased to exist once that helicopter took off from the embassy. Nevermind the boat people!

Fritz said...

Ann Wrote: One thing about Vietnam was that many students thought the other side was morally superior and deserved to win. There's not a similar idea about Iraq.

Are you kidding me? The protest of Vietnam was really the leftist anti-American crowd. The Daily Kos Moveon crowd is no different. Those guys hate the military, American influence and their greatest evil; capitalism! If the US succeeds in Iraq, the regional spread of commerce and freedom will be profound, especially for Africa. We can't have that, the US spreading freedom! Hey, like John Kerry said, communism is just another form of government to provide for felt needs of people. Every economic announcement about China is hailed as proof that communism can work. One Huff Post China lover even hailed China's economic growth by claiming the Chinese know economics better than Bush!

JohnK said...

http://www.kirotv.com/news/9765757/detail.html

It looks like some college age folks in Washington are getting into the 1960s spirit.

Joe Zwers said...

The 26th Amendment was passed in 1971, giving the college age students the right to vote. There was no longer a "no conscription without representation" issue. Prior to that point, they had no direct political power and so could only protest the actions of their elders. Once they achieved the right to vote, it gave them another avenue for changing the government, and an accompanying responsibility.

XWL said...

Why aren't students protesting?

Cause the vast majority of them have a tremendous revulsion of damn dirty hippies, and never would want to engage in any activity that might even begin to give the appearance of allegiance to that 'movement' (the freaks who go to Burning Man, excepted).

Otherwise, also, the internet, cel phones, video games, and everything else that allows folks to choose their own entertainment when they want it. Plus the internet allows for the protest minded to at least feel as if they are having an effect on the issues by participating in the discussion (even if it's a circular discussion with others of an identical mindset), something that before you would have to do face to face.

Folks who were young during the 60s are loathe to admit it, but I believe the main drivers for the protests were, conforming to the 'cool' crowd, getting laid, self preservation, and pure, simple entertainment.

Plus protesters were certainly never a majority of Americans, nor even a majority of young people (evidence 1972, Pres. Nixon won the 18-20 year old vote in the first election they could participate in).

The distortion of the past comes from the probability that though protesters in general didn't make up the majority of students from that time, they do make up a majority of those who later went into journalism and academia. Everyone they know now claims to have been part of the 'movement' back then, so of course they assume everyone else was the same way. A mighty case of selection bias at work.

SippicanCottage said...
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Glenn Howes said...

XWL said: "Cause the vast majority of them have a tremendous revulsion of damn dirty hippies, and never would want to engage in any activity that might even begin to give the appearance of allegiance to that 'movement' "

I was driving through downtown Nashua, NH today and saw a single anti-War protester standing vigil next to the store-front office of my district's congressman, Charles Bass (R). I've seen as many as a dozen camped there, but today it was only one.

You know, I wasn't intending to vote for Rep. Bass, who I consider one of the biggest RINOs in the House, but I sure do not want to vote on the same side as the Vermont hippies. So I think I will hold my nose and vote for the guy.

Sometimes, in politics, your enemies are more important than your friends.

Synova said...

I was hearing the same thing when I graduated from highschool and attended college. What ever happened to student activism? That was the early 1980's. It didn't take a war to prompt the question.

I think someone mentioned that around the time of the Vietnam War people were protesting *everything*. And granted some of those protests were certainly important, it seems to have been sort of a lifestyle.

And in the 60's the older generation was wondering why their children were acting so strangely. In the 80's the older generation was wondering why their children were acting so strangely. And in the 00's they are still wondering why, now that *surely* there is something to have big protests over, their children are acting so strangely.

But there have been some rather large demonstrations here and there. But it doesn't seem to be so much protesting for the sake of protesting anymore.

Aspasia M. said...

There's no draft.

There's no counter-culture mass social movement.

Some students have relatives over in Iraq or in the reserves. But many are not personally connected (through people they know) to the Iraq war. Nor do many intend to join the reserves or enlist after they graduate.

It's more of a abstract event.

The news is not an especially popular program to have on the dorm TVs. I don't think the events in the middle east are being followed that closely by the "average" student. (Quite frankly, the bar crawls that start here Thursday night are far more interesting to the average student on a everyday basis.)

This is not surprising to me. It's rather rare for 18-22 year olds to be very involved in politics or voting or what not. Voting rates seem to increase with age.

knoxgirl said...

I might be oversimplifying, but I basically agree with XWL: protesting was just trendy at the time, and not much more should be read into it.

Of course, students convinced themselves that they cared deeply about the "unjust" war, and certainly the draft helped them to care deeply about saving their own skin! But the sad truth is that none of these same people who screamed about the casualties of the war cared about the ensuing slaughter when the US pulled out.

So I don't think much stock can be put in the protestors' political or moral motivations, their own behavior doesn't warrant it.

Old Dad said...

I've got two college age kids. For them, hippies were something you dressed up as on Halloween, and old fat bald guys with pony tails were laughingstocks. I think the current college age generation see the sixties as somewhat of a joke. The current war does not touch most of them, and if it did, they'd want to rebel in a different way.

JohnK said...

Speakling of the 60s, Anne, how come you haven't posted a review of Modern Times yet? They say it is the best Dylan record since Blood on the Tracks. Considering how good Love and Theft was, that is a bold statement. I am surprised you haven't said anything about it.

Aspasia M. said...

Cause the vast majority of them have a tremendous revulsion of damn dirty hippies,

eh? The new freshman class of 18 year olds were born in 1988. They don't remember Regan or Bush 1. The Cold War has always been over, the Berlin Wall has always been down. They don't remember the congress before the 1994 election.

They've always had cell phones and the internet.

They are children of the 1990s.

Hippies from 1968 or the 1970s are part of history for them. (alternative kids generally don't call themselves hippies. Maybe a hipster.

Very rarely you'll see a "hippie" type but they are generally a throwback. Hippies are like historical artifacts, not a fact of college life.

It's more - hipster or skateboarder or some such.

a few years ago when I was still teaching, i had to explain the cold war to my class.

wow.

Ann should link to that list that comes out every year -- I think from Beloit college - that is put out to give teachers a touch stone of the new students.

SippicanCottage said...
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The Drill SGT said...

First my bono fides:

University of California 67-69, 72-74

US Army 69-72, 74-95
Vietnam May 70-May 71 (101st Airborne)

I left for VN 10 days after Kent state, and came back about 21 days after Kerry testified in Congress.

So I have seen war from both sides now.

XWL has it about right:

demonstrations were about the draft, being cool and getting laid.

I was a draft motivated volunteer, a defunct category now. I graduated in June 67 form HS, all of my class that didn't go on to college were in the Army by Tet 68, though not all were in VN.

68, for those who remember was a great year for acid rock and a bad year to be a Marine or an 11B

academia and the media are the refuge of all the 60's student activists

few students are personally impacted by the war, few of the elites know soldiers.

Glenn Howes said...

Everything todays young adult knows about hippies they learned from Cartman.

Cartman: Hippies.They're everywhere. They wanna save the earth, but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad.

Officer Barbrady: You can't just lock 63 people in your basement.
Cartman: They're not people, they're hippies!

Cartman: M'am, I'm here to check your house for parasites ... apparently, you have hippies.

Cartman: Drugs are bad because if you do drugs you're a hippie and hippies suck.

Cartman: Only three more hours, sea people. Only three more hours and you can take me away from this crappy goddamn planet full of hippies.

Cartman: I hate hippies! I mean, the way they always talk about "protectin' the earth" and then drive around in cars that get poor gas mileage and wear those stupid bracelets - I hate 'em! I wanna kick 'em in the nuts!

Cartman: Ma'am, I need to clear out your giggling stoners and your drum-cricle hippies RIGHT NOW, or soon they're gonna attract something much worse!
Elderly Woman: Ooooo.what's that?
Cartman: The college know-it-all hippies.

Paddy O. said...

In addition to the excellent points about Vietnam and Iraq being a false comparison I think it's also dissipation of passions. In the 60s, there were a lot of representations of Authority, and not a lot of avenues of expressions. The Democrats were the ones who got us into Vietnam, so there wasn't a clear political avenue. Professors and administrators were from the WWII generation, meaning they had a more inherent trust in authority and leadership. And generally, there was no avenue of widespread self-expression. Protesting of that sort was a build up of all sorts of passion that couldn't be released.

Now, there is a distinctively anti-war party, meaning a person can find quite legitimate political involvement as a way of expressing disapproval (take Lieberman's loss for example). Professors are generally liberal, and so agree in class with those who would otherwise protest. How do you protest at a university when the profs and administration will be holding hte signs next to you. That's fairly disheartening for a young protestor to be surrounded by those with gray hair and oddly shaped bodies.

There's the internet for self expression, and there's political discussion that has no boundaries. Kids who protest almost certainly come from parents who protested. With this all, a person can spend a whole insulated life and find nothing but people who agree with them about how bad things are.

There are too many other, more effective, ways of initiating change than to protest, and there are a lot of good reasons why someone wouldn't, namely we're all about making money these days. Even the idealists and folks who disagree with the war would rather get a professional degree than wander around the streets.

Protesting, in a very strong way, is a last ditch effort to make change begin. And it takes getting to the very end of other avenues to break through the all too natural laziness and self-absorbtion of any in their late teens and early twenties.

Plus, we have video games now.

hdhouse said...

"protesting was just trendy at the time"????

what coolaide are you drinking..for that matter...so many of you.

that is simply classic misinformation and as literate (sic) people you frankly should know better.

dare you forget context? vietnam with an administration that freely admits (now) to having completely fabricated the "progress" and the "successes", nixon and imperial presidency, wholesale spying on US citizens, fbi files on "subversives or polital enemies", enemy lists for god's sake, king, robert kennedy, wallace for president (segregation now - segregation forever ilk), civil rights murders (mississippi burning).... and someone thinks that several million people turning out in washington was "trendy".

it is that kind of object stupidity (no sugar coating that one tootsie) that should, as a nation, make us weep for the state of our youth.

MadisonMan said...

Most people (especially those in the north-east and midwest) do not personally know anyone who has been killed in the war.

I've written this before, but it apparently needs to be repeated: Wisconsin (in the midwest, by the way) has one of the highest per capita death rates for soldiers in Iraq. The idea that people don't know patriots who have died is lunacy.

Revenant said...

Student protests against the war began when the college deferment from the draft was lifted, and disappeared once the draft was no longer a threat. It was never about the war -- just about the threat of the students, or their friends, family, or boyfriends, being drafted.

You don't see much in the way of campus protesting now because the war is being fought by volunteers and paid for by taxes the students aren't paying yet. So there's no cost to the students.

Eli Blake said...

Interesting question.

Earlier this year we had upwards of 100,000 on the streets in Phoenix (not generally a hotbed of radicalism) to protest the house immigration bill, and that was on the same day that there were also 30,000 on the street in Tucson and even larger demonstrations in other cities including L.A. (a full million.) And it's not true that the people who were out demonstrating were all themselves undocumented immigrants, I had plenty of friends who participated (though I was unable to). And it worked-- the immigration legislation that was supposed to sail through Congress stalled and now they are talking about something a bit more humane.

So it's not that people don't get out and protest anymore, it's just that the people organizing it tend to focus on different things.

The Drill SGT said...

Eli,

Interesting observation. And of course it was ANSWER this spring, and its roots are from the anti-war hard left.

kmg4 said...

The fifth column is only 8-10% of the US population. College students may oppose Iraq to be fashionable, but fashion does not require a lot of effort, thus the anti-war protests are not of interest to them.

BJK said...

Very rarely you'll see a "hippie" type but they are generally a throwback. Hippies are like historical artifacts, not a fact of college life.

Geoduck -- I'm guessing you haven't spent that much time on the Madison campus....and leave it at that.

Glenn Howes -- thanks for the Cartman quotes! That was just a hilarious episode, which itself pokes fun at the ineffective nature of the leftist protest / music fest. (God Bless Comedy Central - between 'Daily Show' liberals and 'South Park' Republicans, who needs C-Span?)

JorgXMcKie said...

j, why can't Rosenthal be a lazy and stupid liar?

hdhouse (is that a contraction head-house? Where all the hippies hang out?) you give the 60s protesters way too much moral credit. At least the ones I was around in 67-69. Sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, and draft avoidance, not necessarily in that order. I know one guy that ate his way to 400 pounds and *still* got drafted.

My take, some 40 years later is that protesting was not 'trendy' in the sense we think of it today, it was 'trendy' in the sense of following what appeared to be a useful trend.

I really remember the Civil Rights marches and protests and sit-ins and such, and a great many people who would never have thought of joining 'The Cause' basically agreed with the moral argument: we're either all Americans with all the rights and benefits that implies, or we're not.

However, some people mistook that (I think) to mean that any Cause they believed was moral, was indeed the moral and right Cause and everyone should support them. Well, a lot of Vietnam protests were only about morality in the sense that not everyone had the same likelihood of getting drafted. When that was fixed, the protests and such died down. Cause, meet effect.

Today, a smallish number of people (some of the posters here today, it would seem) are convinced that opposing the war (or occupation) in Iraq, is not only a big moral Cause, it's one they're obviously on the correct side of, and thus, college students (and others) should immediately recognize this and swell the numbers of protesters.

Unfortunately for the anti-war folk, a huge majority evidenlty doesn't see the war as a moral problem, but a political or tactical one. Thus, very few people in the streets.

We do not turn out, in this country, in large numbers for purely political or tactical arguments. I think this is one reason the MoveOn.org and Kossacks turn off the very people they should be appealing to. They are deliberately (if maybe unknowingly) conflating moral, political, and tactical arguments in an effort to gain a political edge that can then be used to *impose* their moral priorities.

That's the big difference between the 60s protests and today's. Not many really see opposition to the war in Iraq as either a moral question or as directly damaging their lives. Thus, low numbers.

Seven Machos said...

hd house -- I hate to break it to you, but you are wrong on virtually everything you just wrote.

vietnam with an administration that freely admits (now) to having completely fabricated the "progress" and the "successes"... Where to begin? The Tet Offensive was a massive military failure for North Vietnam. The biggest problem that the United States had throughout the war was its self-imposed limitations in fighting it. Furthermore, Nixon ended Vietnam. Kennedy and Johnson began it. The next president (or the next one after that) may have to end the Iraqi occupation. I wonder: if it's a Democrat, will he or she be lambasted the way Nixon was lambasted?

imperial presidency Why is it that Republicans always have imperial presidencies? Why is it that Democrats who have and wield the same or greater power are not labeled as "imperial"?

I could go and on about your
warped and strange worldview, but no one reads long rebuttals. The fact is, hd, if the boomers were so great, why are hippies and protestors such laughingstocks? You'd think they'd be revered. Or is it just these kids today? What's the matter with them? Why can't they be like the hippies were? Speaking truth to power and avoiding the draft so that the sons of construction workers would have to fight instead of them.

The Drill SGT said...

LOL, 7M,

I was giving HDHouse the benefit of the doubt since he must have been talking about those Democratic imperial presidents who got us into the war and on who's watch most of the dying took place. Wallace was a Democrat, as were most of the KKK. King and Bobbie were spied on by Democrats and murdered while a Democrat was president (one by a Palestian radical). I thought Nixon was a lying SOB, even before he became president (I'm a Californian, we knew dickie) but Nixon didn't hold a candle to the abuses of Johnson. Johnson however had a more competent spy master in Hoover and didn't get caught.

peterike said...

A brief addendum to the "protesting to get laid" theory (indeed part of the picture). In the 60s, the "loose girl" was a fun new thing. Most of the girls still had their 50s values intact, and it took effort to get them in the sack. But those hippie girls... they were easy.

On campus today, everyone is easy. Casual sex is rampant, expected and in reach of even the dorkiest. Young males don't need to attend protest marches to find out who's willing. They only have to look at the girl next to them in class.

Seven Machos said...

Yeah, I'm no big fan of Nixon, either. I just get sick and tired of hearing melodramatic "conservative bad/progressive good" tripe.

Good call on the Dixiecrats being Democrats and Hoover, Sarge. And so succinct!

Revenant said...

And it worked-- the immigration legislation that was supposed to sail through Congress stalled and now they are talking about something a bit more humane.

Um, the reason the legislation stalled is that it contained a thinly-disguised amnesty for illegals, so anti-illegal-immigration Republicans torpedoed it. The protests had nothing to do with it -- indeed, polls indicated that the protests had the effect of strengthening opposition to illegal immigration, since they gave an impression that illegal immigrants feel a sense of entitlement that they quite frankly have no business feeling.

John Lynch said...

Two things- no draft, and protesting isn't cool. Old people protest.

There were so many street protests over essentially nothing for the last 30 years (the whole lifetime of today's college students) that they are now meaningless. Marches for this and that movement of the moment dissipated the power they may have once had.

Also, I don't think most people think very highly of the 60s and 70s war protests. They are associated with defeat and disrespect for the military. Even liberals seem ambivalent about them as a positive force.

Seven Machos said...

Yes, without question, regarding immigration: no one is working on anything remotely less humane. We are either going to see business owners fined or in jail or the Great Wall of Texas and Arizona. In a perfect storm, we may get both.

Anyone who thinks differently hasn't been paying attention to, you know, facts and stuff.

Tristram said...

"Oh, there is also computer games now. heh."

John Madden Football and World of Warcraft killed the protest!

Well, I'd put ESPN in that category, too. If I had ESPN when I was in college, I probably woulnd't have graduated. And I KNOW I wouldn't have graduated if I'd had Sunday Ticket...

And of course, Survior, Lost, American Idol all suck up soooooo much emotion and brain power from that group of kids. I mean, I think more pople protested FOR KISS getting into the Rock Hall of Fame than I have seen war protestors...


There is just so much more interesting things that protesting, Plame/Rove, Kerry's Magic Hat (well, that was kinda interesting, but didn't last as long as AYBABTU).

Revenant said...

Yes, without question, regarding immigration: no one is working on anything remotely less humane

Well, Bush would like something along those lines. But Republican voters made it pretty damned clear that the Republicans can forget about control of Congress if they even think about it. And even if the Democrats somehow retake both Congress and the Presidency, unless they get a filibuster-proof majority there isn't going to be an amnesty or a "path to citizenship" or any of that other crap.

After all, it isn't anti-illegal forces who need news laws passed; it is pro-illegal forces who do. The federal government already has all the powers it needs to crack down on illegal immigration -- it just doesn't actually use them.

Fenrisulven said...

Lots of good answers, but another drawback these days is that fascist groups like ANSWER gobble up all the permits and bully the events in their direction.

Guess it would be like having the Black Panthers hijack every 60's march.

Its funny to wacth the appeasement weasels supllicate before ANSWER though. Serves em right.

Meme chose said...

There's another reason.

Kids in college in the US today are even more privileged that their forebears, and are pretty aware that they are just about the most subsidised people on the planet. They also lead, most of them, pretty much of a party existence. They know they would look ridiculous telling the rest of us how to run the country.

El Mas Chingón said...

Bring back the draft, they'll bring back the protests.

Henry said...

fbi files on "subversives or polital enemies", enemy lists for god's sake, king, robert kennedy

I don't follow. Are you mad that Robert Kennedy gave the FBI permission to wiretap Martin Luther King?

Or are you just singing a Billy Joel song?

Da Man said...

There are lot more distractions these days for college-age kids. Most of them have already been mentioned: internet, video games, 500-channel cable TV, Starbucks, cell phones, etc. In my days, it was bowling or network TV for entertainment. I also don't think the war directly affects most kids these days, aside from the 2-hour lines at the airport. Thus, the messages sent by the anti-war elites in the press and academia have to compete with Lara Croft, iced mocha and that text message from the boyfriend/girlfriend.

The actions of the jihadists also doesn't help the left-wing, too. Most kids don't accept the moral righteousness of suicide hijackers and bombers.

quietnorth said...

I am not sure the word "trendy" actually explains anything, other than restating the obvious-that people protested at one time-a trend-and that trend stopped. Like this: If I asked "why did it stop raining?" and you replied "because it was a brief rain"

knoxgirl said...

Hd, explain to me at what point the righteous hippie protestors of the 60s and 70s flooded the streets to protest the slaughter of 2 million Cambodians and I'll concede.

I will grant you that those who demonstrated for civil rights were at least showing up for a noble and good cause. But my comment specifically addressed the Viet Nam protestors, since that's what Ann's post is about.

Aspasia M. said...

A brief addendum to the "protesting to get laid" theory (indeed part of the picture). In the 60s, the "loose girl" was a fun new thing.

uh - sorry, but i just have to step in here:

The phrase a "sporting" woman wasn't invented in the 1960s.

Commercial entertainment through the 19th century tended to involve a lot of sex. Theatre had to be, uh, made kind of respectable because the third tier was regularly full of sporting women.

"Beer-jerkers", concert saloons, music halls, theatres, the brothel, the furnished room districts, treating, amusement parks, the early movie theatres (sitting in the dark people!), the invention of the car!,...ect., ect.
---------------

The significant and surprising protests this year were all over immigration. I will be curious to examine the demographic breakdowns of Nov.'s vote.

knoxgirl said...

qn:

"Trendy" is often used to explain the phenomenon of a whole bunch of people (usually young people)specifically behaving in a certain way--whether that means buying a certain brand of jeans or becoming vegetarians-- because they perceive that the cool kids are doing it, and they want to be cool.

(Perhaps you were being sarcastic or something, but I thought I'd explain it just in case.)

R.T. Reeves said...

The college age and recent college grads I know are considerably more conservative than I am -- but many don't care about politics. I'm 31 and grew up at the tail end of the cold war and that left me with a life long interest in politics. However, my girlfriend is 23 and is a recent engineering grad. She could care less about politics. Yet, when I ask her questions on a particular issue, she comes in a far more conservative than me (and I consider Reagan my 3rd grandpa). Regarding the war, my girlfriend and her friends are supportive of their friends who have volunteered to go over but don't see terrorism as a huge threat -- more of a nussance from a bunch of idiots. There is no fear like what I had during the 80s with the Soviets.

jjorsett said...

I'll tell you why there aren't massive anti-war demonstrations on college campuses these days: no draft. I'm convinced that was the primary motivator in the '60s.

nunzio said...

RT,

I felt the same way about the Soviets until I heard Sting's the "Russians." That song put me back to Defcon 5.

Coco said...

"explain to me at what point the righteous hippie protestors of the 60s and 70s flooded the streets to protest the slaughter of 2 million Cambodians and I'll concede."

At what point did any group of Americans do this....or even care for the most part? This "point" can't be used to undermine the moral legitimacy of any particular group without doing the same for all Americans, no?

Jeremy said...

What Cartman on South Park says about Hippies is actually pretty much the opinion of the people who made South Park, which in turn is actually fairly representative of the opinion of a lot of Generation Xers who grew up in the 70s and saw how disgusting and dirty and annoying hippies were.

The only people who like hippies are the nostalgic baby boomers. And maybe a small segment of stoners, who make up today's modern hippies. But they are too busy getting stoned and twirling around at concerts to do anything constructive.

Soldier's Dad said...

A few reasons-

No one today is in college as a mechanism to avoid the draft.

The percentage of Americans affected directly by the war is miniscule. Everyone knew someone who was killed or maimed in Vietnam.

The American Communist party pretty much collapsed in the Reagan years, so there really aren't any large, well organized groups to stir the pot.(There are plenty of groups, but if one looks close, it is the same 12 people)

The Democrats owned both congresses of congress, so the debate was between the left and the hard left.

Sl0re said...

Whether it is conscious or not, maybe because most of don’t see it as a war.

As far as I can see, the war ended in a couple weeks. Since then it has been an occupation / reconstruction / peace keeping effort.

The Bush people call it one to try to spin Iraq into the ‘war on terror’. The other side, to try to put all the deaths over there at Bush’s feet (by covering them under a ‘war’ umbrella).

Of course, No Blood for Peace Keeping doesn’t quite have the same ring of self righteous moral outrage as war related slogans….

Good Ole Charlie said...

Another factor that backs up the sex angle: the introduction of The Pill and a sort of hiatus before AIDS.

As I - er - remember it, The Pill did more than a stiff drink to loosen inhibitions. Although stiff drinks helped...

So there were The Chicks, primed with The Pill and looking for some action. As someone remarked, Prime Chick was rebelling against Mom by sex and against Dad by political action.

Perfect Storm Time: go to a rally about anything and see what you can pick up. With a small effort and knowledge of the words to "We Shall Overcome", a - er - pleasant evening and afterwards was almost guaranteed.

It worked often enough...heh.

Eli Blake said...

seven machos:

We may see people going to prison for illegal employment.

What the protests were largely about was the language in the house bill that would have begun locking up people who had no documentation and putting them in prison.

And I live in a border state, so I know what the issues are and yes I've been paying attention. The marches this spring (which were definitely on a scale that matched anything in the 60's) ended talk of deportation of people who are already here and moved us more towards a guest worker program.

4virginia said...

ann have you checked with or asked anybody how easy it is to get up on a soapbox and start yelling through a bullhorn to draw a crowd? Try it yourself about social security reform or something. I know that the university of x founded by somebody who wrote the d of i would have you busted in a hippie/sds minute if you tried that stunt. they have a free=speach zone about as big as a hot dog stand and the students just walk on by,

Tim works said...

I think the lack of a large protest movement is mainly due to the fact we were attacked and had thousands of people killed on 9/11. The people who we are fighting in Afganistan, Iraq and god knows where else are such inhumane cruel scumbags that most people simply want them killed no matter what the cost. Wheather they are Bathist or jihadist, there is nothing to even remotely sympathise with such people or there evil ideologies. While many think Iraq was a strategic and moral mistake, Saddam was such a creul tyrant very few people are upset about his demise. As it has become clear that we are not in Iraq to steal thier oil but to remove a tyranical dicator and try to improve there lives, its hard to oppose that with passion and protests. Add the fact that Jews, Christains and Hindus are being blown up on a daily basis by Islamic facists and even the dimmest liberal understands (they wont admit it) the threat we face. The lack of a draft is another major factor.

knoxgirl said...

At what point did any group of Americans do this....or even care for the most part? This "point" can't be used to undermine the moral legitimacy of any particular group without doing the same for all Americans, no

You're right, they didn't. But the protestors were the Americans who *claimed* to want peace and to end death and violence, so in my opinion it totally undermines their moral legitimacy. How can it not.

Revenant said...

"protest the slaughter of 2 million Cambodians and I'll concede."

At what point did any group of Americans do this....or even care for the most part?

Well, the popular left-wing myth of the Vietnam protests is that the protesters were shocked and horrified at the horrible things that were being done to the Vietnamese.

You're right that Americans have never taken to the streets in huge numbers in solidarity with mistreated foreigners. The point is, we didn't do that during Vietnam, either. The protests weren't about the Vietnamese; they were about 20-year-olds not wanting to get shot and killed in some godforsaken backwater they didn't care about.

Joseph Hovsep said...

So much hippie hatred in this thread! You know, the South Park episode that has been lauded by the anti-hippies is actually making as much fun of the hippie-haters as it is of the hippies themselves. The hippies are portrayed as ineffectual and annoying, whereas the hippie-haters are made fun of for taking themselves and the hippies way too seriously, which characteristics seems to be on display in full force in this comment thread. They're just commie tools propped up by the USSR! They hate America! They hate our soldiers! I saw one hippie protesting a Republican so I won't vote for the Democrat! Their reckless pot-smokin' and tofu-eatin' caused genocide in Southeast Asia (um, maybe the U.S. presence there in the first place had something to do with it?)!

Da Man said...

Most students in SF can easily see the hypocracy of today's anti-war movement. When the protesters stop screaming "No Blood for Oil", they go home to lily-white Marin County by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge in their non-union-made minivans and SUVs (no carpooling, of course). Then they relax in their fossil-fuel heated/cooled homes and have their illegal immigrant maids fire up their charcoal barbeques for dinner.

What a bunch of losers.

Revenant said...

ann have you checked with or asked anybody how easy it is to get up on a soapbox and start yelling through a bullhorn to draw a crowd?

I see people screaming to draw a crowd almost every day when I go to get lunch. Sometimes I leave them a dollar to buy some lunch or a fresh bottle of Thunderbird Fortified Wine. :)

In all seriousness, leading a protest undoubtedly does some guts. So does bungee jumping. Personally, I think both activities are about equally useful, and neither particularly inspires me to look up to its practitioners.

knoxgirl said...

maybe the U.S. presence there in the first place had something to do with it?

perfect!

Revenant said...

Their reckless pot-smokin' and tofu-eatin' caused genocide in Southeast Asia (um, maybe the U.S. presence there in the first place had something to do with it?)!

In the sense that maybe the moon landing was faked and maybe aliens killed Kennedy, I guess...

T J Olson said...

IT'S NOT JUST THE ABSENCE OF A DRAFT

it is the fact that military morale is high.

Living in Colorado, I meet Iraq vets, Air Force Academy students, Ft. Carson Special Forces, and Peterson Air Force Base workers.

The difference today is that Iraq is only on front ins the GWOT, and there are many others. And even in Iraq, people are not donvinced of its hoplessness, and nor is the home-front hostile to veterans, like during Johnson and Nixon eras.

THE PROBLEM for anti-war forces is that leaving Iraq solves less and creates more obvious problems, unlik ein Vietnam. In the latter war ther was no vital economic interest like ois involved there. In Iraq, there is.

POSITIVE MORALE combined with VITAL ECONOMIC INTEREST makes this era different. And when people bother to think things though, REAL TERROR SECURITY INTERESTS are also undeniably apparent.

This time will never be like Vietnam was.

hdhouse said...

Revenant said...
Student protests against the war began when the college deferment from the draft was lifted, and disappeared once the draft was no longer a threat. It was never about the war -- just about the threat of the students, or their friends, family, or boyfriends, being drafted.

ohmygod. try facts instead of rush limbaugh. Please. you have topped knoxgirl for ...god knows what to call it...totally wrong? completely misinformed? no basis in fact? utterly stupid?

how old are you? can you read?

i'm sure you realize that kent state happened AFTER we went to a lottery type draft...or didn't you bother to even fact check that out?

the gods weep in shame.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Their reckless pot-smokin' and tofu-eatin' caused genocide in Southeast Asia (um, maybe the U.S. presence there in the first place had something to do with it?)!

In the sense that maybe the moon landing was faked and maybe aliens killed Kennedy, I guess...


I don't think this is a controversial point. The same issue applies to the U.S. presence in Iraq. The U.S. presence has eliminated Saddam Hussein, but it has undeniably had the secondary unintended effect of vastly increasing sectarian violence and international terrorism in the country. Likewise, its undeniable that, whatever positive effect the long-term U.S. presence in Southeast Asia might have had, it also caused substantial social and economic disruption and radicalization of it opponents. The point is that critics of U.S. military adventures in Vietnam or Iraq cannot be held responsible for the effects when the military eventually and inevitably pulls out. At some point we have to leave, at some point we have to either declare victory or withdraw and "victory" can never be achieved in any final or stable sense in the context of sectarian strife and guerrilla warfare. After decades in Vietnam it never happened. Are the people in this thread really suggesting that if we just occupied Vietnam for a few more decades things would have worked out well?

Harry Eagar said...

fritz sez: 'The Soviet Union financed the civil unrest.'

It was self-financing, except that real property taxes and sales taxes paid for stupid cops and stupider pols, who created conditions bad enough to be restless about.

Well, except for that brick of gold,the tin of caviar and the little bag of industrial diamonds I was paid for marching with the SCLC.

hdhouse said...

I've now read this thread from beginning to end. Frankly it contains an entire set of rightwing foolishness.

nixon was impeached for an array of affronts to law that it was horrifying.

people did protest against the war. specifically against the war. millions of people felt deeply that it was criminally wrong and misguided. macnamara himself stated that there was massive misinformation, delinquent planning, political interference and a raft of errors that, over the course of the entire episode, brought much of this nation to a moral halt.

if some of you in your incredibly simplistic and ideological ranting reduce protests to a bunch of 20 y.o.'s who didn't want to go fight then you are petulently dismissive of female protestors, who, and perhaps you will even look it up, WERE NOT DRAFTED, were not going into the armed forces and had, other than emotional commitments to the males who were being drafted, had no axe to grind other than the pure passion of hatred of the war and its impact on this country and millions of innocents throughout the world.

hoover ran a virtual secret political police. the stupidity of the dixiecrat comments are appalling. yes they were democrats until - yes until the civil rights act by yes Johnson - and these southern democrats couldn't support giving blacks the vote so they walked out of the democratic party and joined...WAIT FOR IT...drum roll....THE REPUBLICAN PARTY which had no problems whatsoever in trying to supress the blacks, voting and otherwise.

What is most appalling about this thread is the complete lack or awareness of history. It is like non-existent in some of you.

How the hell can you be, and I fear many of you are, lawyers who represent people with cases and issues that flow directly from legislation passed and generally debated and formulated during this era? How can this be?

Don't you remember Nixon's "secret plan to end the war" (talk about cut and run) but there was NO plan. That NIXON was elected in 1968 and the war dragged on longer after he was elected president than it ran before he was elected president.

Last, some of you reduce the entire decade to a few petulant academicians and hippie-freaks who would rather break a window than go to class. That is a priceless display of intellectual sloth as seen by these eyes in lo so many years.

No wonder there is a Bush as president. I now worry less about some poor fool voting than a gaggle of historically braindead zealots raiding the ballot box.

Clioman said...

I remember the 'days of rage' in '68. At the time, I was in my early 20s and serving in the Navy to beat the draft. Myy buddies and I watched the television coverage with disbelief....we were rooting for the cops, mainly because those long-haired, dope-smoke creeps were getting all the women. Now, I'm older, more mature, and have considered my political positions more carefully....and that's why I still root for the cops.

Fenrisulven said...

hdhouse: I've now read this thread...contains an entire set of rightwing foolishness...nixon was impeached for -

Nixon was not impeached. Not in this reality. Maybe you read that wrong too....

Fenrisulven said...

Are the people in this thread really suggesting that if we just occupied Vietnam for a few more decades things would have worked out well?

3,000,000 Cambodians would say so, if they weren't dead.

Look, we have North Vietnameese officers on tape admitting that the war was lost and they were waging a propaganda war against Americans at home to weaken our resolve and make us quit.

Same thing is happening today. Terrorists blow up Americans and Iraqis for the media -> media sensationalizes the clip back home -> Democrats go on CNN and talk about quagmires and retreat -> Omar in Iraq catches this on CNN international and wonders if its wise to throw his lot in with the Americans. Will he be betrayed like the Kurds were? He stops cooperating with US forces.

This is a propaganda war. Their target is America's weakest link - you.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Fenrisulven, you're living in a fantasy world. If we couldn't establish a self-supporting pro-West regime in Vietnam in 20+ years there, we were not going to be able to by staying another decade or two and losing tens of thousands more American lives.

Coco said...

"You're right, they didn't. But the protestors were the Americans who *claimed* to want peace and to end death and violence, so in my opinion it totally undermines their moral legitimacy. How can it not."

Under your argument America's desire to spread peace and democracy and save the lives of future Iraqi's on the whole by deposing Saddam Hussein is stripped of its moral legitimacy if America does not put forth the same effort to prevent the genocide in Darfur.

Hayek said...

During the 60's communism was still much alive,serving as the opiate of the intellectuals and led by the USSR.Their clandestine services put ours to shame and they funded much of the organized protest here and in Europe. Many of the leaders of the student protests were "red diaper babies" whose parents had trained them well in the religion of totalitarian communism.Though belief in the socialist millenia is still thriving in the academy, thankfully there is no significant state support for this and thus a major engine of protest is not available in the 21st century. The sorry remnants survive in groups such as ANSWER and the aptly named Code Pink.

RichBrlsnFan said...

I work with a lot of "kids" in their 20s. They are focused on having good jobs so they can take care of their families and have nice things, which is exactly what their parents did after hanging out for awhile, gettin' high and gettin' laid. It's hypocritical to expect them to do otherwise.

These kids are respectful and generally supportive towards their peers who now serve in the military. I have solicited donations for soldier support causes from them and never get a no or I'll get back to you, even from those who have voiced opposition to Bush or the war. I think this is because they know that those in the military are serving a cause greater than their own self interest, whatever one may think of that cause otherwise. It's probably hard to think the same thing about one's self while sitting at a desk in an air-conditioned office trying to decide whether to go for sushi or barbecue at lunch.

Fenrisulven said...

Fenrisulven, you're living in a fantasy world. If we couldn't establish a self-supporting pro-West regime in Vietnam in 20+ years there, we were not going to be able to by staying another decade or two and losing tens of thousands more American lives.

We did it in Japan. And Germany. The difference is we didn't have to simultaneously fend off traitorous selfish weasels in our own country.

A vibrant and prosperous Democratic Iraq is the keystone to reforming the entire middle east. Reform is the only long-term solution to destroying Wahhabi Islam.

If we lose Iraq, the war will come to us, in our very backyards. If so, as former Marine, I will take perverse satisfaction in watching the appeasement weasels beg for mercy under the Jihadist sword.

Peter said...

How many of these kids in college today went to school with the children and grandchildren of the Boat People? For that matter, given that we have to discriminate against Asian kids or they totally take over the U, how many ARE these children and grandchildren?
Perhaps the kids in school today know that the antiwar movement was a great steaming pile of fresh bovine excrement.

Fenrisulven said...

Under your argument America's desire to spread peace and democracy and save the lives of future Iraqi's on the whole by deposing Saddam Hussein is stripped of its moral legitimacy if America does not put forth the same effort to prevent the genocide in Darfur.

No. Our desire to spread democracy in Iraq is based on self-interest. We have to reform the Middle East to prevent the rise of a nuclear-armed Islamic Caliphate. We have to show the suicide bomber another way. We have to reform his civilization or he will tear ours down.

Darfur is a tragedy, but not a threat to our existence. Besides, isn't the UN handling that? I thought multi-lateralists placed great faith in the global community...

tcd said...

hdhouse &Joseph Hovsep,
It's convenient of you to forget that the South Vietnamese, without American aid, were fighting a very uneven war against the communist North which was heavily aided by the USSR and China. But don't let the facts get in the way of your revisionism, fucking hippies. Yeah, I'm one of those inconvenient boat people who dared to escape the socialist paradise that never was.

Brent said...

To begin with, why would anyone automatically accept Mr. Rosenthal's false dichotomy?

Lyndon Johnson — in so many ways a powerful, progressive president . . . George W. Bush — in so many ways a weak, regressive president . . .

"Speculative, your Honor . . ."

In fact, almost all of the above commenters make no mention of President Bush. Obviously, his management style has almost zero effect on the lack of student protests. So why does Andrew Rosenthal feel the need to bash the President in posing an otherwise excellent question?

Robert Schwartz said...

I like to think that my children, who are 19, 22 and 24, are smarter tham I am.

Jeff said...

"Are the people in this thread really suggesting that if we just occupied Vietnam for a few more decades things would have worked out well? "

Two words: South Korea.

Lou Minatti said...

The "progressive" left is old. What college kid would want to be associated with a dried-up bitter old prune who reeks of pachouli oil? The face of the modern left is Cindy Sheehan and David Crosby. Eww.

John (Useful Fools) said...

I think most of what fueled the protests in the sixties has been said in this thread, but they nened to be tied together.

First - my background - High school class of '65, US Naval Air reserve (stateside and Vietnam) active duty 1967-1968 (volunteer). College 65-66, 69-73.

I attended anti-war rallies, for fun and curiosity, at college and in San Francisco, AFTER I had served. While in service in the bay area, I watched the Chicago convention riots on barracks TV, and the daily craziness at SF State.

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that without the draft, there would have been no mass protests. When the draft ended, the protests vanished.

Unfortunately, by that time the protestors had help elect a craven Congress which threw away the war we had already won (Nixon won that war with the Christmas bombings - 12 days and the North - the only actual opponent in spite of propaganda - rolled over). By 1973 we had created a South Vietnam that was able to willing and able to defeat a massive NVA assault with the US only providing air power.

The war was lost long after any significant US presence had left, when Congress reneged on the deal we made with the South: military supplies, and in the case of invasion, air support. The North, after recovering from their previous defeats, then entered SVN in massive force (more tanks than Patton ever commanded, for example) and took the country after hard fighting by the much maligned ARVN forces.

The myth that Vietnam was a popular uprising was a sad lie - especially since the people had been given the chance to choose between communism and corrupt authoritarianism in the '50s, and those wanting communism went north, those wanting away from it went south. Read General Giap's biographies and you will see that even the North thought they had support in the south, but when they needed it (at Tet) it failed to materialize. Giap was never again allowed to command the war in the south without supervision after that little oops.

Back to causes:

#1 - the draft - looking after one's heinie. Is it any wonder that today the universities are crammed with leftist boomner professors - those who staid in grad school to maintain their student deferrments.

#2 - the fun. Peace marches were usually a lot of fun. It was a great place to meet "liberated" women. It was a nice break from school. The sexual revolution had a massive impact on this also. I watched a 300,000 person demonstration in San Francisco simply evaporate after some radicals took the stage and it became no longer fun. Everyone said "screw it" and just walked away.

#3 - rebellion against authority (essentially teenage rebelliion against parents transferred to the government). There were lots of rebels, and they were against any rule that didn't provide them with a guaranteed future of hedonistic life (the hippie goal).

#4 - communist ideology - communist ideology is much more appealing to college kids than is Islamofascism. There were many who picked up anything from a lethal dose of it to a little bit. The "sympathizing with the oppressed" meme was very powerful, especially when ill informed students thought that the people in the South were oppressed, but those under the communists were living lives of socialist freedom and wealth (or whatever). Both were oppressedl, but on a relative scale the North was 10 and the south was about 3.

#5 Communist agents - KGB records, books by former KGB operatives, and the Venona decrypts (see www.nsa.gov) make it clear that the American Communist Party was directly an arm of Russian imperialism - completely controlled by the KGB. There were a lot of people in this or very close to it (including relatives of mine) and they did Moscow's bidding, which in this case was to try to defeat the US in Vietnam. Funding was provided this way, as was ideology and training. John Kerry is an example of an 'agent of influence' - he was one of the most prominent who met directly with enemy agents (in Paris) and then consistently worked towards their goals (especially with the mostly bogus VVAW). Read his lie-filled propagandistic "testimony" to the Senate in 1971 if you want to see an effective enemy sympathizer and agent of influence in action.

#6 Demographics - we were the first of the baby boomers and represented a massive increase in the number of people of impressionable ages, and were coddled and lived a life of relatively low threat (other than occasional nuclear war fears). We had power because we had parents who coddled us (thanks, Dr. Spock) and we had numbers. We were idiots because we all knew that whatever was said in the past was old fashioned and wrong, and all these new ideas (which, as it turned out, weren't new at all) were right - but authority disagreed.

It is important to recognize a few facts that get lost in historical revisionism:

1 - the protesters were selfish, no matter their rationale. The radical protesters were absolutely anti-American, routinely marching to the shouts of "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF [enemy] is Going To Win."

2 - they were total hypocrites - they never protested the atrocities committed by the enemy - or event admitted to them. Joan Baez was drummed out of the movement for critilcizing communist astrocities after the fall of vietnam.

3 - the times were very, very complex, with many undecurrents.

4 - the organizers tended to be much more radical than the great mass of protesters, who basically were just kids out raising hell and having fun.helped cost the US the Vietnam War, making our sacrifices worthless.

5 - the media, starting most notably with Tet '68, totally misrepresented the war - painting victories as defeats, seeking out stories about civilian casualties and American deaths, and generally lying (mostly out of ignorance tied to elitist left ideology). They almost never mentioned the communist terror campaign against civilians, which was worse than anything you see in Iraq right now.

I will never forgive the media or the hard left for what they did to us in the Vietnam War, and what they are doing to us now in the much more important war against Islamofascism and terrorist-delivered WMD's.

Simon said...

paulfrommpls said...
"maybe it's a sign that the large majority of college students are not conspiracy-minded morons."

A revelation that will no dobt hit Kevin Barret quite hard.

On the subject at hand, I think Joe Zwers was right - it was the combination of the draft without the vote that produced the Vietnam protests. Take away either - or, a fortiori, both - and you take away the premise for direct action. In an age where people think civic participation means voting, it should come as no surprise that they think activism means subscribing to MoveOn.org's mailing list and having a bumper sticker with a libelous statement about the President on their truck.

TombZ said...

Ummm... all of the above are correct.

L'Anima said...

Nothing sharpens the mind more about what really matters than a hundred thousand dollars in student loans. Protest? Get real. These students are thinking jobs, jobs, jobs.

Aspasia M. said...

Whoa - lots of people have very strong feelings here.

Anyways - my husband brought up something very interesting at dinner tonight that I rather think is true.

University students tend to want to enact change at the individual level (volunteer work, ect.) rather then through collective action.

And it seems to me that students today do not see protests, in general, as an effective way to enact change either in their own lives or in the body politic.

However, I was neither alive during the late 60s early 70s, nor have I studied that time period.

I will say this - as left/liberals, both my husband and I really dislike the baby-boom generation as a generation.

(Our parents are both older then the baby-boomers.)

And it seems to us that baby-boomers can fall into two incredibly annoying parts. Either they romanticize a very dangerous time filled with riots and assassinations and what not, or they HATE "those people" (insert group HERE - hippies/ feminists/ communists/ civil rights protesters/ ERA Marchers/ whateverists) with such a loathing that they are perpetually in fear of the hippie hiding under their bed.

Neither, it seems to me, have ever seen the younger generations very clearly. (for example - that this very question is asked in a comparative way - "why are you not like us?")

That's rather annoying. It's intensely annoying.

And yes, in college both my husband and I had a special love for the song "I want to drink the blood of a hippie" by the Doug Anthony All Stars.

But we also despise all the baby-boomer "fear the dirty hippie" people who can't appreciate that we're thankful for stuff like equal rights, title 9, the record "Free To Be You And Me" and that women are now allowed to attend the Ivy League institutions.

Oh - and we also think Vietnam was a damn stupid idea. Just as we think Iraq was a damn stupid idea.

JSF said...

Among the resons cited is simply: No Draft (started under a Dem President -- FDR), another is the fresh memories of 9/11. How does Hdhouse propose we fight the enemy? As proven in the early 2000's in Israel, they go after soft targets, not governmental targets. If we can't check their finances, phone calls, or profile, should we wait until hundreds are killed at Universal Citywalk or Disneyworld? The students are smart enough to know who the enemy is. Sorry hdhouse, it is not Bush.

Seven Machos said...

incredibly simplistic and ideological ranting: That fits you to a tee, hd house.

I wished I lived in the easy, simplistic world that you see through your own eyes. Then again, I would also have to suffer through the fact that virtually everyone would think I am a simplistic idiot.

Aspasia M. said...

. The hippies are portrayed as ineffectual and annoying, whereas the hippie-haters are made fun of for taking themselves and the hippies way too seriously, which characteristics seems to be on display in full force in this comment thread. They're just commie tools propped up by the USSR! They hate America! They hate our soldiers! I saw one hippie protesting a Republican so I won't vote for the Democrat! Their reckless pot-smokin' and tofu-eatin' caused genocide in Southeast Asia (um, maybe the U.S. presence there in the first place had something to do with it?)!

yeah, I agree! You say it so much better then me.

Brian said...

That's the problem Sir. You have spent the majority of your life on college campuses. I went back to school full-time at age 30 and found that what happened on campus was a parody of real life.

I laugh every time you and other writers, profs, libs, whatever, cite polls to back up your opinions. Not everyone hates Bush, and many people who don't like him know deep in their heart that he is right, and understands that war isn't an academic exercise.

I advise you get off campus and get a real job in the private sector. It'll give you new perspective and open you up to new ideas. I doubt however, you'll trade the ability to be lazy and do little more than complain to actually join us in the real world.

Doug said...

hdhouse, you claim that the comments from the right of center are simplistic and devoid of historical context. Yet you commit a horrid sin of either dishonesty or lack of knowledge, because Nixon was not impeached. Further more, your point about the integrity of protestors is undercut by the fact that protests against the war greatly decreased once the draft was stopped.

So these protesters didn't have the wellbeing of humanity in mind when they organized, otherwise there would have been mass protests against the atrocities by Pol Pot and by Idi Amin that occured during that same era. And if your side is so righteous, why aren't they protesting today against what is happening in Sudan, what happened in Rwanda, or even against the Iraq war?

The constant is the deaths, the warfare, the civilians getting killed. The variable between the protests in the Vietnam era and the the slaughter in Cambodia, Uganda, and the war in Iraq is that there is or was little or no chance of the liberal elite getting involved in the action. So while they may not approve or support the Iraq war, the lack of having their asses on the line keeps them from marching in the streets.


And in defense of Eric Cartman, South Park rips on hippies far more than it rips on hippie haters. In the episode that Cartman is sought out to rid the town of the hippiefest, the hippies are definitely made out to be the bad guys/gals.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

'But once I saw in the dark, and now I see in the light.' VN is the prism which draws the light which is broken into its components and we, the boomers, see America and its foreign relations. To understand the protests, one needs to go back to the fifties, to Lassie and Leave it to Beaver, sanitized from commie thought after the black list, and Eisenhower who said to his Press secretary he would answer a tough question by addressing it with an apparent sincerity and malapropism (which would cause people to lose interest and Daddy would take care of it). Then we had our War and maybe we weren't democratic because Eisenhower said 'they would only vote once' and didn't support the Geneva accords ending the previous war in 1954, and we faced the Vietnamese somewhat phase shifted and fighting against French colonialism and Japanese holding rice in warehouses, at that point directing the French, while 2 million Vietnamese starved. But they were patriots and collegial in their own Comintern, which is why VN has worked out better than North Korea. Suddenly the leftist virus was released and we, having been kept previously from exposure to it, were infected. And Richard Nixon freed us. We had our own 'communism' without knowing it which we inherited in fighting the identitarianisms of WWII and the Cold War. We had been owned by the state. But we were freed. The draft was not a law of nature like complementary winter and summer, mirabilu dictu. And we saw the signs of infection in ourselves, for example 'Cambodia' and 'communism' both start with 'C's; 'what the hey?' And the vitims in our own society when we went to work in it turned out to be victims a lot of themselves though it was hard to see that from the distance of a University, and even more we found it took real effort to produce and accommodate ourselves to it; so we, at least selectively, rid ourselves of the virus. But now the children are exposed to viruses all the time, which is possibly why they sometimes feel 'global warming,' but an overwhelming infection is not to be anticipated.

Revenant said...

how old are you?

Old enough to know where the "shift" key is on my keyboard. :)

can you read?

Sure. For instance, I can read my post above, where I said "Student protests against the war began when the college deferment from the draft was lifted.

i'm sure you realize that kent state happened AFTER we went to a lottery type draft...

... which is what went into effect when the college deferment from the draft was lifted. The deferments ended in December of 1969, when the lottery was implemented. Kent State happened six months later.

I'm tempted to make some mocking remark about the quality of your reasoning and intellect at this point, but I don't think I could top what you've managed to accomplish all by yourself. So I'll leave it at that.

Revenant said...

Likewise, its undeniable that, whatever positive effect the long-term U.S. presence in Southeast Asia might have had, it also caused substantial social and economic disruption and radicalization of it opponents.

Only its opponents within the United States and Europe. :)

I realize that it is a popular myth on the left that Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot were just mild-mannered revolutionaries before the US got involved in the war. In reality, however, both men had been radical communists, inspired by Stalin and Mao, long before the USA stuck its oar in the Southeast Asian water.

The US involvement in the Vietnam War didn't "radicalize" the Cambodians or the North Vietnamese. The Khmer Rouge had been plotting a Communist overthrow of the Sihanouk regime since at least the early 60s, and of course the only reason the US ever got involved in Vietnam in the first place was because of the North Vietnamese attempt to conquer it and impose Communism there. The only difference the US involvement in Vietnam made with regard to Cambodia is that the Khmer Rouge took it over and murdered half its citizens in the 1970s instead of the late 60s.

Good Ole Charlie said...

One other word...or more.

Notice how segments of the Democrats are mentioning bringing back The Draft?

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they think The Draft would bring back The Good Old Days of Mass Protest once the saps (er, kids) realize their ass might just be on the line...and a nasty mean drill instructor is in their collective future.

Nice try, Charlie Rangel, but you're going to have to dump your inner city trash somewhere else.

PS: I'm keeping my last classical light yellow draft card (classification III-A) to show any grandchildren. If eBay survives, it might even be a collector's item.

hdhouse said...

"when the draft ended, protest virtually evaporated"....another amazing example of "i have zero knowledge of history but i think what i think".

in 1969 the draft (with all its inequities) went to a lottery draft based on birthdays. the draft as we know it ended in 1973 while there were still sufficient troops in the armed services (2 year draft, 4 year enlistment with some choices remember?) to carry on while the nixon truce talks finished up and we cut and run as you morons like to call it.

jsf: "how does hdh propose we fight them..." (paraphrasing). well jsf, i propose we fight them intelligently. if you think we are fighting insurgents in Iraq then have another swig of coolaide. we are doing a minimal amount of that and a whole lot of keeping a potboiler of a civil war from consuming the land. that is quite a difference don't you think? or don't you think?

TM Lutas said...

Read through the whole comment and halfway through something started bothering me. If the draft was so central to the loathing of the Vietnam War why the hostility towards ROTC programs and their participants? And why did that not go away after the draft ended?

Simon said...

"[T]he draft as we know it ended in 1973 while there were still sufficient troops in the armed services to carry on while the nixon truce talks finished up and we cut and run as you morons like to call it."

Cut and ran. We mere morons apparently grasp the concept of the past tense.

Eric Blair said...

Its the draft, the draft, and nothing but the draft. College students today only get involved if they want to. That goes for both for anti-war activities or say, enlisting. If the administration was actually drafting people, you'd see protests aplenty.

knoxgirl said...

Under your argument America's desire to spread peace and democracy and save the lives of future Iraqi's on the whole by deposing Saddam Hussein is stripped of its moral legitimacy if America does not put forth the same effort to prevent the genocide in Darfur.

Coco: this is like saying if I say I want to help the homeless and I only give money to a few people a day I am "morally illegitimate" because I haven't given money to all of them.

I'll add that at least we are doing something to further the goal in Iraq, not hanging out with our friends having fun, pretending we're doing something noble or productive by staging protests on college campuses.

dick said...

Revenant,

Go back and look up Dien Bien Phu and the French. That was our initial involvement in Vietnam. We got involved to save the French people in Vietnam and so long as Ike was pres our involvement was as trainers and advisors to the South Vietnamese with 1500 people. The Americans weren't even supposed to get involved in the actual fighting. They were to be almost the same as embedded reporters today in Iraq.

JFK got elected and after the Bay of Pigs there were monks setting fire to themselves in Saigon and our troop strength was enlarged and our troops were made fighters now and not just advisors. Then the assassination and LBJ came in and suddenly we heard about the Gulf of Tonkin where supposedly we were attacked. A lie, but after all it was LBJ and his group.

This led to the big buildup which led to the expanded draft callup which led to the protests which led to the MSM lies and the presidential micro-management of the war along with LBJ trying to force through his huge social program buildup. Then more and more protests, some for the war, some for the civil rights, and then the riots. End of LBJ, Return of Nixon.

More lies by the MSM about the Tet and more protests. Congress cut the funding for the war so we had no choice but to get our troops out and you had the mass evacuation of Saigon with the people trying to get on the last helicopters. Protests ended and we got Carter and the malaise.

Seven Machos said...

TM Lutas -- You are confused. People were against the draft so they began to protest anything military. Since the draft, no one has been massively against ROTC programs. Quite the opposite, in fact. ROTC programs have been reappearing. What is stymying their return is not popular criticism but the prejudice of old administrators. The huge mass of students doesn't care.

Congress (an institution led by majorities) overwhelmingly passed a law requiring schools to allow military recruiters on campus or lose federal aid.

Tantor said...

David Horowitz makes the point that all major anti-war demonstrations ended after the US pulled out of Vietnam in 1973, even though the war continued for another two years until the North Vietnamese victory in 1975. Horowitz claims the protestors lost the will to protest once they were no longer at risk of dying in combat in Vietnam.

I suspect that the main reason that college students feel no visceral anger at the war in Iraq is that they are in no danger of fighting there unless they volunteer to do so. That means few college students feel at risk.

A reason for the lack of collegiate sympathy for the Iraqi insurgents is the way they portray themselves. Both Iraqi insurgents and North Vietnamese Communists indulged in atrocities. The difference is that the North Vietnamese did not document and broadcast them.

When the Viet Cong systematically slaughtered civilians at Hue, they did not take photos nor film of it. During and after the war, they denied it happenned and suppressed information about it. If there are no pix nor footage of an atrocity, it didn't happen as far as the public perception is concerned.

By contrast, the insurgents, both Baathist and jihadis, are happy to videotape themselves butchering their captives and broadcast it. This public relations gambit does not elicit sympathy like the North Vietnamese strategy of high minded public propaganda covering for secretly conducted atrocities.

Both regimes, Iraqi and North Vietnamese, were thugs, but the North Vietnamese were cunning thugs while the Iraqis are dumb thugs. The cunning thugs had more appeal for young and gullible college kids.

hdhouse said...

simon simon simon....

so little knowledge. so much time.

hdhouse said...

Tantor said...
David Horowitz makes the point


we have reached a new low in discourse if someone is quoting horowitz's summation of events.

how about rush and sean? now there are sources. by the way faux news is running a labor day marathon entitled "labor day - just a leftist plot".

good god man, have you no decency?

hdhouse said...

Ann writes:

"I think a key point is that in the Vietnam era, young people romanticized the enemy and even imagined that its ideology might be an improvement on our bad old materialistic society. Communism seemed to fit with the Age of Aquarius. But Islamofascism is alien to American youth culture. I don't think many kids today are going around thinking: Would it really be so bad if the other side won?

Another good point is that a peace demonstration in the Vietnam era had big social and sexual benefits. It was fun and -- commenters keep saying -- a great place to meet women who had joined the sexual revolution. Going to a peace rally requires more anger and grim determination."

young people romanticized the enemy = that is so doubtful. protests were against the actions of our government. few thought ho chi minh was a great guy but there is no getting around the FACT that what we knew of him was so filtered and so jaded by a government that, in retrospect, clearly was operating frequently outside the law and more frequently outside of truth.

a great place to meet women who had joined the sexual revolution =

as it appears Ann went to UofM, where as the saying goes, 9 out of 10 women and beautiful and the 10th goes to Ann Arbor, it is doubtful that she needed to parade down University Ave. to meet men - she merely had to show up outside her door.

I am anguished that this all blends in together to some - the sexual revolution, protests, nixon, kennedy and king, etc....its like some big box of Legos that are for making an entire collection of pieces but the user simply sticks them together in some mindless and thoughtless mishmash.

that so many on here reduce that period of time to a rush limbaugh soundbite and paint with one color is just simply sad.

tcd said...

hdhouse,
Let's see if I can get your panties into an even tighter wad. The best thing to come out of that fateful year 1968 was Elvis'Comeback Special on NBC. Am I right?

JorgXMcKie said...

You know, I'd be ashamed to attempt the train-wreck that is hdhouse.

Seven Machos said...

I think it's funny that hd is under the impression that people here tune in daily to Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, or watch a bunch of Fox News. My sense of things is that this is woefully incorrect.

Revenant said...

Revenant, Go back and look up Dien Bien Phu and the French. That was our initial involvement in Vietnam.

At the time of Dien Bien Phu, North Vietnam had been a Communist state for eight years, and had had the backing of Stalin and Mao for four.

But Ho Chi Minh became a Communist while living in France in the 1910s and 1920s -- decades before Dien Bien Phu and American involvement in Vietnam. He was a major figure in Asian communist movements from the late 1920s, then travelled to the Soviet Union and embraced Stalinism in the 30s. By the end of World War 2 he had killed, imprisoned, or exiled virtually everyone in the North Vietnamese independence movement who WASN'T a Stalinist.

So I'm sorry, but no -- the idea that Ho Chi Minh and the North Vietnamese were "radicalized" because of American involvement doesn't even pass a laugh test. Minh and the so-called "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" were enthusiastic followers of two most evil and murderous men of the 20th century long before the US got involved in the matter.

Seven Machos said...

Revenant -- I don't know if anyone is still reading this, but I think it's wrong to equate Ho Chi Minh with Stalin and certainly with Pol Pot.

I liken Ho Chi Minh to Tito. I'm not saying Uncle Ho was a great guy but he was a nationalist more than he was a communist. Communism was just the flavor the week at the time for aspiring nationalists Recall that, after Ho's death, it was the Communist Vietnamese that took out Pol Pot.

Ann Althouse said...

I wrote: "I think a key point is that in the Vietnam era, young people romanticized the enemy and even imagined that its ideology might be an improvement on our bad old materialistic society.... I don't think many kids today are going around thinking: Would it really be so bad if the other side won?"

hdhouse wrote: "young people romanticized the enemy = that is so doubtful."

I went to a teach-in against the war around 1969/1970, and one speaker said we should see that it wouldn't be a bad thing if North Vietnam won the war. The huge, packed auditorium burst out in applause and cheering. Meanwhile, back at the dorm -- East Quad (which really meant something) -- people talked about revolution all the time and many fancied themselves revolutionaries. Chez East Quad, the required course in Western Civilization had a series of units, each of which began with the words "Revolution in..." because how could they expect to teach us history if it wasn't about revolution?

John (Useful Fools) said...

I think most of what fueled the protests in the sixties has been said in this thread, but they nened to be tied together.

First - my background - High school class of '65, US Naval Air reserve (stateside and Vietnam) active duty 1967-1968 (volunteer). College 65-66, 69-73.

I attended anti-war rallies, for fun and curiosity, at college and in San Francisco, AFTER I had served. While in service in the bay area, I watched the Chicago convention riots on barracks TV, and the daily craziness at SF State.

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that without the draft, there would have been no mass protests. When the draft ended, the protests vanished.

Unfortunately, by that time the protestors had help elect a craven Congress which threw away the war we had already won (Nixon won that war with the Christmas bombings - 12 days and the North - the only actual opponent in spite of propaganda - rolled over). By 1973 we had created a South Vietnam that was able to willing and able to defeat a massive NVA assault with the US only providing air power.

The war was lost long after any significant US presence had left, when Congress reneged on the deal we made with the South: military supplies, and in the case of invasion, air support. The North, after recovering from their previous defeats, then entered SVN in massive force (more tanks than Patton ever commanded, for example) and took the country after hard fighting by the much maligned ARVN forces.

The myth that Vietnam was a popular uprising was a sad lie - especially since the people had been given the chance to choose between communism and corrupt authoritarianism in the '50s, and those wanting communism went north, those wanting away from it went south. Read General Giap's biographies and you will see that even the North thought they had support in the south, but when they needed it (at Tet) it failed to materialize. Giap was never again allowed to command the war in the south without supervision after that little oops.

Back to causes:

#1 - the draft - looking after one's heinie. Is it any wonder that today the universities are crammed with leftist boomner professors - those who staid in grad school to maintain their student deferrments.

#2 - the fun. Peace marches were usually a lot of fun. It was a great place to meet "liberated" women. It was a nice break from school. The sexual revolution had a massive impact on this also. I watched a 300,000 person demonstration in San Francisco simply evaporate after some radicals took the stage and it became no longer fun. Everyone said "screw it" and just walked away.

#3 - rebellion against authority (essentially teenage rebelliion against parents transferred to the government). There were lots of rebels, and they were against any rule that didn't provide them with a guaranteed future of hedonistic life (the hippie goal).

#4 - communist ideology - communist ideology is much more appealing to college kids than is Islamofascism. There were many who picked up anything from a lethal dose of it to a little bit. The "sympathizing with the oppressed" meme was very powerful, especially when ill informed students thought that the people in the South were oppressed, but those under the communists were living lives of socialist freedom and wealth (or whatever). Both were oppressedl, but on a relative scale the North was 10 and the south was about 3.

#5 Communist agents - KGB records, books by former KGB operatives, and the Venona decrypts (see www.nsa.gov) make it clear that the American Communist Party was directly an arm of Russian imperialism - completely controlled by the KGB. There were a lot of people in this or very close to it (including relatives of mine) and they did Moscow's bidding, which in this case was to try to defeat the US in Vietnam. Funding was provided this way, as was ideology and training. John Kerry is an example of an 'agent of influence' - he was one of the most prominent who met directly with enemy agents (in Paris) and then consistently worked towards their goals (especially with the mostly bogus VVAW). Read his lie-filled propagandistic "testimony" to the Senate in 1971 if you want to see an effective enemy sympathizer and agent of influence in action.

#6 Demographics - we were the first of the baby boomers and represented a massive increase in the number of people of impressionable ages, and were coddled and lived a life of relatively low threat (other than occasional nuclear war fears). We had power because we had parents who coddled us (thanks, Dr. Spock) and we had numbers. We were idiots because we all knew that whatever was said in the past was old fashioned and wrong, and all these new ideas (which, as it turned out, weren't new at all) were right - but authority disagreed.

It is important to recognize a few facts that get lost in historical revisionism:

1 - the protesters were selfish, no matter their rationale. The radical protesters were absolutely anti-American, routinely marching to the shouts of "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF [enemy] is Going To Win."

2 - they were total hypocrites - they never protested the atrocities committed by the enemy - or event admitted to them. Joan Baez was drummed out of the movement for critilcizing communist astrocities after the fall of vietnam.

3 - the times were very, very complex, with many undecurrents.

4 - the organizers tended to be much more radical than the great mass of protesters, who basically were just kids out raising hell and having fun.helped cost the US the Vietnam War, making our sacrifices worthless.

5 - the media, starting most notably with Tet '68, totally misrepresented the war - painting victories as defeats, seeking out stories about civilian casualties and American deaths, and generally lying (mostly out of ignorance tied to elitist left ideology). They almost never mentioned the communist terror campaign against civilians, which was worse than anything you see in Iraq right now.

I will never forgive the media or the hard left for what they did to us in the Vietnam War, and what they are doing to us now in the much more important war against Islamofascism and terrorist-delivered WMD's.I think most of what fueled the protests in the sixties has been said in this thread, but they nened to be tied together.

First - my background - High school class of '65, US Naval Air reserve (stateside and Vietnam) 1966-1968 (volunteer). College 65-66, 69-73.

I attended anti-war rallies at college and in San Francisco, AFTER I had served (for fun and curiosity). While in service in the bay area, I watched the Chicago convention riots on barracks TV, and watched the daily craziness at SF State.

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that without the draft, there would have been no mass protests. When the draft ended, the protests vanished.

Unfortunately, by that time the protestors had help elect a craven Congress which threw away the war we had already won (Nixon won that war with the Christmas bombings - 12 days and the North - the only actual opponent in spite of propaganda - rolled over). By 1973 we had created a South Vietnam that was able to willing and able to defeat a massive NVA assault with the US only providing air power.

The war was lost long after any significant US presence had left, when Congress reneged on the deal we made with the South: ammunition, and in the case of invasion, air support. The North, after recovering from their previous defeats, then entered SVN in massive force (more tanks than Patton ever commanded, for example) and took the country. The myth that Vietnam was a popular uprising was a sad lie - especially since the people had been given the chance to choose between communism and corrupt authoritarianism in the '50s, and those wanting communism went north, those wanting away from it went south.

Back to causes:

#1 - the draft - looking after one's heinie. Is it any wonder that today the universities are crammed with leftist boomner professors - those who staid in grad school to maintain their student deferrments.

#2 - the fun. Peace marches were usually a lot of fun. It was a great place to meet "liberated" women. It was a nice break from school. The sexual revolution had a massive impact on this also. I watched a 300,000 person demonstration in San Francisco simply evaporate after some radicals took the stage and it became no longer fun. Everyone said "screw it" and just walked away.

#3 - rebellion against authority (essentially teenage rebelliion against parents transferred to the government). There were lots of rebels, and they were against any rule that didn't provide them with a guaranteed future of hedonism.

#4 - communist ideology - communist ideology is much more appealing to college kids than is Islamofascism. There were many who picked up anything from a lethal dose of it to a little bit. The "sympathizing with the oppressed" mem was very powerful, especially when ill informed students thought that the people in the South were oppressed, but those under the communists were living lives of socialist freedom and wealth (or whatever).

#5 Communist agents - KGB records, books by former KGB operatives, and the Venona decrypts (see www.nsa.gov) make it clear that the American Communist Party was directly an arm of Russian imperialism - completely controlled by the KGB. There were a lot of people in this or very close to it (including relatives of mine) and they did Moscow's bidding, which in this case was to try to defeat the US in Vietnam. Funding was provided this way, as was ideology and training. John Kerry is an example of an 'agent of influence' - he was one of the most prominent who met directly with enemy agents (in Paris) and then consistently worked towards their goals (especially with the mostly bogus VVAW).

#6 Demographics - we were the first of the baby boomers and represented a massive increase in the number of people of impressionable ages, and were coddled and lived a life of relatively low threat (other than occasional nuclear war fears). We had power because we had parents who coddled us (thanks, Dr. Spock) and we had numbers. We were idiots because we all knew that whatever was said in the past was old fashioned and wrong, and all these new idea (which, as it turned out, weren't new at all) were right - but authority disagreed.

It is important to recognize a few facts that get lost in historical revisionism:

1 - the protesters were selfish, no matter their rational
2 - they were total hypocrites - theynever protested the atrocities committed by the enemy - or event admitted to them. Joan Baez was drummed out of the movement for critilcizing communist astrocities after the fall of vietnam.
3 - the times were very, very complex, with many undecurrents.
4 - the organizers tended to be much more radical than the great mass of protesters, who basically were just kids out raising hell and having fun.helped cost the US the Vietnam War, making our sacrifices worthless.
6 - the media, starting most notably with Tet '68, totally misrepresented the war - painting victories as defeats, seeking out stories about civilian casualties, and generally lying (mostly out of ignorance tied to elitist left ideology).

I will never forgive the media or the hard left for what they did to us in the Vietnam War, and what they are doing to us now in the much more important war against Islamofascism and terrorist-delivered WMD's.

Revenant said...

Revenant -- I don't know if anyone is still reading this, but I think it's wrong to equate Ho Chi Minh with Stalin and certainly with Pol Pot

I didn't mean to give the impression that I had equated him with them. But he was an enthusiastic follower of their philosophies, and comparing him to the anti-Stalinist Tito is unjustified, too.

Communism was just the flavor the week at the time for aspiring nationalists

Oh, come on. We're talking about grown-ups here, not trendy club kids. You're right that a lot of nationalist revolutionaries embraced Stalinism in the 30s and onwards, but plenty of them didn't. And Ho Chi Minh had the ones who didn't shot, jailed, or "reeducated". It's the same stunt the Sandinistas pulled (on a smaller scale) in Nicaragua in the 1970s. Stalinism primarily appealed to "revolutionaries" of the "WE should be the ones telling the people what to do" variety. Well-meaning idealists weren't cozying up to Stalin anymore after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

And yes, I know the Vietnamese Communists stopped the Khmer Rouge. Of course, the Vietnamese Communists also helped the Khmer Rouge come to power in the first place, so there's a limit to how much credit I'm willing to give them for their belated intervention.

Tantor said...

hdhouse: "Tantor said...
David Horowitz makes the point

we have reached a new low in discourse if someone is quoting horowitz's summation of events."


Actually, the nadir in discourse is reached when a lefty substitutes ad hominem arguments for rational ones. You certainly impressed us all that you don't like Horowitz but you haven't addressed his point, which you have evaded.

hdhouse: "how about rush and sean? now there are sources. by the way faux news is running a labor day marathon entitled "labor day - just a leftist plot"."

How about addressing the argument rather than running through a list of the conservatives you hate and making a straw man argument that has nothing to do with the issue?

hdhouse: "good god man, have you no decency?"

Have you no argument? Your post has the lowest intellectual wattage on this thread. You have written a lot of words which, altogether, have no substance at all. It's rare to see such a long and impassioned rebuttal which entirely sidesteps the question.

Horowitz says the major anti-war protests ended in 1973 when the US pulled out. Name one that occurred in 1974 or 1975.

Tantor