2006 isn’t the 1960s


It’s with a bit of a chuckle that I’ve watched the Vietnam-era war-protesters-turned-academics fidget and puzzle over my generation’s lack of a serious anti-war movement. It seems to be something completely beyond their comprehension.

Carol Foster wrote in her letter (“The Chronicle is sorely lacking activism,” Nov. 3) that “(our) generation’s Vietnam doesn’t make a blip on (our) radar.” I participated in the Honors discussions on the war and campus activism, and again, the basic question was, “Why aren’t there more protests?” Let me see if I can sum it up for all the hippie holdovers out there:

-The Vietnam War generation never witnessed a Pearl Harbor or Sept.11 defining moment like the WWII or War on Terror generations have.

-You don’t see my generation burning its draft cards because we don’t have a draft. The all-volunteer army is working well and the military and civilian leaders and most Americans believe in the current system. There is no serious discussion of bringing back the draft.

-The U.S. military lost 58,000 in Vietnam. So far in this war, there have been a little more than 2,800 American casualties in Iraq and 248 in Afghanistan. While every death is a tragedy, in sheer numbers, there’s little valid comparison between the two.

-My generation is overwhelmingly more likely to applaud the soldiers and call them “heroes” than to spit on them and call them “baby killers.” The Vietnam generation-well, they have John Kerry. Need I say more?

I could go on (the U is not Berkeley, broadcasting decapitations tend to make people angry, etc.), but the point is this: There are some very fundamental differences between the war on terror and the Vietnam War. In many important ways, it’s not an accurate analogy, so please stop trying to stretch and squeeze our generation’s conflict into your Vietnam-era frame of reference.

Brent TenneySenior, Information Systems