In 1973 after massive anti-war protests in the USA in the wake of 55,000 US troops killed in Vietnam and several hundreds of thousands wounded and maimed, the American Administration dismantled the unpopular military conscription. Many young Americans were drafted for military service in Vietnam, never to return.
508 Australians including 7 civilians were killed in that war.
Not everyone was drafted of course, and from this inequality and the shocking hypocrisy of Vietnam evaders in positions of power today to send other people’s sons and daughters to war which they themselves avoided, gave rise to the term chickenhawks – chicken in their personal patriotic commitments but hawkish in urging others to go to war.
The official definition of a chickenhawk is a person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person’s youth.
Now, with the unpopularity of the Iraqi war, where American dead may top 2000 two years after President Bush declared the end of combat operations in Iraq, young Americans are not enlisting in the country’s armed services.
The recruiting is so abysmally low that some Congressional members believe military draft may be back soon.
Canada, Sweden and a host of European countries will undoubtedly play host again to war objectors who may have to seek asylum beyond the reach of the US Administration.