“Military personnel know America will always have a military, but there is growing concern over the way it is being used,” says the 29-year veteran, adding that an increasing list of concerns include “the use of torture, illegal detentions, and both soldiers and the public being lied to about the actual reasons for going into combat.”
But in contrast to the extremely vocal and visible antiwar movements of the Vietnam War era, many veterans in the all-volunteer military have found it harder to mobilize effective actions, says Cameron White, a former marine who served two tours in Iraq before joining “Iraq Veterans Against the War.”
The 32-year-old Pasadena City college student, who enlisted in 2000, says, “it’s harder to speak to fellow soldiers about their decision to join, as the onus is on us because we chose this.”
Many of the post-9/11 veterans who have served in what is now America’s longest-running military action, find that pressures that can fuel antiwar sentiment have ratcheted up with the all-volunteer Army.
According to the Pew study, only some one-half of 1 percent of Americans have served in the military in the past decade, the lowest rate in history. Even as an unprecedented number of Americans – some 80 percent – are therefore sheltered from the war’s hardships because none of their relatives are serving, the pressures of military service have increased.
In order to meet troop-level requirements, many soldiers have been deployed as many as six times – a level unheard-of prior to the all-volunteer military, points out Mike Hanie, an Air Force veteran and founder and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.