I chose to write about this topic because no one else was writing about it and it was a good idea at the time. I didn't have many options, and this was the one I could do the most with. I had a lot of sources, but I didn't quote any of them so I had to go back and find at last one to quote in my paper for some solid factual evidence. I didn't have much of a process, I just wrote the paper and was done with it.
There is a picture of people protesting the Vietnam War in the streets. There is a crowd of people on a street holding a sign above their heads that says:”Our real enemy is U.S Corporations and the rest is hidden behind other protesters. You can tell they’re angry, but stand tall. All the people in front have their arms linked, a sign of unity and strength. This image represents what Ii’ll be talking about in my advanced essay. This represents the people at home, angry and outraged at their friends, and family being sent off to fight in a war that isn’t necessarily theirs. In this essay we'll will be exploring the question of what america is trying to protect if it isn’t the people they send to fight for them. There are many answers to this question already, believing that war is the equivalent of a squabble between two children over something relatively insignificant. Unfortunately, in this situation, there is no parent to separate the two, so what could’ve been solved with a few words has now escalated into a full on fight between the two parties. This is war, if America isn’t putting the lives of its people before all else, there is no point to war.
The first aspect of war that shall be explored about is the aftereffects of it, specifically how veterans of war are celebrated once they return home. In particular, I want to talk about the Vietnam veterans. In one the bloodiest, longest, and most brutal wars of the century, the Vietnam veterans had probably gone through some of the toughest ordeals as soldiers, many of them only just out of high school. Because of this, many of them had looked to drugs and alcohol for comfort during the war to keep them sane.The U.S government knew this, and what did they do? They started outlawing all of the drugs that the soldiers had depended so heavily on left and right. IN an article in the New York Times, author Tim Hsia says this
“The Vietnam War casts an equally large shadow over American society. The Vietnam War exposed underlying racial issues, whether the elite had to serve, the role of the media, and distrust toward government.”
Being so addicted that they couldn’t stop. The older veterans, having more experience, were able to mostly re adjust to living in the States, but most of the younger ones couldn’t cope with the complete change and ended up resorting to crime to get by. The U.S noticed this, and that they were also exhibiting symptoms but was extremely reluctant to give aid to the 700,000 veterans that were in need of it. Even after agreeing to help them, treatment was stalled which only further progressed the veterans’ anxiety and trouble with adjusting to society."
Simply stating what I said before, this passage really highlighted the extent of America's lackluster response to the soldier's return, and the aid they required to blend in with the American society yet again. I feel that instead of taking reponsibility for what they were completely and totally responsible for, America shied away from its problems. In this way, their reluctance to treat the veterans and the lukewarm welcoming back to the states showed me the capacity for which america could really show indifference to the well being of their people
The second aspect of war that was a significant reminder of America’s treatment of citizens was the countries who weren’t even officially considered U.S citizens yet claimed to be U.S territories. For starters, how many people knew that Guam was a U.S territory? Probably not that many. Do you know what percentage of their people were drafted into the army in the War on the Philippines and the Spanish american war? 12.5%. That's an insanely high percentage. To put it on a scale, for every 8 people living in Guam, 1 of them was sent off to war. That meant every person living there knew someone who was either at war or was already a veteran of war. However, for being one of the most devoted people to the American cause, they received the smallest amount of money for treatment after the war. In a way, it’s like the U.S completely forgot that they were at the war at all. Even worse, Guam was given a representative in the U.S senate, yet they can’t vote. They are also affected by the laws passed in America, so it would only make sense for them to be able to vote for who will lead them. Even though america’s slogan is the home of the brave, land of the free, we shouldn't feel as confident sporting that knowing that thousands of miles away, there’s a country that is a U.S territory, yet treated like aliens. Is this the extent of America’s ability to serve and protect its people? Is this really the country we live in?
In conclusion, i’d have to say that we protect some, but not all of our citizens. America has many deep dark secrets that have yet to be uncovered, but hopefully they’ll begin to get better as time passes. The biggest concern right now is taking care of our citizens overseas like Puerto Rico, and Guam. After we tackle those issues, the hard part will be over, and the experience gained from those situations being solved will further evolve America as a country that can capably take care of its citizens.