Veterans of the U.S. armed forces constitute a somewhat rare population, especially those who served after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Military veterans are an estimated 9.6% of the U.S. adult population, and those who served after 9/11 account for 12% of all veterans (and thus slightly more than 1% of the adult U.S. population). No publicly available comprehensive list of veterans exists to provide the basis for a sampling frame.
This lengthy article discusses differences in attitude between veterans and non-veterans, and additionally, examines differences between those who served in pre- vs. post-9/11 periods. What might surprise many is the similarity of opinion between those who have served and the general population on many questions. The Vietnam Syndrome seems to have dissipated, but possibly in ways that will displease hawks and the 1%.
Whatever y/our opinion about U.S. military involvement, as citizens, we are ultimately responsible for the conduct of our government and military, and the consequences of that conduct.
If not us, who?
Because he allegedly leaked evidence of U.S. dirty dealings and outright crimes against humanity, Bradley Manning is accused of violating his oath and responsibility. But as another veteran challenged us to ask ourselves, “if a fellow soldier is punished for taking his oath to defend the Constitution seriously, what does that mean for our military and for our democracy?”