America's Class of 2015 have spent more than half their lives at war

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Spending almost their entire lives on Facebook will probably have more of an impact, for most of them. It sounds cynical when I write it like that, but I’m kind of fascinated by the idea. On NPR today I caught a snippet of someone in the Veteran’s Administration talking about how our idea of these wars is very abstract. Previous wars (up to the Korean War) were a much more visceral experience for Americans.

It’s easy for many Americans to go through life without being touched in any way by what our soldiers are doing on the other side of the world.


That’s a teeny-tiny little article with very little substance. I wonder how they scaled the blue bars. Any guesses? I notice octogenarians get tiny little bars, perhaps to indicate most of them are already gone?

The scale is at the bottom of the chart. “Millions of people in the population.”

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I knew that! I knew that! I was… just testing.

Yea, this Raddatz character can shove it. “more than 6,500 young men and women died in those wars.” How about 190,000 more? But then I’m a young person, the only way I’d know how the government is spending half of tax revenue is if it had been written on one of my daily trophies.


Perhaps the take-away from this article shouldn’t be worrying about the affect on America’s youth, but that America is far, far, far too happy to engage in wars?


have spent more than half their lives at war

No, they haven’t. Most of them have spent zero time at war. Please correct the title. It’s sloppy.

You mean we haven’t always been at war with Eurasia?


Isn’t it the country that goes to war? As a whole? The whole country is supposedly held accountable for the decisions of its leaders and actions of its military if the war is illegal. That’s why it’s your duty to attempt to stop unjust wars and why everyone, kids included, feels the punishment in the form of sanctions and the like if the world deems the war illegal.


No Cold War conflicts other than Korea and Vietnam? All of those other interventions were just ‘police actions’, gunboat diplomacy or [handwavium]?

Anybody else struck by the fact that the minimum is around 35% and for that you have to go back about a hundred years?

And the infographic doesn’t even accurately cover the lengths of the wars, or our involvement in them. Vietnam was significantly longer than pictured, we were involved earlier than it shows. The Gulf War was not as tidy as it appears either, we stuck around for awhile afterward.

Realistically, a minimum of 50% would be understating things. Even 66% minimum might be less than actual.

But what effect does it have on the average citizen? (Other than being in the only developed country with a government that can’t provide a basic social safety net for its citizens.)

[Just for fun, try factoring in the “War on Drugs” and see how that affects the numbers.]


Why is there a weird hiccup at 2001? The length of the war against terror suddenly loses some time.

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There’s also all the grotty little ‘wars’ between WWI and WWII - in Central America and the Philippines. But I think the author picked some arbitrary definition of At War, rather than just ‘soldiers fighting and dying somewhere’.

Fun fact (maybe apocryphal?): there was only one year in the 20thC in which a British servicemember wasn’t killed by enemy action on active service. There’s WWI and WWII, of course, and the Troubles in NI from the 1969 through to the late-90s, the withdrawal from empire from 1945 though the mid-late 60s, the Falklands in '82, the Northwest Frontier of India for the entire first four decades of the century, the Gulf War in 90-91, etc etc.

I forget what year it was - some time in the mid-1960s, I think.


Lots more war than that. From the perspective of people in the Middle East, the Bush 41’s Gulf War never really ended; the US may have stopped heavy bombings, but they kept troops over there, and maintained a “No-Fly Zone” over the area, which means they’re actively threatening to shoot anyone who flies there, which is still war just as much as a blockade was (including the blockades of the harbors in Nicaragua.) The chart leaves out the US/NATO invasions of the Balkans, Reagan’s brief invasion of Grenada, and the invasion of Panama that followed once the public tolerated Grenada, but the US military was meddling in Latin America pretty much the whole 20th century, including things like overthrowing the government of Guatemala in 1954, training and propping up armies even after military coups, keeping “military advisors” over there just as they did in Vietnam since the mid-50s. Remember the US naval ship Cole getting sunk early in the Reagan years? That happened because the US military was over there. There was lots more as well.


The War on Terror is so broadly defined this graph might as well include the war on drugs and cold war conflicts.
The War on Terror, apart from Gulf Part 2, is closer to sanctioned foreign guerilla warfare. The US has been in other countries and taking fire for much more than this graphic suggests.

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Only half their lives at war? I can’t help thinking of this made by from someone from the IWW (I think).


Yes, at least. In fact, your number is close to the lowest estimates for the Iraq war alone. I’d expect to find the real number somewhere between half a million and a million. But of course, Raddatz explicitly said “young men and women”.

In related news, over 600,000 young men and women died in World War II. (This statement is technically true, as well).

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Good point, but the glaring spelling error practically kills the whole message. I fixed it for us.

Edit: Added the apostrophe to Let’s (thanks @s2redux) I am not adding the hyphens to several of the wars that need them. :open_mouth:

Its not quite fixed yet… ; -)

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I was going to bring that up, but you beat me to it.