I agree with Astore
that the real answer lies in the increasingly amorphous nature of the War on Terror.
In both world wars and Korea, there were clearly defined enemies whose threat to democracy was unquestioned. That was the case in Vietnam until the war's
underlying lies were revealed and public opinion turned against that war with a vengeance. Additionally, there were drafts for all three conflicts, whereas today's wars are being fought by all-volunteer forces, professional warriors don't evoke the outpouring of sympathy like the kid next door who went off to Verdun, Iwo Jima
, Heartbreak Ridge or Khe
But the rationale for the Iraq war changed with the seasons, the Bush administration censored grizzly battlefield images, as well as footage of GIs
returning in flag-draped coffins, and Americans in general were too preoccupied with shopping at the mall to pay much attention.
Afghanistan is even blurrier because the Bush administration starved that war of boots and resources in the service of going after Saddam Hussein, and while the war has been escalated on Obama's
watch, media interest has flagged, and much of the action involves drone operators sitting at consoles in stateside bases and super-secret special forces who don't have reporters and camera crews in their midst.
* * * * *
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the U.S.'s highest military award. Given for extraordinary valor, 964 Medals of Honor were awarded for the four major 20th
century wars, while a mere six have been awarded for Iraq and Afghanistan.Howcum
Primarily because U.S. forces have encountered very little close-up combat in either war, and certainly not the major firefights and sustained actions against organized enemy units as in 20th
Incidentally, the White House recently received a recommendation for a seventh recipient, a soldier who is being cited for bravery in Afghanistan. He would become the first living recipient since Vietnam.