No Good Wars: Teaching the History of Modern American Wars as a Means of Resisting Current Ones By

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No Good Wars:

Teaching the History of Modern American Wars as a Means of Resisting Current Ones

Kenneth J. Long, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Chair of

History and Political Science
Saint Joseph College

West Hartford, CT 06117

Presented at the Historians against War Conference in Austin, Texas

February 19, 2006
No Good Wars: Teaching the History of Modern American Wars as a Means of Resisting Current Ones
As someone who has spent virtually all of my life in academic settings, first as a student and then as a professor and scholar, it is easy to wonder how much truth there is in the old adage: those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. As a Political Scientist who frequently teaches and writes from the perspective of anti-pluralist theory (which claims that the divisions of power and checks and balances so extremely ingrained in the American political system make it very difficult for any significant changes in policy to be generated under anything approaching normal circumstances), it is easy to wonder if anyone, teacher/scholar, activist, or politician, can achieve the changes in policy which seem so desperately needed under present circumstances. As an instructor in courses that touch upon issues of, and the history of, leadership, social justice, and activism, it is also easy to wonder if things in America ever were very different in these regards. How easy it might be to wax nostalgic for “the good old days” when students and others took to the streets (or even to university administrative offices) in impressive numbers and with intrepid resolve to try to stop the Vietnam War. But was that the way it went? Weren’t the early years of American involvement in Vietnam met with alarming public passivity and acquiescence? Didn’t it take the shock of the Tet Offensive to stir things up and move the anti-war protest movement from anemic and fringe to vibrant and, in its own way, somewhat mainstream? And, if that is true, is it the case that the U.S. government only loses public support for war-mongering only after it is already well on its way to losing on the “battlefields” (even if it never loses any pitched battles)? If so, is a viable anti-war movement more of a death-knell for a war already well and irretrievably on its way to being lost than an actual agent of change?

Well, in the Fall of 2005, I had all of these questions in mind even if I had no definitive answers to any of them. Still, it seemed as if I had to do something. How could even thoroughly academic me sit by and do nothing, bemoaning the fact that so many of my colleagues, students, and friends seemed to be doing little more than sitting around bemoaning that so little was being done to stop the American aggressions in Afghanistan and Iraq? I suppose I was not particularly prepared to write letters to editors and politicians, to organize protests, or even to “get on the bus” and add my feet to the pavements of protest already scheduled for the Washington Mall, Manhattan’s streets, and elsewhere. Maybe I didn’t have much faith in that (or anything) but I knew that I had to do something, that the something I normally do, and do well, is teach, and that my students seemed particularly in need of a bit more historical understanding of the realities of America at war in the modern era. So I set to work to design and teach a course on the history of modern American wars and to do so with the conscious goal of helping students see the ugly realities of American military aggressions over the past sixty some years and with an unspoken hope that this course might somehow contribute something toward a social and political milieu conducive to the emergence of a viable resistance campaign to help end the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

My course, the History of Modern Wars, was born of my belief that each generation that has to confront the reality of America at war seems to do so with incremental realizations that something is amiss, that the United States does not seem to be living up to its professed values or to the legacy of what they think America stood for in the past. In designing the course, it was my belief that my students (and American college students generally) would be best assisted in reaching deeper levels of understanding of America at war, could leap frog along in the process of disaffection and, in some cases, even resistance, if they could gain insight into the history of modern American wars. Specifically, my goal was to design and teach a course that would help students learn that there have been no good American wars, that the country has never come at all close to living up to the values it professes, and, thus, that there is really little new about the current American aggressions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rarely if ever is my course design and teaching so polemical. Of course, students were repeatedly told that they were in no way expected or required to agree with me in any way. But they were also told that my lectures constituted an extended argument, a radical critique of American foreign and military policy over the past six plus decades. I am aware that many college and university professors are uncomfortable with, or even afraid of, teaching in this manner, worried about being accused of being unpatriotic or, worse still, subversive. I had no such worries. Yes, I have tenure but that was not the reason. My academic institution is a small, liberal, Catholic Women’s college, and it has a very strong climate and culture of academic freedom. The administration, faculty, staff, and students are all preponderantly liberal, and very liberal at that. And, even though what I would be teaching could be reasonably construed as far left of liberal, I had no worries about designing and teaching this course. Besides, the students who flock to my classes have generally taken a class or more with me before. They are generally, as a group, even more liberal than the overall college student population, and they are well aware that I am a socialist who offers non-mainstream critiques of American government and policy. Of course, given my level of disaffection with the brutalities of current American policy, I almost certainly would have taught the course anyway, even if I did have worries about reaction from colleagues, students, or even the general public.

The Course

Saint Joseph College students are liberal and the students most inclined to enroll in my classes are especially so, but the college does not tend to attract students who are particularly activist, inferred, or cosmopolitan. Although a women’s college, the best known programs at the college are very traditional, even old fashioned fields more stereotypically thought to be of interest to women of the 1950s than to contemporary liberal arts oriented feminists: Education, Nursing, and Social Work. Indeed, the college offers no major in Political Science and the students who take my classes do so only in pursuit of elective credit or, at most, completion of a minor. In years past, when I have organized field trips to Boston or New York City, each within a couple of hours by car or bus, I was amazed that the overwhelming majority of students had never been to a big city before. In short, the general profile of the women in my course includes a prepondence of the following qualities: liberal, Catholic, middle class, career-oriented, and politically under-informed and inactive.

The course itself, formally stated, was an examination of the history and politics of major American wars since World War II. Although there was some considerable treatment of American conduct in World War II and of many, many American aggressions that did not rise to the standard of “major war” (e.g. rapid invasions that met with relatively inconsequential resistance such as the invasions of the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama or CIA engineered coup détats such as those in Guatemala, Iran, Chile, and elsewhere), the clear focus of the course was on the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, as well as the current and ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. See Appendix One (Course Syllabus).

Taken together, class lectures made the argument that the current American wars are immoral and worthy of resistance because they are essentially similar to the other modern American wars in that, in all of them, the United States has behaved aggressively and self-interestedly stemming from an ongoing American sense of entitlement to act unilaterally and violently whenever it suits the realpolitik, not purported, goals of American foreign policymakers. These goals consistently have more to do with attacking and undermining third world representative government and national self-determination than with defending them. The exact realpolitik motivations may vary a bit from war to war (e.g., the U.S. Cold War desire to contain all vestiges of socialism versus the current American desire to instill fear throughout the Islamic world by making examples of Afghanistan and Iraq), but the conduct is essentially the same.

The course began with a couple of lectures providing a retrospect on American conduct in World War II. The intent was to challenge prevalent student assumptions about that war by arguing that it was not “the good war,” the one war in which the United States behaved with prevalent selflessness and virtue, a simple case of good (Allies) versus evil (Axis). Of course, Howard Zinn famously has made the case that World War II was not “the good war” in the “A People’s War?” chapter of his well-known history of the United States (1980). Zinn’s chapter focuses as much or more on American conduct in the aftermath of the war as on the war itself. He offers appropriate criticism of the self-interested aspects of the Marshall Plan, the Truman doctrine, and the concomitant undemocratic interventions we supported or carried out directly in Greece, Indochina, Guatemala, the Philippines, Cuba, etc.

The first couple of lectures of this course informed students of some of the more unsavory aspects of American conduct leading up to and during World War II itself. Specifically, the following American actions were introduced and considered:

  • Far from being initially offended by Nazism, the United States fleetingly considered a possible alliance with, rather than against, Nazi Germany with an eye toward considering a possible joint invasion against the Soviet Union (prompting Stalin to try to buy time with his ill fated Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact).

  • Franklin Roosevelt and the United States government were eager to bring an isolationist-minded American public into the war and worked very hard to provoke a Japanese attack. American diplomats were instructed to be intentionally rude and uncompromising whereas Japan preferred a diplomatic solution to the two nations’ clash of territorial interests and ambitions in the Pacific. Japan had a long history of launching wars via surprise attacks and the only real surprise to the United States government was that the attack came at Hawaii rather than the U.S. controlled Philippines.

  • American society at the time was very eugenicist and virulently racist. In the early months of the war, a Time magazine cover pictured a toothy Japanese man and the caption “Wanted: Rat Poison.” It was argued that only racism could fully account for why the United States rounded Japanese-Americans into our own concentration camps and did not do so to German-Americans. The profound hardships caused by the camps and their incompatibility with professed, but apparently not real, core American values on civil liberty, individualism, and limited government were considered. Other American racisms were also addressed (e.g. it was African-American soldiers who were assigned the suicidal task of clearing mines from Omaha Beach in advance of the D-Day landing and it is noteworthy that Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan expunges that history).

  • The United States had some complicity in the Holocaust. There was ample American governmental knowledge of the existence of massively genocidal concentration camps in Nazi controlled territory. Human rights advocates urged the U.S. government to bomb the railroad tracks leading to the camps as a means of slowing the slaughter and saving lives, but the government decided that the Nazi’s were wasting valuable resource on the death camps, rather than directing it into their war effort, and there was little concern by an anti-semetic President and government about the well-being of Jewish Holocaust victims.

  • The United States government knew of, and endorsed, the British firebombing of Dresden. Students learned that Dresden was widely regarded as the most beautiful city in Europe, had no real military targets, and was wiped out (along with nearly 100,000 civilians) in two nights of firebombing to try to deflate German morale and war resolve. The American firebombing of Tokyo was not completely different.

  • The controversy about the American use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki was introduced. Students learned that these cities were selected because they were considered “virgin targets,” cities that had not suffered much if any previous bombing damage (which is to say that they had little or no military significance but were preponderantly purely civilian targets). The “rush” to use nuclear weapons against Japan may have had much more to do with preventing the Soviet Union from having time to gain territory to be liberated from the Japanese Empire and securing a purely unconditional Japanese surrender than with saving the lives of American soldiers by making unnecessary an assault of Japan’s main islands.

In sum, within the first couple of lectures, students learned that the one war they thought was a case of good (us) versus evil (them) was also far more complicated than that and may, in the end, be at best described only as a struggle between lesser and greater evils.

Constituting the bulk of the course, lectures and readings about the wars spanning from the Korean War to the present ones in Afghanistan and Iraq are much harder to overview succinctly. Nonetheless, for each of these wars there may be some core content information that best goes to the heart of why these conflicts can easily be considered matters of American aggression. Such core content is overviewed below.
Students entered the course generally aware that the Korean War was triggered by a Northern and communist invasion of the South. The following information may have been most significant among the many details that helped them see a more nuanced and complex view of the war.

  • Divided by two competing armies liberating Korea from Japan, the government of the American-seized South was as much dictated by the U.S. as the Soviet seized North was by the U.S.S.R. It is very telling that General MacArthur set up a military government under American General John Hodge. Hodge in turn aligned with the far right, kept the Japanese occupation system intact (including use of a brutal secret police), and used a campaign of murder and intimidation to crush political moderates and leftists. By 1946, the United States had placed in charge of Southern Korea the ultra-rightists and ultra-nationalist dictator, Syngman Rhee. The reign of terror Rhee imposed killed about 50,000. Rhee’s ongoing atrocities against his own people during the war constantly undermined the credibility of false American claims to be defending democracy.

  • The United States sought not merely to repel the North’s invasion of the South but to conquer the North and unify Korea. It may have seized defeat from the jaws of victory by bringing American troops so close to China, by bombing even as far north as the border bridges over the Yalu River and, in the process, almost certainly hitting Manchuria itself. The Chinese counter-attack is well known as massive and as responsible for bringing the war to an eventual stalemate conclusion.

If my students entered my course thinking of World War II as “the good war,” they also entered thinking of Vietnam as “the bad war.” Perhaps it was based on little more than an awareness that it became very controversial and unpopular or perhaps it was based on a vague awareness that it was a war, the only war, somehow lost by the United States. But, whether it was based on consequentialist thinking or not, students from the beginning had a vague sense that something was terribly wrong in the Vietnam War. Lectures and discussions provided substance to that sense with details about the following aspects of the war.

  • The United States initially sided with Ho Chi Minh and his nationalist supporters, favored an independent Vietnam, and was thrilled that its new Declaration of Independence and Constitution were patterned on their American equivalents. However, France persuaded the United States to renege on its promises of support and to sanction French reconquest of their former colony. Even the release of Japanese prisoners of war for help in the subjugation of Vietnam and the imposition of a French controlled government in the south was sanctioned by the United States. Despite French and American propaganda to the contrary, preponderant Vietnamese popular opinion throughout the country, both North and South, remained with Ho and favored reunification. Students learned that the National Liberation Front, or Vietcong, comprised of Southerners fighting for national reunification during the American phase of the war, enjoyed massive domestic support and offered a majority of the daily resistance to American occupation of the country.

  • The United States violated the 1954 Geneva Accords, the end to the French phase of the war, by introducing American advisors and troops in support of South Vietnam and, perhaps more significantly, by reneging on the promise of a national referendum to resolve the conflict with national vote to determine the question of reunification. Although the United States argued, unconvincingly, that no assurances could guarantee the absence of voting fraud in and by the North, it was abundantly apparent that no American efforts were made to negotiate a fair or monitored election process and that American policy makers were keenly aware that anything approaching a democratic election would result in a reunification of the country under Ho’s leadership.

  • American’s South Vietnam ally was extremely corrupt (in Diem’s case, so much so that the CIA violently and murderously ousted him) and eventually became, despite a brief interlude of Anti-American civilian rule, essentially a series of military-led puppet governments. The fascist, undemocratic, and brutal nature of these puppet regimes speaks volumes of America’s hostility to democracy in Vietnam.

  • Revelations about the details of the war did and does much to undermine any thought of the war being a just cause for America. The Gulf of Tonkin “incident” was a false and fraudulent excuse for Congressional authorization of funds and rapid escalation. Anti-personnel and defoliant weapons such as cluster bombs and Agent Orange, by their very nature, reveal the indiscriminant nature of American attacks. The routine annihilation of villagers, most extreme at My Lai, but a daily occurrence on a smaller scale, suggest the ubiquitous quality of American war crimes. The American pursuit of disrupting the Ho Chi Minh Trail brought the war into Laos and Cambodia, significantly destabilizing the latter’s government and leading to a long and tortured genocidal history there. American press coverage, at the time far less encumbered and limited than in years prior or since, revealed memorable images of horrific brutality: an allied General executing a teenage suspect on the street, a little girl running naked down a dirt road with her back on fire from agent orange, an American soldier shooting indiscriminately at anything that moved or might have moved, etc.

The first Gulf War may be the conflict for which these students had the least prior knowledge. Early on in the course, when students were asked their opinion of this war, most were reluctant to say much of anything and many professed not knowing enough to have any opinion. Most had a general sense that the war had something to do with dislodging Iraqi troops from occupation of neighboring Kuwait but knew little more than that. The central details of what they learned about the first Gulf war included the following:

  • The British created Kuwait in 1922 with the specific intent of weakening Iraq by denying it an outlet to the Persian Gulf. Still, Iraq’s invasion was prompted not only by territorial ambitions but also in response to a significant dispute over oil. Students learned that a large oil pool lies under the border region between the two countries with the overwhelming majority of it under Iraq but the bulk of the pumping of it being done by corrupt and petty Kuwait. Iraq had a reasonable claim when it alleged that Kuwait was stealing their oil, over-producing to undermine international efforts to secure a decent price for producer nations, and completely intransigent on negotiating a fair solution to these disputes.

  • Before ordering an invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein spoke with American Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. She assured him that the United States was essentially unconcerned, that it might criticize the action but would do nothing to stop or overturn it, that there would be no substantive American response. While some might explain this as incompetence on her part, it was also noted that this might have constituted an American plot to lure Iraq into invading Kuwait, to provide an excuse for an American attack against Iraqi armies. There are many facts that lend credence to this interpretation: Israel had convinced the United States that the size of Iraq’s army was a menace to Israeli and American interests and the United States refused to pursue a negotiated solution to the invasion of Kuwait even though Hussein’s government repeatedly offered a complete withdrawal in return for American promises not to attack Iraq. The outcome of the war is itself suggestive: warfare was not necessary for liberating Kuwait and Saddam was left in power. What occurred was a devastation of Iraq’s military. Attacks against Iraqi soldiers were often designed in such a way that there could be no opportunity for surrender (as with the use of massive dirt throwers to bury alive soldiers holed up in trenches or the encirclement of and massive aerial bombing of troops fleeing toward Baghdad toward the end of the war). The establishment of no-fly zones and the rapidity of attacks (often indiscriminant) made on Iraq whenever an Iraqi radar lock from the ground or flight into either zone was even suspected, contained what was left of the Iraqi military. Of course, one American goal was not to weaken Iraq to the point of empowering Iran.

  • The American plan of war came with quite a cost for our purported key allies. Kuwait may have suffered unnecessarily a brutal invasion and protracted occupation. Iraq’s Shi ‘ites and Kurds were promised help if they rebelled against Saddam’s rule only to be left for slaughter.

  • American press coverage was profoundly censored and misleading. Few Americans had, or even now have, any sense that Americans killed far more civilians than soldiers during the war. Brash propaganda suggests that American Patriot missiles were routinely intercepting and destroying Iraqi SCUD’s while, in reality, not a single one was intercepted.

The wars that received the greatest attention in the course were the current ones, the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq. After all, my overarching objective was to place the current wars in a broad historical context and, in the process, encourage critical reflection about them and perhaps even some inclination to support resistance to them. The Afghanistan War is, in some ways, the forgotten war. Because of the relatively low death toll among American soldiers there, comparative to in Iraq, it is relatively easy for Americans to ignore Afghanistan fatalities, the longevity of the war, and the very limited ability of the United States to cause attrition among the Taliban and gain genuine control over the country. Consequently, this portion of the course’s content may have been especially important to augmenting student knowledge about America at war. Central aspects discussed included:

  • The United States has not demonstrated, or even made a systematic attempt to demonstrate with evidence, reason to conclude that Al Qaeda was in fact responsible for, or participatory in, the September 11 attacks. Instead, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were singled out as something like “the usual suspect” to be assumed responsible. The Taliban regime refused to assist the United States in its effort to eliminate Al Qaeda but they did so aware that an American invasion to oust them was inevitable, that it was coming whether or not they chose a path of appeasement.

  • American “successes” in the war have been grossly exaggerated by war propaganda. The American deal to get Pakistan to switch from supporting the Taliban to opposing them involved guaranteeing the airlifting out of Pakistani soldiers, allowing the Taliban time to disperse in advance of U.S. bombing and invasion. The American government has grossly overestimated Taliban deaths and grossly underestimated civilian ones (especially because of extensive, indiscriminant cluster bombing). American soldiers have either met ferocious resistance or zero engagement but, by far, it has been mostly the latter.

  • American efforts in Afghanistan have been, and continue to be, seriously undermined by the unsavory character of key allies. In the war’s early going, there was fear that dispersal of the Taliban would allow the Northern Alliance to rush toward and into Kabul where it was feared that they would launch a bloodbath against civilians. Since then, the U.S. has pasted together a fragile alliance of corrupt warlords from across the nation but the rule of the American-selected President Hamid Karzai is limited by his reliance on corrupt warlord allies and his inability to control much of anything beyond Kabul. Banditry and the drug trade may be all that is thriving in Afghanistan these days with the Taliban resistance, while still small scale, is none the weaker for the many years of trying. For a war that gets little attention here, America may be well on its way to losing it anyway. Interestingly, many of my students had the initial misconception that primary opposition to American soldiers in Afghanistan came from Al Qaeda. They had little awareness that Al Qaeda is a tiny and international group but that the Taliban are far more numerous and national.

  • Students were also asked to consider the wisdom of American approval of Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons in order to destroy 50,000 Taliban soldiers given the potential long-term instability of the Pakistani government and the possibility of an Islamist revolution there.

Of course, it was the current Iraq war that was foremost on my students’ minds. They came into the class with a sense that things were not going well and that there was something wrong with both the professed rationale for the war and with the apparent lack of progress in trying to win it. Often, students seemed most interested in the weird little incidents that peppered the history of the war: the American soldiers who in the first day of invasion took down an Iraqi flag to replace it with an American one only to be told eventually that such behavior was incompatible with the notion that we were liberating, not conquering, the country; the extreme ineptitude of the falsified documents “demonstrating” an Iraqi effort to purchase fissionable material from Niger (Niger’s “signatory” had been out of office for more than a decade prior to the date on the document); the American soldiers who wished to be generous on Thanksgiving but feared going into the cities (they opted to knock on a door, fling a frozen turkey inside, and run to the next house). Still, the more critical information provided in the course included the following:

  • The American rationale for the war was, in fact, baseless. Iraq did not possess, and was not attempting to possess, weapons of mass destruction. While it is true that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, the tyrannical quality of many of America’s key, and heavily subsidized, allies in the war (e.g. Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan or Pervez Masharraf in Pakistan) is, by almost any objective measure, far worse.

  • American conduct in the war has effectively eliminated any possibility of claiming a moral high ground. Take as evidence, for example, the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib (and the extensive use of torture elsewhere) and the American use of white phosphorus (which although not yet defined as a chemical weapon clearly is and meets all the definitial criteria of the Geneva accord). As in Afghanistan, the military effectiveness of American bombing was heavily undermined by the dispersal of troops prior to the bombardment (the Iraqi army was assigned to their homes, with ammunition and supplies, prior to the American attacks).

  • The war has devolved into a sectarian civil war – Shi’ites and Kurds generally supporting the American established government and Sunnis generally comprising the resistance movements. The key point here is that people are being killed on the basis of their sectarian affiliation and individuals have little or no choice but to cast their lot with their sectarian community. There is little prospect that such a war can be resolved in any direction anytime soon. Many years of war, if not several decades of it, seem inevitable and it seems unlikely that the United States will have the resolve to stay for the duration.

Taken altogether, this then was the principle substance of my “polemical” course on the history of Modern American wars, my extended argument that the United States has continually behaved aggressively, unjustly, and even ineptly over the course of its many wars in the modern era. It was a course I felt I had to teach, to voice what I felt literally demanded to be said whether it would have any effect on students or not. Still, it was my hope that the course would encourage my students to think more critically and perhaps, in some instances, even be spurred to activism in resistance. In the end, the opinion surveys I collected gave me more reason to be optimistic about the former than the latter. My students did become more critical of American war efforts--sometimes significantly so. There is, however, little reason to believe that they are more likely to engage in any anti-war activism.

The Student Attitude and Opinion Surveys

At the beginning of the course and one week after its conclusion, students from my class and others from a control group (students completing a World History course with another instructor of the same college, a course that did not offer any substantive coverage of these wars) were administered a brief opinion survey. The survey questions addressed the same five questions for each of the six wars (World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Afghanistan, and Iraq) that were the foci of my course. Those five questions were:

  • Was/is the war just for the United States?

  • Would you have been, or are you, willing to serve in combat for the U.S. military in the war if drafted?

  • Would you have been, or are, willing to volunteer to serve in combat for the U.S. military in the war?

  • Would you have been, or are you, willing to attend rallies protesting American involvement in the war?

  • Would you have been, or are you, willing to contribute time or money to help protest American involvement in the war?

Of the 20 students in my class, 19 completed the pre-test and 15 completed the post-test. Of the 15 students in the control group, 13 completed the pre-test and 10 completed the post-test. Answers were provided on a seven point Likert scale with one representing strong disagreement and seven strong agreement. (See Appendix Two, Opinion Survey) (See Tables One through Six for a summary of response means for all questions.)

The first thing worth noting is that the students who enrolled in my course (compared to the control group of those who took World History) came into it with somewhat less resistance to the idea of participating in, or contributing to, anti-war protests. Still, only in the cases of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, were my students more inclined to agree than disagree with statements indicating a willingness to support protest (and, for Afghanistan and Iraq, their pre-test responses were just barely in a “positive” direction). In the pre-course measure, administered in the first class session, my students were somewhat more inclined than the World History students to describe the Gulf War as just and somewhat less inclined than them to describe World War II as just. Overall, however, the two groups did not initially differ much in their appraisal of the morality of these wars. Interestingly, my students were less reluctant in their expressed willingness to serve the U.S. in combat in the first Gulf War, by draft or volunteering, than were the World History students. There were no significant differences between the two groups on willingness to serve the U.S. military in the pre-test measures for the other five wars. These responses made me wonder if the World History students didn’t initially mistake the first Gulf War for the current, and generally less popular, Iraq War. In any case, both groups’ disinclinations to serve even if drafted (they both expressed strong disinclinations to honor a draft for all wars except World War II), makes me wonder if these women had little sense that draft refusal has generally been an imprisonable offense or if they had a strong expectation or belief that women should not be drafted.

Post-tests were administered to both groups one week after classes ended and after the final exam week concluded. On all thirty questions, my students reported more anti-war attitudes on the post-test than they had on the pre-test. The course clearly seems to have had

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