Gauging the Effectiveness of Anti-war Activities Essay
The Vietnam War leaves many dark legacies described in the superlatives: the most unpopular war, the most bombs dropped compared to all prior wars combined, the worst loss in U.S. military operation, and the list goes on.However, a legacy that is acutely palpable today as many Americans protest against the war in Iraq is the phobia about sending American troops abroad – otherwise known as the Vietnam syndrome.
The Vietnam War is a black hole in U.S history that Americans do not want to revisit. This is evident through the U.S.'s concentrated and decisive attacks during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 (perhaps soon to be Persian Gulf War I) that never eradicated the Saddam regime and its brief involvement in the Yugoslavia ethnic cleansing crises.Now, the possibility of war is near.The fear still resonating from Vietnam and the hope for peace prompt Americans to take a place in demonstrations.However, we must ask ourselves, how effective are protests and demonstrations in changing the minds, the policy of the people who ultimately decide the course of events and are resolute to do so by force?This is not to discredit the necessity of protests and demonstrations, but to question as to how one gauges the effectiveness of such actions.
Deriving from the Oxford English Dictionary, to demonstrate is to publicly manifest an interest in public issues, usually taking the form of a procession or mass-meeting, and to protest is to express dissent or rejection of prevailing issues.During the Vietnam War, a distinction arose between these two concepts. Demonstration refers to a passive manifestation while protest refers to a more forceful one. However, the goal of these two activities is essentially the same: demanding a change in policy of a certain issue, which in the context of this essay is war.
Various protests and demonstrations in history yielded different results. In the 1940's, the passive resistance against…