Since the 1990s, the U.S. Census has
occasionally asked people about their military experience, including whether
they had served in Vietnam. There were some interesting results. In 1995, the
census data showed 11.2 million people said they served during the Vietnam war
period. But only nine million American actually served in the armed forces during
the official Vietnam war period (1964-1975, most U.S. troops were out of
Vietnam by 1972, and the big build up didn't begin until 1965). And only 30
percent of those were actually in
Vietnam. That's 2.7 million troops. The census estimated that, by 1995, only 63
percent of Vietnam veterans were still alive. That meant that 30 years later,
Vietnam era veterans who actually served in Vietnam were now only 15 percent of
the Vietnam era veterans. Someone is apparently lying to the census. Note that,
as a group, Vietnam veterans are healthier, wealthier and better educated than
the population as a whole.
Another survey, in 2000, showed the number of
people claiming Vietnam era service had grown to nearly fifteen million. No
doubt, it probably still grows. Most of those who did serve in Vietnam,
volunteered for it. Some two-thirds of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.
Those who served in Vietnam represented nearly ten percent of the men of their
generation. The current war on terror will probably only involved a few
percent. Moreover, as bad as Iraq is, you were more than twice as likely to be
killed or wounded in Vietnam. Phony "Iraq veterans" are already showing up,
continuing a nasty social custom that can be traced back to the 19th century.