Many National Guard
personnel who served on the frontlines in Afghanistan and Iraq had enlisted
for economic or educational reasons well in advance of the terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The idea of training
one weekend a month plus two weeks in the summer while remaining in
their jobs, with their families, and in their communities was particularly
attractive. For many, a “Global War on Terror” lacked personal
resonance, even though they were quite prepared to serve when called
upon. Some, initially skeptical about U.S. involvement, particularly
in Iraq, became more persuaded over time; others grew more skeptical.
While the tradition of keeping military service divorced from politics
continues largely intact, some of these veterans articulate strong views
about the conflicts. Members of the National Guard, exercising their
role as citizen-soldiers, were particularly outspoken.