This generation barely knows it’s at war.
John Legend: Well I think certain things are different about each of those wars [the US/Iraq war and the US/Afghanistan war]. But I think fundamentally both of those wars were wars of choice that, in retrospect, particularly for me in advance I believed that Iraq was a bad idea, but in retrospect I believe that even more people believe that. But both of those were wars of choice.
One major difference is the lack of a draft in Iraq versus the draft in Vietnam. I think more people felt the pain of Vietnam because of the draft, and because so many more people across a broader spectrum of socio-economic status were going to the war. And so I think the country felt the pain, and young people particularly felt the pain of Vietnam more than I think we feel it now here in 2008 with Iraq. Because a lot of us don’t even know people that are at war. We know of people, but there are a lot of us that don’t know people that are in Iraq. I meet families on the road, but I don’t have any family members that are in Iraq, and a lot of people don’t. And I think that allows a lot of people to not think about Iraq, and not think about the fact that 4,000 of our soldiers have died there; and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died during the time that we’ve been there.
It allows us to kind of distance ourselves from it, but I hope we don’t forget that war is costly. War costs a lot of lives, and it costs a lot of money that we could have been spending on a lot of other things. And hopefully our next president will not take us into a war of choice with the recklessness that we were taken into Iraq.
Recorded on: Jan 29, 2008