Have we reached the end of publicly-supported, mutli-decade wars that have no estimable completion deadline and no clear-cut objectives? Now that they're done ruining the turkey industry, it appears that millennials have found another staple of the American economy to kill.
Recent polls conducted by Stanford University have indicated that youth born between the years of 1982 and 2004 widely oppose the invasion of foreign nations on shaky premises. Despite the rise in sales of Support Our Troops bumper stickers and tactical gear being 20 percent off at FireForEffect.com, it seems like young people just aren't interested in following the previous generations' footsteps.
DuffelBlog took to the streets of Portland to meet some of these millennials. The conversations were edifying, and perhaps a little frightening.
Josiah Denter, a budding wine grape taxonomist, graciously put his plans for not buying a house and not having children on hold to talk to Duffel Blog. He seemed alarmingly unconcerned about the health of the protracted war industry.
"I mean, I guess drones are cool and all. But I prefer using them to take selfies during a three day nature cleanse in Joshua Tree National Park. Not, like, hellfire missiles and stuff," Denter said.
The U.S. defense budget increased from $664 billion to $688 billion from 2017 to 2018 – a 3 percent increase. That may sound like the war industry is booming, but it's actually down from the 2016 to 2017 change, which was nearly an 11 percent increase. The blame for the missing 8 percent can be placed firmly at the feet of young people who no longer enjoy spending their adult lives in moral gray areas.
Millennials, however, aren't taking the finger-pointing lying down. Many of them believe that their lack of support for wars old enough to be their fathers is due to an increasingly polarized economic system, designed to keep wealth at the top 1 percent and shrink the size of the middle class.
"I can't invade a foreign country until the minimum wage achieves parity with inflation and the purchasing power of the dollar," local niche scatological artist Sarah Alshaz said on her Twitch channel, which, combined with her Patreon, is her only source of income. "I also have nearly three hundred thousand dollars of school loans to pay off. Liberal arts degrees from Ivy League schools are expensive. We just can't afford war like the baby boomers, who could conduct a land war in Europe on a single income with a pension."
It's a problem of outreach, according to recruitment specialists. The armed forces are trying to target millennials in hopes they can convince them that a small Middle Eastern country using dial-up internet is worth bombing with ordnance worth more than its GDP, but success has been minimal.
"We tried that," Maj. Lindsey Wilkinson, a Strategic Command spokesperson, said in a blog article. "It backfired. It seems like no matter how we hashtag something, the droves of millennials on social media just aren't ready to do what it takes to embroil the United States in long, drawn-out conflicts with no clear objectives. I believe America has seen its best days."
Even after examining the statistics, the fate of the endless war industry has yet to be determined. But, if millennials have anything to say about it, the war in Afghanistan – and others like it – may only extend to 2035.