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Why so few veterans in congress?

Did you know that after the end of the military draft 40 years ago and the gradual retirement and passing away of the World War II generation have contributed to a record low of 17 veterans in the 100-member U.S. Senate.


In the House of Representatives the total of 85 veterans – out of 435 members – is also the lowest since World War II.


Why do you think there are so few veterans in congress?


AARP Blog on this topic:

Regular Contributor

Our most recent Congress ....


As a veteran I used to think that in order to get elected you had to raise so much money in order to beat the career polititian and in order to do that had to accept help from people wanting favors in which still tied your hands from your ideals going in to a political office to make things better. So to me I believe it isn't that Veterans don't want to serve but as Veterans our ideals can't be boughtas easily and that seems to be the way things have to be done in order to get elected these days. For the most part and of course there are exceptions to every rule and perception as I make no claim that any Veteran currently holding office (or in the past) was bought and will not maintain their ideals and values of a military Veteran regardless of the branch they served.


Just to note of the 96 members of our current congress with Veteran status 53 have no combat experience, not that has bearing of being a Veteran but interesting to note and  of the 43 that do 6 of them have served in both of our most recent conflicts (OIF and OEF). Hopefully those members that haven't served will value the opinion of those that have on all matters important to vets and their families as well as all Americans!


US Army Retired!!

Gold Conversationalist

its so sad that that is true.they are they ones who will decide to send our troops onto a war. as a vet, who never had to go into a conflict, i give all my respect to those who did.times have changed and so has politics. they may be so disillutioned by the way politics are and do not want to get involved with and go below the honor they have earned.

dont take life too serious
Honored Social Butterfly

Additionally, the methods of war have changed. Drone strikes are generated from basically "game rooms" from various locations here in the United States. At some point in the far, but not too far, future, war will be waged with mostly non-human components.


With that said, being in Washington is like being on another planet. Relationships don't operate as they do in the real world. I, too, feel if you are sending people into conflict, that you should have some real life experience of having been in conflict. That people pool will become smaller and smaller as time goes on though......... unless we have another World War where 100's of thousands serve.


Not wanting that to happen, I just hope future politicians surround themselves with knowledgable advisors for all the areas in which they do not have life experiences.


Don’t be fooled into thinking that future wars will be conducted without human involvement on the battlefield.  After WW2, the military made the mistake of thinking that all future wars were going to be nuclear, and the Air Force started neglecting most acquisitions of aircraft that were not Strategic Air Command oriented.  Then Korea came along, and early in the fight, we suffered many losses.  There will always be a tin pot dictator trying to make a name for himself by trying to involve us in a minor conflict somewhere.  It is more apt to happen, if and when we are not prepared to deal with it.

Honored Social Butterfly

Veterans probably fall into 2 categories; the ones who become passionate about making things better for their military brothers & sisters, and the ones who don't want to think about their experience & focus on happier things in life.


The younger veterans didn't participate in "popular wars", and didn't get the same adulation the GIs got after WWII. It's not surprising if they don't have favorable connections to the government now.


The other night I watched part of a PBS special about the draft, and a whole other subject came up .. that it affected the lower economic class & less educated families more, because they couldn't get educational exemptions or others through family contacts. So those veterans would be less likely to run for Congress as well.

Registered on Online Community since 2007!

My husband is a Veteran. I can't speak for anyone else as to what their reasons are but I know my husband wouldn't want to be a politician simply because he would not be bought and paid for and would represent all the people. I know many politicians say they represent everyone and no doubt many believe that. I know not every politician is bought and paid for by those with the most money but in our opinion most are and my husband would say he fought for "the rich, the poor, the middle class, the homeless, the sick, seniors, young people, well everyone, and it's too hard to survive in congress doing what's right for everyone!"

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