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Monday, September 27, 2004

I know, I know... 

I haven't been updating my blog, or even keeping up with the project I started on it...However, I think only one other person besides me even reads this thing. But just incase someone gets here through the random blog button...you should really go check out 'Baghdad Burning' on my blog list. She is a blogger living in Iraq and tells it like it is for the people there. She doesn't get a chance to update often...something about not having alot of electricity in a war torn country...anyway, its a great blog...you should check it out.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Chapter 1 page 4 

"I came home from the war with the curious feeling that I had grown older then my father, who was then 51. It was as if a lifetime of experience had been compressed into a year and a half. A man saw the heights and depths of human behavior in Vietnam, all manner of violence and horrors so grotesque that they evoked more facination then disgust. Once I had seen pigs eating napalm-charred corpses--a memorable sight, pigs eating roast people."

"I had survived enough ambushes and doubted my capacity to endure many more physical or emotional shocks. I had all the symptoms of 'combat veteranitis': an inability to concentrate, a child-like fear of darkness, a tendancy to tire easily, chronic nightmares, an intolerance of load noises-especially doors slamming and cars backfiring-and alternating moods of depression and rage that came over me for no apparent reason. Recovery has been less then total."

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Prologue...pages xx-xxi 

"The air-conditioned headquarters of Saigon and Danang seemed thousands of miles away. As for the United States, we did not call it 'the World' for nothing; it might as well have been on another planet. There was nothing familiar out where we were, no churches, no police, no laws, no newspapers, or any of the restraining influences without which the earth's population of virtuous people would be reduced by ninety-five percent. It was the dawn of creation in the Indochina bush, an ethical as well as geographical wilderness. Out there, lacking restraints, sanctioned to kill, confronted by a hostile country and a relentless enemy, we sank into a brutish state. The descent could be checked only by the net of a man's inner moral values, the attribute that is called character. There were a few-and I suspect Lieutenant Calley was one-who had no net and plunged all the way down, discovering in their bottommost depths a capacity for malice they probably never suspected was there."

"Most American soldiers in Vietnam-at least the ones I knew- could not be divided into good men and bad. Each possessed roughly equel measures of both qualities. I saw men who behaved with great compassion toward the Vietnamese one day and then burned down a village the next. They were, as Kipling wrote of his Tommy Atkins, neither saints 'nor blackguards too/But single men in barricks most remarkable like you.' That may be why Americans reacted with such horror to the disclosures of U.S. atrocities while ignoring those of the other side: the American soldier was a reflection of themselves."

"This book is not a work of the imagination. The events related are true, the characters real, though I have used fictitious names in some places. I have tried to describe accurately what the dominant event in the life of my generation, the Vietnam War, was like for the men who fought in it. Toward that end, I have made a great effort to resist the veteran's inclination to remember things the way he would like them to have been rather then the way they were."

"Finally, this book ought not to be regarded as a protest. Protest arises from a belief that one can change things or influence events. I am not egotistical enough to believe I can. Besides, it no longer seems necessary to registar an objection to the war, because the war is over. We lost it, and no amount of objecting will resurrect the men who died, without redeeming anything, on calvaries like Hamburger Hill and the Rockpile."

"It might, perhaps, prevent the next generation from becoming crucified in the next war.
But I don't think so." from 'A Rumor of War' by Philip Caputo

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

New Project for my Blog..... 

I've been reading the book, "A Rumor of War" by Philip Caputo, about the Vietnam War. It is a very well-written, thought-provoking book. Each day or so, I would like to share a passage or so from the book. Here is the first installment....

"The discovery that the men we had scorned as peasant guerrillas were, in fact, a lethal, determined enemy and the casualty lists that lengthened each week with nothing to show for the blood being spilled broke our early confidence. By autumn, what had begun as an adventurous expedition had turned into an exhausting, indecisive war of attrition in which we fought for no cause other then our own survival."
"Writing about this kind of warfare is not a simple task. Repeatedly, I have found myself wishing that I had been a veteran of a conventional war, with dramatic campaigns and historic battles for subject matter instead of a monotonous succession of ambushes and fire-fights. But there were no Normandies or Gettysburgs for us, no epic clashes that decided the fates of armies or nations. The war was mostly a matter of enduring weeks of expectant waiting and, at random intervals, of conducting vicious manhunts through jungles and swamps where snipers harassed us constantly and booby traps cut us down one by one." Pages xiv-xv.

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