Day 9 4 February 2003

1. Names. IMPORTANT SCHEDULE CORRECTION: No group responding for Th., but A for 2/11, B 2/13, C 2/18, D, 2/20. I sent an email; Chris’s and Kelly’s bounced.

Topic statements due Thursday. One more day on Missing Peace; Color Purple is next.

Pass sheet around: everybody: let me know what you’re planning.

In the news: Columbia disaster has crowded most else from the news, though everything else rolls on. Powell speaks at the U. N. tomorrow, trying to convince the rest of the world that the path to peace runs through war. Etc.

2. Today, our subject is Vietnam, at least what Vietnam means for the US, which is of course quite another thing than what it means for Vietnamese.

Start with some general feedback on Platoon. What did you think? It’s very close to the ground, very much about the experience of combat there. I want to also step back and talk about wider issues, but let’s start with the close in ones.

What are the realities of war, here? No fixed battle lines, night missions out into jungle, villages where it’s not at all clear who’s on which side, the near-massacre that results, ambushes and booby traps, tunnel complexes.

The soldiers: mostly young, heavily skewed towards poor and people of color. Drugs and alcohol. Division between “heads” and drinkers. Ineffectual lieutenant. Rotations by individual, rather than units that stay intact—everybody counting down his own time left in country. At odds with each other as well as with the enemy.

The two sergeants: Barnes and Elias. What do they represent for Taylor, the narrator and central character? His two fathers, he says. The difference in how they fight: both are capable soldiers, but Elias has a sense of honor and discretion while Barnes is just a killer. Barnes as Ahab, bent on revenge (complete with scar). Elias as Christ figure, raising his arms in the clearing with the ruined church in the background.

The last battle, chaos and confusion, finally the officer calls in air strikes on his own position. An ironic variation on one of the most famous lines of the war: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

We might, of course, ask whether these are the only two options. Certainly this isn’t the “whole story” of the way. But it’s a part of the story that I think rings true.

Wider Issues: How did this happen? This summary of the TV series provides a useful overview of the history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and much more if you explore the links.

My Notes from 2000:

Some background: A kind of progression from WW II, the “Good War,” with a clear enemy, a clear sense that fundamental US interests were directly threatened.  Next came Korea, which was less clearly defined, more localized, and less successful for the US; it ended in an armed truce that persists to this day, 40-some years later.  Then came Vietnam

Essentially the US took over the French role as colonialists; the war represents one of the most striking practical results of the “liberal consensus” conviction that in Cold War conditions, the US must be transformed from a nation born and rooted in anti-colonial revolution to a conservative world power committed to suppressing such revolutions. 

There were a variety of rationales given for the war.  Perhaps most important now is the realization that unlike WW I or II there was no single, clear entry point, no starting date. Less than 1000 advisers under Eisenhower, up to 15,000 by 1963.  The Tonkin Gulf incident in August 1964, significantly misrepresented and used by Johnson to justify expansion of direct U.S. military role.

The US slipped gradually from supplying a few advisors to taking a more active role to escalating numbers of ground troops to a truly massive investment of people and weapons. At the high point there were more than half a million US soldiers in Vietnam, a country on about the same scale as Ohio, and there were more tons of bombs dropped on North Vietnam and its neighbors than in all of WW II. Tactical strikes by small planes to support ground troops and strategic “carpet-bombing” by B-52’s, some of which flew 10,000 mile missions from Guam, dropping their tons of bombs from 30,000 feet where they were safe and all but invisible from the ground below. 

There was the “domino theory”: that if one country in the region fell to Communism, others would follow.  There were the “strategic location” and “valuable minerals” theories, though we seem to have survived the years since Vietnam fell to the Communists somehow.  Really, pretty clearly, the dominant reason was the felt need to resist the spread of communism, to stop “it” there before, as someone famously said, we had to fight “them” in San Francisco.  Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were all faced with a set of bad alternatives: escalation, stalemate or losing, essentially. Johnson’s speech on Vietnam, 1965.

“But there is more to it than that. For our generation has a dream. It is a very old dream. But we have the power and now we have the opportunity to make it come true.

For centuries, nations have struggled among each other. But we dream of a world where disputes are settled by law and reason. And we will try to make it so.

For centuries, nations have struggled among each other. But we dream of a world where disputes are settled by law and reason. And we will try to make it so.

For most of history men have hated and killed one another in battle. But we dream of an end to war. And we will try to make it so.

For all existence most men have lived in poverty, threatened by hunger. But we dream of a world where all are fed and charged with hope. And we will help make it so.

The ordinary men and women of North Vietnam and South Vietnam-of China and India-of Russia and America-are brave people. They are filled with the same proportions of hate and fear, of love and hope. Most of them want the same things for themselves and their families. Most of them do not want their sons ever to die in battle, or see the homes of others destroyed . . . .

Every night before I turn out the lights to sleep, I ask myself this question: Have I done everything that I can do to unite this country? Have I done everything that I can do to unite this country? Have I done everything I can to help unite the world, to try to bring peace and hope to all the peoples of the world? Have I done enough?

Ask yourselves that question in your homes and in this hall tonight. Have we done all we could? Have we done enough? . . . . “

The idealism of the early years of the war.  Caputo (102) writes knowingly, if somewhat bitterly, about his own entrance into the war, his fascination with the idea of war and the excitement that it promised.  At the start of the 60’s, with Kennedy idealism in the air, the idea of fighting bravely (and inevitably victoriously) for freedom was widespread.  As a nation we were closer to WW II in 1965 than we are to Vietnam in 2002.

In Philip Caputo’s memoir A Rumor of War he writes of how that idealism and excitement were driven out of him by the reality of Vietnam combat, where the clarity and chivalry of his generation’s vision of combat--largely a romanticized version of the WW II experience of their fathers--crashed and burned.  Heat, rain, jungles, a slippery and persistent enemy, boredom and fear and sudden bursts of terror.  A slow war of attrition, in which “body counts” became the official measure of how we were doing. 

Official pronouncements were optimistic for years; surely, it seemed, with so many men and such overwhelming firepower we would crush the Viet Cong guerillas and North Vietnamese.  But the war on the ground was always difficult; jungle terrain, hit-and-run tactics, no clear front lines, no clear enemy, very difficult to achieve clear results.  The problem, always, is fighting the last war rather than the current one. 

In 1967, determined to muster public support for the war that had been drifting away, LBJ demanded good news.  “Body counts” and kill ratios went higher and higher, and Gen. Westmoreland claimed that the end was in view, the famous light at the end of the tunnel.  Approval ratings did go up, sharply; sometimes lies work, for a while.  During this time, though, television news coverage brought images of the war into everybody’s living room--images of confused struggles in jungles, men ducking and firing blindly, scurrying around, tending to each others’ wounds. 

161: spring 67 mainstream protests on campus, increasing perplexity about war even within administration.  McNamara’s questions that became “Pentagon Papers.”  Bad options, 162-3: escalate, keep stable stalemate, or demobilize. “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” Martin Luther King Jr., 1967.

“In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of  suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

Another fascinating what-if question here: what if we had taken the side of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese nationalists in the fifties, stood with a revolutionary movement that was trying to throw off a colonial power as American colonists had done in 1776?

Then in Jan. 1968, just as the presidential primaries were about to begin, came the Tet offensive, with bitter fighting in Saigon, Hue, Khe Sanh, and elsewhere.  Though the US beat back the enemy eventually, Tet made it plain that the official pronouncements of victory at hand were just not true.  And the offensive fundamentally changed American public opinion, as the pragmatic argument that we just couldn’t win, at least not without wiping out Vietnam altogether, gained strength. 

Anderson 185: “Tet shattered the myth [of American invincibility on the battlefield.]  Polls from January to March recorded one of the most profound opinion shifts in history.  Earlier, hawks had outnumbered doves 60 to 24 percent; a month later doves led hawks 42 to 41 percent.  Furthermore, those approving LBJ’s handling of the war plummeted to a record low, only 26 percent, and almost 80 percent felt that the U.S. was not making any progress in Vietnam.”

By the spring of 1968 the unpopularity of the war and the surprising strength of antiwar candidate Eugene McCarthy in the primaries forced LBJ to announce he wouldn’t run again for president. (I read recently, somewhere, that by then he knew the war could not be won.) That left McCarthy, RFK, and HH as the main contenders; both McCarthy and RFK were antiwar, RFK less so, but a good campaigner whose success in California was punctuated by his assassination.  With his death, HH’s nomination, and Nixon’s victory in the ‘68 election the antiwar movement also became rather divided, as the war dragged on for another five years while Nixon and Kissinger tried to extract concessions from the North Vietnamese at the bargaining table and the North Vietnamese, aware that time was on their side, gave up more or less nothing. Finally a “peace agreement” was reached and the U.S. pulled out completely, only to see the N. Vietnamese sweep south and into Saigon not long after.

The war, and popular opposition to it, raised questions that Americans are still trying to answer.  Some are symbolized in slogans: “Love it or leave it,” “change it or lose it.”  It divided the country in ways we’re still trying to recover from. It deflected huge sums of money and public attention from other causes, and made it harder to unite people toward reaching other goals. It helped to create suspicion and cynicism about politics and politicians . . . 

Some are more abstract and troubling: Anderson 165: what is treason, what is patriotism?  Is the primary duty of citizens to obey their leaders, or to act according to their conscience and convictions?  What is the truth, when what is happening so far away reaches into every living room and classroom in the country? 

LBJ’s and MLK’s versions of the war and reasons for being for it and against it: it’s hard to believe they’re talking about the same situation, hmm?  Though they both invoke the Bible, and other powerful archetypes.

My Platoon running notes

Sept. 67: Taylor arrives on transport plane, dusty runway, body bags being loaded onto the plane they just got off of. Seasoned GI’s passing the other way. “65 and a wake-up.” Counting the days—tours of duty.

I don’t think I can take this, grandma.

Sergeant who runs things, lt. who doesn’t, good corporal and bad corporal.

Going out on ambush, with the new meat, the cherries.

Dead end guys, poor and unwanted, fighting for our society and freedom. They call themselves grunts. They’re the best I’ve ever seen grandma, the heart and soul.

Maybe I can start over from here, not fake it.

Lizard crawling up statue, bugs wake him, watch guy is asleep. What’s out there in the fog, in the jungle? Guys with weeds on helmets.

Heart sounds. Fire fight, suddenly. Wounded guy screaming. Taylor gets little wound, thinks he’s dying. It’s Gardner has the big chest wound. Berenger says to take a look at this lump of shit. Keep your shit wired tight at all times. Taylor gets blamed for sleeping though it was Junior.

Back at base, King and Taylor get put on latrine duty by the nasty O’Neill.

How’d you get here anyway? I volunteered, says Taylor. Dropped out of college. Why should just the poor kids go off to war and the rich kids get away with it?

You got to be rich in the first place to think like that.

King introduces him to the heads. This here’s Chris, he been resurrected. He smokes the long pipe, while White Rabbit plays.

Dafoe: the worm has definitely turned for you, man.

Then “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” While the rednecks drink beer to that.

 Bunny: the gooks put chemicals in that shit, so we won’t fight, become pacifists. The clean cut lieut. comes in, looking to mingle. O’Neill sucks up to him, then “there’s one sorry ass mf.” He’s not going to make it.

Meanwhile the heads are getting happy underground. Tears of a Clown. Manly love of comrades. Singing along.

New Years Day 68. Taylor looks more like a real soldier. They find a bunker. Somebody goes in. Dafoe. Taylor sent to cover flank. Everybody smoking. Hospital underground. Dead soldier. Back up, maps, papers in box. Booby trap.

Dafoe/Elias gets out. Berenger mad about guys wounded. They move out. Lt. says to leave four there with medic. Manny’s dead by the stream.

Barnes was the eye of our rage, our Capt. Ahab. We’d set things right through him. Into the village they go.

Round up villagers, shoot pig, find people hiding underground, girls and women. They scream and cry, grenade in hole, man down in hut. They find weapons, extra rice. Taylor with boy who seems retarded, screaming, threatening. Guy has only one leg, one eye. Finally CT starts to cry. Bunny wants to kill the guy. Beats him with gun. Blood on face. “See that fuckin head come apart, man? Never seen brains like that, man. Let’s do this whole fuckin village.”

Talking to guy—waste him, then see who talks. He says NVA made them store stuff, they’re just farmers. Noisy woman, Berenger shoots her.

Just as Barnes is threatening little girl Elias comes in, stops him. Fight in dirt, men yelling.

LT. finally stops them. Torch this place, he says. Elias—to lieut, why didn’t you do something? Lt says he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

Huts burning, Barber Adagio for Strings.

CT stops guys raping girl. She’s a fucking human being, man, you’re fucking animals. You a homosexual, man?

They move out with prisoners, fire behind them. Explosions.

Officer tells Barnes and Elias to cease fire. Back into bunker complex tomorrow.

Black guys talking. Barnes knows what he’s doing. Other guy: a Christian wouldn’t be going around cutting heads off.

Bunny and O’Neill sucking up to Barnes. Somebody ought to frag Elias.

CT and Elias. “I love this place at night. No right or wrong in the stars.” Elias: ”I believed in 65, now no. We’re going to lose this war.” “It’s time we got ours kicked.”

CT voice over: struggle to maintain both strength and sanity. Civil war in platoon, half with each guy.

Ambush, Taylor charges up. Calling in artillery or something. Big fire fight. Lt. gives wrong coordinates, guys get wounded.

Taylor with Elias. E. sets off on own. Barnes says pull back, he’ll get Elias. NVA come, CT and one other shooting at em. Crawford shot. They pull back, Barnes after Elias. He’s frozen in the undergrowth, listening, then moving.

Barnes shoots a bunch of gooks, Elias gets some too, they run toward each other. Barnes shoots him. Taylor comes out, Barnes tells him E. is dead and CT should fall back.

Evac. wounded. Guys look bad. Bodies under tarps, helicopter wind blows cover off.

Elias being chased by whole mob of NVA. He raises hands as chopper goes over, collapses. Taylor looks at Barnes. He killed him, Taylor says to Ron as they light up. Let’s frag him. CT says military justice will never believe them.

If there’s a heaven Elias is in it, drunk as a monkey and smoking shit.

Barnes been shot seven times. He ain’t meant to die. Only thing that can kill Barnes is Barnes. And there he is, whisky in hand, “Talking about killing? Smokng this shit to escape from reality? Me, I don’t need this shit. I am reality. There’s the way it ought to be, and there’s the way it is. Elias was a crusader. I got no fight with any man do what he’s told, but when he don’t the machine breaks down. And I ain’t gonna allow that. You all loved Elias. You want to kick ass. Well here I am all by my lonesome. Nobody gonna know. Six of you boys against me. Kill me.”

“I shit on all of you.”

CT bangs head into post. Barnes has knife. Don’t do it, says guy with mustache. B: ”Death? What do you all know about death?”

Back into the valley the next day, returning to scene of crime. Two thousand meters from Cambodia. Burned out buildings, ruined huts, debris.

Alpha company the bait to lure out the whole 141st NVA regiment.

Moocher gets Elias’s squad. Ramouchey? Lt. brushes off his complaints. He doesn’t give a flying f. any more.

CT with King. Ten and a wakeup. CT complains, people like Elias get wasted, people like Barnes go on making up the rules any way they want. We don’t matter.

King: who ever said we did? O’Neill comes by saying that his orders have arrived. Ten minutes to go.

Martin has bad feet, says he can’t walk. Barnes threatens him with courtmartial, then centipede.

O’Neill wants to get out, says he has a bad feeling. Everybody gotta die sometime, Red, says Barnes.

King on the chopper. It blows up. No? No.

Bunny with shotgun. Sometimes he gets a bad feeling. He likes it here, you get to do what you want, nobody fucks with you.

Officer asks for grid. Radio guy panicking. Then no reply. Then Vietnamese.

Battle starts. Flares, probing. They blow CT’s hole, he charges back and kills a batch of them. Bunny blasting away with shotgun. Bunny shot, black guy too. O’Neill hides under dead guy. Perimeter breaks, NVA all over. Capt tells lt there’s nowhere to pull back to, stay and fight.

Zips in the wire down here. The captain calls down fire on his own position. Barnes ready to kill CT when the air strikes hit. Major explosions, then all goes black.

Morning, and all’s quiet, birds and insects. CT sees deer, hears chopper. Picks up a gun. Bodies all over. There’s Barnes, crawling. “Get me a medic. Go on, boy.” “Do it.” And he does.

Here come the marines, heavy vehicle. most everybody dead.

Black guy stabs himself. O’Neill crawls out. Guys cutting off ears, etc.

Est. 500 VC KIA, 22 US and still counting. We gonna get out, says somebody. O’Neill makes second lieut, just what he wants.

Guy with club hits himself on chest with gun and roars. CT gestures back, then looks out from chopper at guys in dust below. Crater with bodies everywhere.

CT: “I think now we didn’t fight the enemy. We fought ourselves, and the enemy was in us. The war was over for me now, but it’ll always be within me, as Elias was, fighting with Barnes for my soul. My two fathers . . . Those of us left have an obligation to start over, build again, find a goodness and meaning in this life.”

Student Responses:




      The movie platoon was very good. I found it to be very interesting. For one, I get into movies like that and, secondly I found it to be very realistic. I thought that is showed how awful war really is and it showed the public that these are the type of things that went on in Vietnam. Most of the public already knew that a lot of civilians were killed in that war, but I thought that the movie did a good job showing why stuff like that went on. I was because they really did not know who the enemy was over there and a lot of it was that our country was fighting against it self. I found the symbolism to be very interesting. It symbolized what was going on at home, but they put the same type of conflict over in Vietnam. At the end of the movie Charlie Sheen’s Character makes a good point. He says that they did not know who the enemy was because they we fighting with themselves. I believe that this is a lesson that we as a people need to learn. I believe one of the reasons why we had such a hard time fighting this war, besides the fact that we were on there land and didn’t know the terrain very well, was that our country was torn in two. This is what scares me about going to war with Iraq right now. I am afraid that we will end up fighting with ourselves more that against Hussein. In the article I read it was talking about how in Britain a Tabloid changed the out come of a poll to see if they thought it was a good idea to go to war, to try and mess with the peoples minds. The Vietnam Conflict was a horrible thing that is in our past, but what many people fail to realize is that is exactly what war is like. Even all the other wars were that way and they should not put down Vietnam anymore than the rest of the wars. I personally believe that war is necessary at times even though what happens is very ugly. I believe in taking a stand and defending yourself.



Joe Turner



Yesterday evening I watched Platoon, and I must say that it was a very hard movie to watch.  So many things were just so awful – the hate that those men felt and what their actions were in response to the hate.  I think that war is evil just because it is killing your enemies, but it was awful to see that people were killing even those that were on their side.  That hate was not just between nations, it was within each individual.  Some of the scenes were very difficult to watch, such as near the beginning at the first village they go to and destroy.  I cannot understand how a human could commit these horrific acts against the innocent people.  It is sad to think that they become numb to taking people’s lives and destroying families.  I thought the last thought of the main character was significant, but I cannot exactly remember what it was.  I think it was something related to the fact that war is evil, and he learned that after being there and experiencing it.


I looked online at some websites, and one that stood out to me was Bush’s response to the Columbia disaster (  I agreed with him that this is an age where space flight is seen as almost routine, and it is easy to overlook the dangers and difficulties these trips take.  It must take so much courage to be in that profession and risk your life to help humanity.  I thought mentioning the family was also good, and I thought it was respectable for him to say that those you loved (to the families) will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.  I think I could feel a little bit comforted if I had a family member die, knowing their work was for a good cause.  The ending of his speech was comforting.  I was impressed with his response to this tragedy that happened.  I noticed that he always has to conclude his speeches with God bless America – I find that just a bit funny, I think it could be good, as long as it is not arrogant or boastful.


Erica Wiebe



There were two specific scenes that stick out in my mind after watching the movie Platoon.  The first scene is when the soldiers move into the village of the Vietnam people.  There were many parts of the movie that I had trouble watching and especially this horrible scene.  My heart went out to the people in the village and I found myself mad at the soldiers for causing this destruction.  As if it wasn’t bad enough that they tortured the people they also had to burn the entire village down.  I was reminded of the just war theory that states civilians should not be harmed in war.  These people were innocent and these soldiers just came in and destroyed everything they had.  To me it was unbelievable that anyone would cause such harm to another person.  The other scene that I feel summed up the entire movie was at the end when the soldiers were flying away in the helicopter.  The guy that had been narrating the movie basically stated that he hopes that people learn from the mistakes of this war and the evil it caused. It needs to be avoided in the future.  In my opinion no movie can capture what a war is really like.  Hollywood puts their own spin on war movies including this one.  It is hard to tell what parts are realistic and what ones are not.


The article that I read was about the Miller Lite beer “catfight” commercial that we talked about in class.  This commercial is bringing up controversy among different people some that feel that the ads are just made to be funny and others that do not feel they are funny at all.  One of the ladies said that the ad just reinforces the attitudes that keep women from achieving equal treatment in pay and career opportunities.  There are three main problems with the ad that people have complained about which include:  it’s inappropriate for children, degrading to women, and the one version that end ’s with the women saying “let’s make-out” which encourages lesbianism.  Some people feel that it is just a stereotypical way to look at men.  At the end of the article it talks about how sex sells and it works in marketing. Basically it is saying money is what matters and who cares if 30 percent of the viewers are children and they are ran during sporting events and prime time.  This is a sad reality that brings us back to how women are perceived in our culture.  Should commercials like this be allowed on TV??,2933,77341,00.html


Kristen Washington,2933,77341,00.html


In past class meetings we have openly discussed the different beer commercials that are now playing on television.  A popular commercial is the Miller Light commercial.  Miller company spokeswomen Molly Reilly said that the "catfight" that you see turns out to be a fantasy ad imagined by two guys, and it is supposed to represent what men are thinking about.  The brewing company has received approx. 4,000 emails and phone calls divided fairly evenly in opinion about the commercials.  In the article it said that generating feedback, positive or negative, is what most companies dream of. If your getting feedback then you must be doing something right.  As far as using the techniques that both Coors and Miller are using, Hillary Chura said "using sex as a marketing technique that has been used since God was a child, and if it didn't work, marketers wouldn't keep using it."  So why the switch from past commercials?  The old target market used to be women and older males, but since the older generations do not drink as much as the twenty something males so they are now running commercials that appeal to the new age range.  A post from said "these commercials are selling beer to men.  What's the quickest way to get a mans attention...T and A!!!" I think that is what the beer companies are doing, they are using what drives men to buy things.  If you want to say sex sells, then sex sells.


Zach Simpkins



Erin Weber


The movie platoon really showed a vision of the Vietnam War that I and I’m

sure others wouldn’t even think of. The thought that these soldiers were not

only fighting against their enemy (Viet Cong), but also among themselves,

was an issue that was a result from lack of leadership in this case, as well

as some radicals, who I feel in a way got power hungry and or nuts in their

war efforts.

The scenes in this movie were chilling and at times I felt like I was hidden

in the bush with them just waiting for the enemy to come over that hill and

introduce me to death.  The thoughts going through these men’s heads at this

time must have been dramatic and emotional, all tied up into one big ball of


The Vietnam War touches close to me because my father served in the war as a

Navy Seabee. He went ahead of all the troops (usually into lands where no

soldiers had been before), and built hospitals and other buildings needed

for the war effort. Like Chris in the movie, my father volunteered, due to

the fact that he would have been drafted anyway, and at least if he went in

then he could have some say in what he did. He lived with and among the

people of Vietnam; he witnessed horror so terrible that it surprises me that

he even made it home.

Growing up, we were never able to watch war movies or get into great

detailed discussions about Vietnam due to the events in which he witnessed,

such things would give him nightmares and once while at the movie theater

watching Good Morning Vietnam, he YELLED, “it’s gonna blow”, causing terror

in the theater for one, as well as family embarrassment (he he), because in

the scene (which was quite accurate might I add), a bomb was hidden in a way

that he has seen and it was like he actually was there in Vietnam again. He

has scars on his face that he can’t tell you about how he got them because

of the memories that would be awakened. There is so much I have learned from

him about this and so many stories he has told me, as well as the pictures

and different items…like a pair of rubber tire boots a villager made for my

dad because of his gentleness with the man’s family. My father cared for the

Vietnamese people as well as his own men, his experiences were a lot

different from the killing fields and I’m glad that over the years he has

been able to tell more, his stories give a different perspective to the war.



That's Entertainment Watching the Fragments Fall by JAMES DAVIS This article was in a way a bit distasteful in regards to the Columbia

tragedy. Mr. Davis give his account play-by-play how the media covered the

tragic event, and in  a way made a mockery of it.

I was watching this as it unfolded on Saturday and I think Mr. Davis was

right in a few of his accusations… such as Buzz Aldren trying to endorse his

company…etc. But all in all I think it was handled in the best way possible.

They had to be gentle and stay with the story (taking up the regularly

scheduled broadcasts) because some of the crazy Americans here might have

tried shooting people or who knows what thinking that the crash was due to a

terrorist attack. Just my own personal thought!,2933,77471,00.html


I found the above article quite interesting.  I have to say that I agree with President Bush that we need to do what we can to get vaccinations ready for any possible situation that could ensue.  I feel that this is a necessary precaution.  Joe Lieberman, however, feels differently.  He feels that Project BioShield "falls short of what's needed".  I don't know what else could be done other than to get vaccines ready for the American people.  Bioterrorism is a real danger in the world we live in today. 

As for the movie, Platoon, it made me quite angry.  I usually like war movies...but I realize that all those that I have seen show America to be strong and winners.  This movie definitely showed our weaknesses.  I don't know if this is a true story or not, but my Sunday School Teacher was a veteran of Vietnam, and I know how much he hated talking about it.  He has said that he still had nightmares.  I think that Vietnam had the largest after-effects of war, physically, but especially mentally.  This movie did well in portraying how war is actually done.  Though civilians are supposed to be left alone, we all know that it doesn't happen.  There are those in all countries' armies that do abide by that rule, but there are also those that do not have any respect for the rules of war.  Here in America we always hear that our troops try to avoid civilian casualties at all costs, but I am sure that there are those that have so much hate towards a country, that they cannot see a person of that nationality as an individual.  Some people think that if a group of people in a country is bad, then the rest of the country must be bad too.  I know this isn't true.  That would be like saying because there is an atheist in America, that all American's are atheist.  How absurd!  I also found it interesting that Barnes turned out to be such an evil person...even against his own troops.  I can't imagine being so angry with anyone as he was.  He was too afraid for his own reputation to care about the lives of anyone else.  It is very sad but we see this in our own world today when people decide that they can take fate into their own hands and take the lives of innocent people.  I understand, why, at the end of the movie, Chris killed Barnes.  However, I would not have taken the same course of least I hope I wouldn't.  I probably would have left him there, however.  I noticed during the movie that Chris stopped writing home to his grandma.  I feel that he quit because he was ashamed of what was happening on the battle fields...especially in the villages.  This movie gives the impression that no good can come of war...which I'm sure was the intent and the reason for which we watched it.  However, I feel that at times, war is needed.

Miranda Thorn


Movie Platoon

     After watching this movie it gave me mixed feelings on how war is even just able.  When the young men went to the “Bush” as they called it the Sergeants and other people that have been there for months did not give the respect as you think that soldiers would. Most of the men did not want to establish any type of acquaintance or even a friendship, because they did not know if they would even be their the next day. The corruptness and hatred of the soldiers brought on inhuman acts that brought controversy to the unit and brought out many red flags on how ethical people really were.  The part in the movie where they killed a couple of the villagers for no reason showed that war is awful in ways no one can explain.  The dialogue that Charlie Sheen was saying were he felt that they were not fighting the enemy but that they were fighting each other.  People that were involved with the Vietnam War never really understood why we were fighting so really the never cared and just wanted to go home.  The movie shows how stress, conflicts, and hatred towards people are the effects of war. 

            Even though I was not around when this war was going on but from what some of my friends dads that fought in Vietnam said that some of the movies that are made are pretty accurate in portraying what events actually happened.  With war come the psychological conflicts that one will endure in when they get back.  Many people cannot let what happened to them and what they saw while they fought cannot let it go and it haunts them every night.  I feel that war is not what will solve any type of problem, but with countries that think they are the holy ones and they cannot be stopped then the force that we use is almost necessary because talking anymore will not get the job done.

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Ryan Whitaker


I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy watching this movie when it was first

assigned, but once I actually sat down to watch it I decided it wasn’t that

bad.  I was surprised at how much it showed, especially for the time period

in which it was made because most movies in that time period were not that

graphic. After I finished watching the movie I had mixed feelings about how

it represented the soldiers of that time and how they all acted.  I felt

that for the most part, the only type of soldiers that were represented were

the gung-ho fighters who were overly violent and who actually enjoyed

harming the Vietnamese people and ruining their villages.  I do understand

that those types of things did happen, and I’m not nieve enough to think

that there were some people there who didn’t enjoy what they were doing or

going out of there way to harm others.  I do know though that not all people

who were involved in the Vietnam war were like that.  Not every one enjoyed

harming the innocent village people and not everyone wanted to kill innocent

women and children and ruin their homes. Charlie Sheen’s character was one

of the only person who was portrayed with any kind of morals or feelings for

human kind, and he spent so much of his time in the movie getting high

(which I’m sure was a favorite past time for most people there) that he

avoided reality as much as possible.

      I did however think that it was very interesting how the inner conflicts between the people in the platoon.  I think that it showed how much tension was there between the individuals and how those kinds of conditions can effect people after being exposed to them for long periods of time.  I was really surprised when the first commanding officer killed Willem Dafoe’s

character, or at least thought he did.  Then towards the end when we found

out that he wasn’t really dead at all, but was killed trying to reach the

plane, I found myself sort of depressed that there was one last good guy

represented in the movie.

~Amy Rodabaugh