Term Paper: Rumor of War Vietnam

Pages: 3 (1408 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Even Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Warnke was later found admitting that America made a huge error in judging the response of North Vietnamese Army, "we guessed wrong with respect to what the North Vietnamese reaction would be. We anticipated that they would respond like reasonable people." (Karnow, 396)

Caputo's book tries to highlight the mistakes and errors made by American army before and during the war. There was no such thing as compassion or morality that could prove that America was there to lend a helping hand to some disadvantaged groups. Rather it appeared that the sole purpose was to kill and torture the enemy and to somehow win the war. Caputo writes, "We had believed we were there for a high moral purpose. But somehow our idealism was lost, our morals corrupted, and the purpose forgotten." The death of his idealism was the beginning of disillusionment that plagued veterans for a very long time and some never even recovered from it.

Caputo discusses his days at the infantry and his transfer to the Regimental Headquarters Company in Danang in May 1965. It was not easy for him to leave the field and his men as he recalled in the book, "I hated the idea of leaving One-Three. It was a first-rate infantry battalion, with a unique spirit and personality. The staff, on the other hand, seemed to be nothing more than a military organization, a soulless, bloodless thing,." Upon his insistence, he was transferred back to the infantry later that year. Caputo loved being part of live action where he could see everything connected with war with his own eyes. Caputo recorded everything in his mind with absolute vividness and precision, from alcohol to whores, to war crimes and atrocities. And the best part is that author has not tried to conceal anything under the thick covers of hypocrisy or deceit. He wants us to know the truth about war and his role in the whole action. For this reason, he writes in detail about his trial and what why he had been accused of murder.

Caputo recalls that after he had been sent to line company in First Battalion, he rejoined the field with his men with a new zeal and a sense of revenge. For the first time in the war, he could see the Vietnam Cong as enemy of his country and thus wanted to avenge this at all costs. He led his men to aggressive attacks and fierce counterattacks were launched to repel the enemy. However this aggressiveness cost him dearly when he was charged with murder of an innocent Vietnamese boy. Caputo recalls, "It was not only the specter of a murder charge that tormented me; it was my own sense of guilt... Perhaps the war had awakened something evil in us, some dark, malicious power that allowed us to kill without feeling." In May 1966, he along with other soldiers were acquitted when they pleased guilty and two months after that, he was sent back home because of his irresponsible behavior during the war. But that unauthorized attack was probably a blessing in disguise for Caputo because it let him come back home, away from the senseless pit where he lost his morals and conscience. After more than one year, when he was about the board the train that would bring him back to the civilized world, he saw a new batch of young men landing in Vietnam. This was when he was gripped by a deep sense of pity for the young military personnel as he recorded in his memoir: "I felt sorry for those children knowing that they would all grow old in this land of endless dying. I pitied them, knowing that out of every ten, one would die, two more would be maimed for life, another two would be less seriously wounded and sent out fight again, and all the rest would be wounded in other, more hidden ways."

References

Philip Caputo A Rumor of War Owlet; Reprint edition (November 1996)

John Attarian, Rethinking the Vietnam war. Vol. 15, The World & I,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Rumor of War Vietnam.  (2003, May 6).  Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/rumor-war-vietnam/3671725

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"Rumor of War Vietnam."  Essaytown.com.  May 6, 2003.  Accessed May 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/rumor-war-vietnam/3671725.