Without actually living the life of war firsthand how do we truly know what is going on? I’m not just talking of the current war or wars going on in the world today but of all the wars that have been fought since the media has had its tendrils in telling the narrative of conflict. In my English Comp class we are reading an excerpt from a book by Tim O’Brien titled The Things They Carried. O’Brien writes mostly of his experiences of the Vietnam War. I know some of you are going to correct me and say ” But Kevin! It was a conflict or a Police action not a war!” But to me and the lay person, when you and several hundreds of thousands of your closest buddies are slogging high-caliber weapons around and having to kill another human being before they kill you. It’s a war!
We all know that the information coming out of war zones are for the most part filtered by the media at some point or another. We never really get the whole story of what takes place do we? So were can we get a fairly unfiltered view to better understand what war and all its trappings are all about? One area we can look at would be the memoirs from those who lived through these violent life altering events from those who have survived the time spent inside the belly of the beast to what they observed.
By no means can we completely rely upon the words in a memoir alone because even those with the greatest intentions tend to paint themselves in a better light rather than explain how they had to take the life of a not so innocent child. Or how during a particular bad firefight they soiled themselves or sat there completely incapacitated by fear and unable to lend a hand to win that fight. So to get the whole picture should read multiple memoirs and writings on the same subject? With the thought that if they are penning the truth it will be experienced by others and therefore the information can be corroborated, and the pieces laid out before it should expose the legitimacy of the events being communicated?
I, like many of you, get my information on the war or wars going on from the media outlets I deem as worthy enough to hopefully tell me the truth. But we all know that mass media has its own set of values and morals and they have a tendency to put their own spin on things. I am pretty sure we never get the real picture and how much of that picture is spoon fed to the media outlets by those trying to gain some advantage during these times of conflict. I am speaking of the political establishments out there in this big ol world of ours. You can’t tell me they don’t have their own agendas running along in their brains!
What I have learned about the current wars is what I would expect would come about in any war. There are the good guys and the bad guys. Who each are really depends on who is telling the story now doesn’t it? I am sure that if a North Vietnamese soldier relayed his version of the Vietnam War/Conflict/Police Action his retelling would have a very different slant on it all as it would be the Americans and South Vietnamese who are the evil ones. It really is a tough thing to try to understand the information we hear or read about when there are so many variables at play when war is concerned.
Since I am a Canadian who resides in the USA I tend to go with what I hear from our troops that are returning home from our current military actions throughout the globe. I support the men and women who lay their lives on the line every time they leave home to defend the idea of freedom. The stories they bring back tell of hardships around the world that those of us sitting back home in our comfortable couches and armchairs don’t and will never truly comprehend, because we have not lived it and seen it with our own eyes. Our men and women of the military come back scarred both inside and out with what they have experienced during their time at war. They are forever altered and some poor souls will never be able to turn away from the horrors they have had to perform and endure. All so we can continue to chill out in front of our televisions and computers and view what they do every day from the safety of our homes.
I am saddened by the lack of support for our troops from so many hateful voices speaking out from the sidelines. I may not agree with why we are there fighting for someone else’s freedoms but I will damn well back the men and women who are out there on the front lines fighting and dying for what they are ordered to do. Because I know that if it was me out there doing what they do. I would want to know that the people I left behind had my back, otherwise what is the point?