The next best thing to being there is getting a firsthand account, particularly when recounting the Vietnam War.
A former medic in the U.S. Army reveals the Vietnam he experienced and why, today, a similar war is happening again in Iraq. At the beginning, Noble returns readers to Vietnam with the â€œwe can beat them attitude” that many soldiers carried prior to departure. Then came their realization that the war was bigger than him–bigger than he and his fellow servicemen ever could have imagined. Noble’s journals from his service, from 1967 to 1968, help him to accurately re-create his account; he only starts the comparison to Iraq after painting a real-life picture of Vietnam. According to the author, the Vietnam War resembles the Iraq War due to two major culprits–media and government officials. For example, those alive at the time might remember coverage of a half-naked young girl running from a napalm attack set off by U.S. military, as reported stateside. Unfortunately, those facts were wrong: Southern Vietnamese were responsible for this attack, but the United States was blamed in the news. Noble points out that many assumed â€œfacts” were wrong then–and that these errors continue today in the reports from Iraq. He also compares politicians to Santa Claus, as they promised great honors to soldiers once they returned home. The role was filled by President Johnson then–today those who serve are met with President Bush and VP Cheney’s nonchalant responses. Noble also acknowledges that, at times, the U.S. military was its own worst enemy, with internal fighting, freak accidents and drug use running rampant. The author finally and capably outlines direct comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam–he includes an appendix of military jargon and a chronology of events, from 1957 to 1967, to provide a Vietnam 101 for those who may not be familiar with that war.
In this candid, historical look at the atrocities of the Vietnam War, Noble points out parallels to Iraq from the inside out–proof that, unfortunately, some things never change.