Posted by mandisolomon on November 10th, 2008
The start of the Chapters on Vietnam start with a theme we have seen countless times in Americans history of fighting wars. The author tells us about how men from the lower classes were to ones to fight. But what the author also tells us is that for the first time these men were barely men at all. Those that fought in Vietnam were on average younger then any of the men who at fought before. “Their average age was just over nineteen,” whereas the WWII soldiers were on average twenty-six. This war was different from all the rest. The enemy was smaller and no one knew who he really was. Also this war was costing the US unknown billions and would cost even more in Veterans bills. Then the biggest change came into play, News. This war was the first to see coverage from the actual lines of war. And for the first time the US could see the war on there TV. The problem with the Vietnam War was as the authors say “a war that contained so much bad judgment in its conception, initiation, and financing was bound to go wrong in its execution.” And because this war went so badly and because the news was so involved the US citizens saw every mistake from there TV set at home. The book gives an example of a mistake that the public became very much aware of, the Calley case. In this case public is shown a side of the Vietnam soldiers that was not seen in other wars. This dark side is how the US people decided to start generalizing what the Vietnam soldier looked and acted like. This is how the citizens began to see the Vietnam soldier as a monster and therefore was no hero to them. And not only were these men monsters for what they were doing over there but they were coming back extremely wounded and having this new mental issue called PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Therefore these men and women needed VA treatment at the VA hospitals. This mean that the tax payers money would be going to pay for these men for who for some would for the rest of there lives be dependent on there veterans pay. Also a problem that came from this war was the “chronic unemployment” of the black veterans. These men were already given less oppositions because of there race but then the fact that they were veterans of the Vietnam war made them very unwanted. The problems the veterans faced were only made worse because of the fact that Nixon was being looked at for the Watergate scandal. Therefore he was not willing to put money anywhere and the veterans hospitals were one those that were not given enough money for the amount of wounded that came back from Vietnam.
The VA became a large part of the United States, it was mostly health care for those come home from war. These cares included hospitals and these hospitals were not always well kept for the veterans in need. And when “agent orange” began to take hold of the veterans the government decided that they we just start saying the word no. No you have no reason to think that the reason you are sick is because of the war so stop trying to take money from the hard working americans. Instead, out of all the cases that came up only one was honored as an “agent orange” illness and therefore no one but that one person would be given money to help them with there illness. So these men who had put in there clams were never looked at by VA doctors. Those in charge were merely going my the little knowledge they had on their own without scientific proof to back up the lack of action. Even when leading scientist brought up the fact that the same toxin found in “agent orange” had been found in others they refused to give out the money or to even listen to what the scientist were telling them about the health rises of having this toxin in their bodies. These men thought they were helping the tax payers by not helping the veterans.
All these problems just kept being swept under the rug by everyone from the government to the companies that had made the toxin in the first place. The government said it would look into the matter but little was ever really done for the men and women who served in Vietnam. The government even tried to make the matter just go away but these men and women were still fighting but instead of an enemy, they were fighting for there lives because of a war that had brought them so much pain. These were the veterans no one wanted from a war that America just wanted to forget.