"Things They Carried" Response - America's Tab on Vietnam

Topics: Lyndon B. Johnson, Vietnam War, Posttraumatic stress disorder Pages: 4 (1178 words) Published: March 23, 2014
Morgan Brzescinski
Vietnam Essay
2 March 2014

America’s Tab on Vietnam

Technological advancements and it's new and heavy artillery in modern warfare have been racking up debt and upping the cost of war with the world's most valuable currency: real human lives. The draft after World War Two forced American boys to pack up their bags and go off to war because it was their only choice- besides running away to Canada or Mexico to avoid it. Because some made it out, the effects of war lingered and were overlooked. The aftermath of the Vietnam War left veterans crippled with memories of the endless rice paddies and ghosts of their lost friends, and many of them were left with trauma disorders, like PTSD. The real cost of war wasn’t the $600 million spent on military and technology, but the 58,000 American lives lost and 350,000 Americans physically or mentally crippled as a result instead. The cost of any war is also the same: trading your sanity or your life for real life combat.

Everyone experiences the cost of going to war when they’re expected to trade or abandon their regular lives for the ones they adopt when they’re overseas. They often trade poor quality life for military, thinking it’s all they’ve got left. In Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation, Tom Paxton sings of the trade the speaker makes for a war he didn’t want to fight, because he has nowhere else to go. He reminds the readers of president Lyndon Johnson’s promise that nobody would have to be drafted but recalls him eventually saying that, “We’ve got no jobs to give you here, So we are sending you to Viet Nam” (Tom Paxton, stanza 1). At that time, most people decided to go to war in hopes that their families would receive money for their efforts. Later on in the Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation, the speaker also lets the reader know of the mindset of one who has gone to war in the hope of surviving and coming home, to replace something they traded to come to war. The speaker is...

Cited: O 'Brien, Tim . The Things They Carried. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin/Seymour Lawrence, 1990. Print.
“195: War Stories” This American Life. National Public Radio. 2001. Web. 28 September 2001.
Tom Paxton. Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation. 1965. Document.
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