Rumor of War Term Paper

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Rumor of War

Vietnam war is one of the most talked about conflicts events in American history. Not only because of the 11-year long conflict that existed between the two countries but mainly because of the bitterness and casualties that it left behind. It is still not easy for many war veterans to talk about the most horrible experience of their lives. While it is true that most war veterans think they were lucky to serve their country but they also admit that they wee not prepared for what they experienced and saw during the war. It has been one of the most terrible examples of war crimes and today most war veterans associate war with bitterness and disillusionment instead of patriotism or service. One such story of disillusionment appeared in Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War, which a war memoir that depicts Caputo's experience during Vietnam conflict. The most important reason why this book should be read and closely studied, is because it was written by someone who actually served in the Army during this 11-year war.

Lieutenant Caputo was just like every other young man in 1960s when he decided to join States Marine Corps in 1964. His decision was grounded in a burning desire for fame and glory. Every young man at some time in his life, experiences this fascination with glory and accomplishment. He is driven by a string desire to be considered a hero. And this was exactly why Caputo was eager to join the Army. His went to VIETNAM War in March 1965 and spent the first few days just patrolling the area. It never occurred to him that he was about to experience one of the cruelest and most senseless of military conflicts first hand because during the first week, there was absolutely no signs of such a conflict coming.

It was only after Johnson was given the permission for escalation that Caputo came to understand what wars are all about and how they can leave you disillusioned and disappointed. There is little glory attached to serving in the war as war experiences are plagued by pain and inhumane killings. Studying the book in larger historical context, we see how accurately Caputo has detailed every event in the war and it is firmly believed that there could be no better account of Vietnam War. Caputo manages to capture the real essence of this military conflict, which neither served any American interest nor it helped further the interests of South Vietnam. Instead after eleven long years, American soldiers came to realize that they had served their country in vain. Not only did they lose eleven precious years of their lives, but also came back to a dead future which contained little hope and no desires.

So why did America enter the war in the first place. It was not exactly to protect South Vietnam but was mainly driven by American paranoia of communism. United States was extremely sacred of the power of communist states and wanted to destroy this phenomenon at all costs since it was viewed as a major threat to capitalist nations. America could see North Vietnam as another major actor in spread of communism and thus decided to take military action against these forces. John Attarian (2000) sheds light on how the conflict began, "Despite American aid and military advisers, South Vietnam's army floundered. The August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked the destroyer U.S.S. Maddox, gave President Lyndon Johnson a pretext for obtaining from Congress the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing him to "take all necessary measures" to check communist aggression. Johnson ordered retaliatory bombing of North Vietnam. In February 1965, sustained, limited bombing of the North, Operation Rolling Thunder, began; American combat troops went to South Vietnam in March. The South kept losing, communist takeover seemed imminent, and in July Johnson decided to greatly increase our ground force (it exceeded 525,000 men by 1968). North Vietnam poured in troops and supplies via the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia."

But America despite all its military force, couldn't bring an end to communism. It probably did more harm t this cause than good by…[continue]

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