This is from the Best of Craigslist. Go there to read the whole thing. (Ellipses in original.)
In a piney woods at Fort Gordon, Georgia in July, 1965, 300 or so close friends and I, Viet Nam vets to be, were lectured on the care and feeding of the M-30 machine gun by two Mutt and Jeff sergeants. The bus back to the base was late, a small group of us clustered around asking questions. We learned that they had been buddies all through Korea, gunner and assistant gunner. We were all pretty sure of our destination, we wanted to know. . . what is war really like?
"Sarg. . . what about Korea, what was it about?"
"It was fucked."
I remember thinking. . . well, why didn’t you tell somebody. . . why didn’t you tell us?
Okay. I’m telling.
I knew plenty soldiers who wanted to be John Wayne. [snip] You still hear from those types now and then. The warriors. Most are gone, names on that black granite wall with so many of my friends.
I remember the ones who were overwhelmed by the random brutal shredding of human bodies, friends and foe. The hard ass curled up and crying in the bed of a truck cause he knew he couldn’t go back out again and didn’t know what to do. I remember a guy I’d known since Basic, ROTC type, who shot two Vietnamese farmers dead because he knew it would get him assigned to the rear. It worked.
In spite of all the books and movies, war has always been the same. Insanity, pure and simple. When the talking stops, when the diplomats give up and go home, people are maimed, burned, killed in the most ugly ways imaginable. There are no heroes, there is no glory, there is only destruction and death.
The time has come to give peace a chance. I'd love to be proud to be an American.