A Delusion or Simply An Illusion?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Some time ago, a friend wrote to me and said “. . . I came to see the truth of the war that my country would not win.” He didn’t write “could not,” rather, he deliberately wrote “would not.” It was unsettling. It was revealing. It was the truth unveiled.

A DELUSION OR SIMPLY AN ILLUSION?

By Al Garcia

Some time ago, a friend wrote to me and said “. . . I came to see the truth of the war that my country would not win.”  He didn’t write “could not,” rather, he deliberately wrote “would not.”  It was unsettling.  It was revealing.  It was the truth unveiled.

Many soldiers enthusiastically embraced the idea of going to Vietnam to help “tidy up” the mess and help bring everyone home.  They, like so many other soldiers and civilians back home, believed the public relations propaganda the government was disseminating about America’s successes in Vietnam.  We kept being told that we only needed “a few more thousand soldiers there” and we could and would be out shortly. 

Nothing was further from the truth.  “I volunteered,” a 22-year old recruit from Houston told me.  He was still a green horn and awed and dazed by his new surroundings at the company compound.  “I’ve been told we can win this thing in a breeze and get the hell out of here.  I’m sick and tired of having our ass kicked.  I also wanted to get Uncle Sam off my back and get back to living my life.”  Four weeks later, his father and mother were at Dover Airforce Base watching his flag-draped coffin being lowered to the tarmac.  Another yellow ribbon could now be removed from the old oak tree.  Their son was home again.

This was the daily reality.  Grieving families in America, and in Vietnam, American GIs were coping with the reality of the quagmire that we were in.  It quickly became evident to every soldier in Vietnam once their boots hit the ground, that this was not an ordinary “war.”  We were not there to “tidy up” anything.  If anything, we were there simply to help rescue our comrades drowning in the swamps and dying in the jungles, and for many, unfortunately, in the process, becoming a war statistic themselves.

This was the reality, not the delusion and even illusion that was being told to everyone, even the very soldiers in Vietnam, who were experiencing first-hand the supposed “successes” with their blood, tears and even lives.  “We can’t let our soldiers die in vain,” we were told.  And so, Americans responded.  More troops, more money, more blood, and back home, more tears. 

How long could the illusion last, you ask?  Evidently as long as there were fresh young men to replace the disillusioned, beaten and broken soldiers who had been sent in earlier, simply to “tidy up” the mess. 

And like sheep, we as soldiers, followed and believed – at least until we opened our eyes and saw the reality of the unwinnable war we had been blindly led into. 

When the realization of an unwinnable war sunk in, so did the fallacy of the words and the actions of our leaders in Washington, and the commanders on the ground.  The war was an aberration.  An abomination of the very concept and purpose we thought we had been “fighting” for.  It was all a delusion and an illusion, and silently and willingly.\, we walked right into it with our eyes wide open.


Submitted: October 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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LE. Berry

As profound now as it was in times of war past. Important piece A. Garcia

Fri, October 8th, 2021 8:14pm

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Reply

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Fri, October 8th, 2021 1:21pm

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