The never agains of Vietnam: the last battle?
I thought this comment from Nicholas on a previous thread was worth highlighting:
I think the home battle is between the two types of children of Vietnam...
Type "A" is "Never Again!" in the sense of never getting into [a] fight worth winning.
Type "B" (you and me) is also "Never Again!" -- but in the sense of never getting into a fight we're not willing to actually fight for the win.
It's odd how we keep coming back--not to Bataan, but to Vietnam (and also, in a sense, to Watergate).
I wonder sometimes whether this need to go back, and back, and back, will die out only when the generation that came of age at that time (mine) finally dies out, or whether the scars in the national psyche will last well beyond the lifetime of myself and all the other tiresome, addled boomers.
I sometimes fear it will be the latter, if only because so many of the effects of Vietnam have become institutionally embedded: the leftward tilt of academia; the tendency to consider the military as marauding abusers and/or exploited victims; the kneejerk and automatic distrust of the actions, and even the basic motives, of the government and the Presidency.
However, it does seem that one trend that began in that era has effectively ended for the majority of the American public (at least, if polls are any indication). That's the sense that the press is composed of heroic and crusading truthtellers.
But Type A and Type B of the "never agains" are duking it out mightily right now, over Iraq. I hope it's the last battle between these two particular factions--the last battle of Vietnam.