The Things They Carried

Powerful Essays
The Vietnam War was the critical conflict that altered our “post modern” societal view of what war is really about. Tim O’Brien shows the brutal reality of war to our “post modern” society without adding the propaganda and fluff that our society has come to accept. In our trying times today, Operation Iraqi freedom has supposedly come to an end. With the amounts of embedded reporting, our society has been able to see battles as they occur. The news ran non stop coverage on the war, where T.V. audiences were enthralled with scenes of battle. These broadcasts did not accurately depict the American casualties. The only live broadcasts were images of U.S. soldiers were taking out objectives with little resistance from Iraqi forces. This propaganda makes it hard to realize the loss of U.S. soldiers in this most recent conflict, thus society cringes at the current estimated U.S. soldier death toll at around 100 casualties.

Stories like O’Brien’s are never mentioned on CNN or MSNBC so as to please our culture’s view of America being invincible in war. This fluff must be eliminated and stories similar to O’Brien’s should be televised if our society wants to see the real cost of war. It is better that our society leaves the story telling to the soldiers who fought first hand and not let the media overrun and devalue wars no matter how meaningless the conflict might seem. For the real reporters are the guys pulling the trigger.

Soldiers are responsible for fighting and dying for their country. Reporters are responsible for getting the “story” out to the general public. This is the route of the problem. Even with embedded reporting, reporters have no way of being able to express what it feels like to end the life of a ...

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... a step in the right direction for an American society that needs to reassess its devotion to war as a means to an end in establishing peace.


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O'Brien, Tim. Thje Things They Carried. New York: Penguin, 1990.

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