If I Die In A Combat Zone Essay

Topics: Vietnam War, Army, Vietnam, Cold War, South Vietnam, Laos / Pages: 6 (1279 words) / Published: Mar 31st, 2017
The war in Vietnam in the 1960’s was an extremely controversial topic among the American public. America’s role in the war was questionable, and thousands of young men were drafted into the army against their own personal beliefs. In If I Die in a Combat Zone , author Tim O'Brien argued that the Vietnam War was unjust through his depictions of violent events during the war, how the war affected both the soldiers and innocent civilians, and the inhumane duties required of the soldiers.
One of the most significant ways O’Brien is able to depict the war as immoral is by detailing many of the horrendous scenes he and other soldiers were forced to experience because of their enlistment. Shortly after O’Brien joins the Alpha Company, he is awakened in the night by enemy attacks. He is one of the only men to rush to prepare himself and as the assaults draw closer he notices that most of the other soldiers are drunk and mentally absent from the situation taking
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The American soldiers also decide to take three old men from the village as prisoners, beating them senseless at a feeble attempt to gain information on their enemy (pg. 131). The violent nature of this event reflects the violence war promotes, leading the soldiers to try and obtain details in a way that is as aggressive as the war itself. The participation of these men in the Vietnam War necessitates a predetermined harshness towards the natives that would not be socially acceptable outside of that particular setting, meaning the soldiers are expected to act a specific way because of the given circumstances. In a later routine target practice exercise, gun elevation and deflection calculations are accidentally skewed, leading to the murder and wounding of almost fifty innocent villagers (pg. 168). Although this act was not inherently malicious, the very nature of this activity being necessary for war activities only makes the accident seem like that much less of a forgivable

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