Re: War, Anti-war, Orwell, and Ehrhart
Tue, 09 Sep 97 09:36:03 PST

Ms. Worthy:

No doubt stories of "male bonding during war" tend to glorify war to
the next generation--but the stories are none the less real--as are
most stories of bonding when women's and men's backs are to the wall
and their limits are tested. Those who have gone through those times
together know their own limits and strengths and are bonded in such a
way that others who have not had that experience with them seem pale
and alien--fuzzy, yet to be defined.

This is not a morality play about who fought for the just cause and
who were the aggressors. (I do not suggest that these moral questions
are globally irrelevant--just that they are irrelevant to that bonding
and KNOWING who one can count on.) Those who fight on the picket
lines are rightfully scornful of those who simply paid their union
dues. Veterans do not usually extol war--they extol the courage and
redemption of holding fast when their ass and their brother's ass was
on the line. No doubt, those who refused to fight and suffered the
consequences or raised families through thick and thin also feel some
of this sort of bonding and defining.

War is terrible. But it is its very terribleness that makes it the
ultimate test, and those who have survived it are different. Even
those of us who survived the civil rights movement, the sixties
culture and the aftermath are changed, defined, and somewhat bonded.
Why else are we here pursuing these threads 30 years later? As a
Vietnam era veteran (but not a grunt in the field) and a veteran of
the counterculture of the sixties, I would like to suggest that both
groups have more in common than may be immediately apparent, and the
time has come to heal the wounds and recognize what we share together.


Karl Slinkard