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Christopher Wilson’s Blog Post 11/02

Overall, Platoon did a great job of exemplifying the struggles American soldiers faced while in the Vietnam War. For one, no matter how much training the soldiers had before being deployed, Vietnam’s social and physical environment paired with their guerilla warfare tactics made this war much more difficult to win. In the opening scenes, the American soldiers had to bear the humid hot climate of Vietnam and any wildlife that lived in the jungles- snakes, spiders, mosquitos, and red ants. Secondly, there were internal obstacles that undermined America’s military strength in that most of the infantry unit in Platoon was segregated by race, military rank, and popularity. Most soldiers who were drafted into the Vietnam War came from rural, uneducated, low-income families; thus, providing evidence to support the claim of how America wanted to resolve anti-Vietnam protests and classism inequalities. Nevertheless, the leaders and their followers of the infantry in Platoon had different views on how to win the war in Vietnam, which we see when the infantry unit raids the first Vietnamese village. Some soldiers were more prone to inflict violence on innocent civilians to gain information on what the Viet Cong were doing than other soldiers. This made me contemplate how war can mold an average citizen into becoming a “trained killer” as one of the soldiers in Platoon said. What benefit does this process, then, have on our society?

Towards the end of the movie- and of the Vietnam War in general- American soldiers’ morale dramatically decreased as they knew that Vietnam was going to win the war. In my opinion, the perspectives of the men and women fighting on the ground should be superior to those officials who are ignorant of what’s happening across the ocean as they are sitting comfortably in a secured facility in D.C. To see the amount of terror that gripped every soldier and how some of the soldiers died was heart-wrenching, and I wish that America would treat its Veterans and their families so much better after enduring so much trauma. In essence, the U.S.’s involvement in the Vietnam War should have ended far earlier than the late-1960s to the early-1970s. Moreover, I feel that our involvement in the wars in the Middle East should end too because the legacies of war breed cycles of mental illness in soldiers, poverty in conflict-afflicted communities, and, ultimately, violence.

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  1. Sofia Adams Sofia Adams

    I agree that Platoon did a great job of displaying how truly unprepared the American soldiers were for the conditions in Vietnam despite all of their training. It makes me wonder how many wars we fought where we weren’t prepared for the circumstances? Is this unknown/unpreparedness aspect of the American soldiers the main factor in our loss in Vietnam?

  2. Pierce Kaliner Pierce Kaliner

    I also think that Platoon shows how the soldiers weren’t prepared for battle before they were deployed to Vietnam. It explains why the military values volunteers much more than people that were drafted.

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