The Good War

I’ve never been in the military, but this quote sums up my feelings several conversations I have going on. “We won the war, therefore we must have deserved to win.

My crucial memory, and the memory that really starts all of my other memories about the war is waking up in this pine forest my first morning in the war.  It was still dark, but just barely getting light and as it got light, I was astonished to see within 3 or 4 feet of me, several bodies, dead bodies, of German boys who had been killed, I think, the day before by the unit we were relieving. These boys were just exactly like me. And they were killed, their eyes were open, and their faces were as white as marble, greenish-white. And at that moment, when I saw what I was involved in, actually, for the first time — my training had never told me this — many of my adolescent illusions about reason, the governance of the world by reason, and common sense, and the idea of progress fell away all at once. And I realized, in that one moment, that I would never be again in that world of childhood innocence, where the world is run by reason and events contain a certain amount of justice.  I knew now that I was enmeshed in a world of injustice and unreason.  That I would have to learn how to survive in that world, or how to make sense of it, later on.

Paul Fussell Infantryman in US Army 1944-1945

One thought on “The Good War”

  1. The harsh reality of any war, between governments or interpersonal. Even the McCoys vs. the Hatfields or Romeo and Juliet: the folks on the other side are just folks.

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