The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

By E. Christian Kopff | Go to book overview

Chapter XVIII
STILL IN SAIGON IN MY MIND

"The earth outside is covered with snow and I am covered with sweat. My younger brother calls me a killer and my daddy calls me a vet." This is the way the Vietnam veteran appears in a popular song recorded by Charlie Daniels (written by Dan Daley). The Vietnam War is over, but it is not settled in the mind and, more importantly, in the imagination of the American people. The official position on the war seems to enjoy a near-total consensus: the war was evil, the technocratic elite carelessly blundered, the Vietnamese people won a glorious victory because of the justice of their cause. Yet, in the rag and bone shop of the heart that provides the themes for popular art and entertainment, questions that editorial writers do not address echo and re-echo: How could such a strong and wealthy nation lose a war to a small and weak one? What happened to us in those days? What happened to our soldiers, the ones who

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