Through the snap shots taken for his photo album, this book shows how one young soldier is drawn to be a hero, his faith in macho war-making culture followed by his ultimate disillusionment in it. There is obvious resonance with the second Iraq conflict with war crimes, atrocities and suspect motives for the war.
THE BOOK, tells the story of Bart, who, wanting to follow in the footsteps of his father, a Vietnam veteran, joins the US Army (Marine Corps). It is all a big macho game until the reality hits home, as documented in the book (and film of the book) ‘Jarhead. A Marine’s Chronicle of the Gulf War’ (by A. Swofford, 2003. Publ. Scribner). In the first Gulf War, troops experienced a huge emotional build up to the conflict followed by the anti-climax of returning home not having fired a single shot in anger. Others returned home in body bags or with ‘Gulf War Syndrome’.
The traditions associated with the American ‘Homecoming’ welcome expose some of the unquestioning and insular attitudes of ‘middle America’. Loyalty to the flag and pride in being American, it seems, can blind them to the true impact of U.S. imperialism.
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