It’s amazing how well the veteran mystique plays. There’s an old joke, “How many Vietnam vets does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” “You wouldn’t know, you weren’t there”. And that’s really the game. Everyone assumed I’d had some soul-scarring encounter with the Real: the harsh, unvarnished, violent world-as-it-actually-is, outside the bubble of America and academia, a sojourn to the Heart od Darkness that either destroys you or leaves you sadder and wiser.

It’s bullshit, of course.

Phil Klay – Redeployment

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