“There wasn’t a day when someone didn’t ask me what I was doing there. Sometimes an especially smart grunt or another correspondent would even ask me what I was really doing there, as though I could say anything honest about it except ‘Blah blah blah cover the war’ or ‘Blah blah blah write a book.’ Maybe we accepted each other’s stories about why we were there at face value: the grunts who ‘had’ to be there, the spooks and civilians whose corporate faith had led them there, the correspondents whose curiosity or ambition drew them over. But somewhere all the mythic tracks intersected, from the lowest John Wayne wet-dream to the most aggravated soldier-poet fantasy, and where they did I believe that everyone knew everything about everyone else, every one of us there was a true volunteer. Not that you didn’t hear some overripe bullshit about it: Hearts and Minds, Peoples of the Republic, tumbling dominoes, maintaining the equilibrium of the Dingdong by containing the ever encroaching Doodah; you could also hear the other, some young soldier speaking in all bloody innocence, saying, ‘All that’s just a load, man. We’re here to kill gooks. Period.’ Which wasn’t at all true of me. I was there to watch.” – Michael Herr, Dispatches (emphases in original)

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