from SAIGON NOTES, by Daniel Cameron in the Saigon Post)
Saigon, March 10, 1971
Within the next few weeks Veno expects to fly his first mission into Laos. "I can't think of a better way to die," he states, then, getting carried away again, repeats: "This USO is so great it's unreal."
Martin Woolacott's report from Quang Tri, "Custer in the Clouds," appeared in the February 19 Guardian. He's a sober Englishman but finds himself astonished by the young American pilots who go flying into the helicopter hell of southern Laos.
Sometimes it pays to represent a British paper in this war. Not being emotionally involved like the Americans, the English can afford to be more relaxed and may be more perceptive about these events (although they still managed to turn out a Kipling etc back in the infernal India days.)
American reporters, so often, have to labor over "body counts" and "according to informed sources" etc. The war is a subject for national convulsions back home and political species on the make. Who wants to hear about real people while being palpitated and convulsed? So sentences like the following would tend to come from an English correspondent:
"They are the most astonishing bands, these 19 and 20-year old (helicopter pilots) that the US Army trains up in nine months and thrusts into Vietnam. sustained by a strange combination of adolescent fantasies and immediate personal loyalties."
Is it unfair to say that an American today writing like this for American editors might be suspected of having strayed into the jungle and contracted a rare brain fungus?
It is well that war is hell, lest we become too fond ot it.
---Ancient Greece and Rome