Terrified South Vietnamese villager being brutally 'interrogated' by an ARVN soldier. (Courtesy of Nam, Ed. Tim Page/John Pimlott

All  5 photos above modified from the Internet

     Film can never relay the full sensations experienced by those who witness carnage of the human flesh. This is because, of the five senses, touch and taste and smell are unavailable to the viewer. Words alone are even more limiting in that sight and hearing are denied the reader. It is the role of the writer or photographer/film-maker to try and compensate, to some degree for this, in attempting to paint as vivid picture as possible. In doing so, each can stimulate the emotions of fear, anger and bewilderment that were experienced by those who were present. They of course can never be totally successful.
     It has often been said that if politicians were forced to witness first-hand the havoc they generate ... there would be no more wars! Perhaps that is an obvious comment and yet it remains a ‘truism’ that old men (and women) do not fight wars, though it is old men (and women) who have the power to start and stop them. Last night three of our illustrious (‘old’) leaders lined up at a news conference refuting the growing call to withdraw our troops from Iraq. Two of them were recently reported during the election (2004) to have been shirkers of conscription during the Vietnam War and the other was (during that same era) a 25 year old leader of the Young Liberals ... but saw no conflict in his party’s war policy on Vietnam with his failure to volunteer as a soldier, in order to put his party’s policy principals into practice. The three of them, at the time, apparently saw fit to leave it up to other young Australians to do the dirty work!

                                                         “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
                                                                      ... It smells like … victory!”

                                                                                 - Robert Duvall in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, 1979.

Unlike  the  Movies

Unlike  the  Movies 

​Muddy black leather boots,
Our khaki socks, they each stank;
Sucking leeches and ‘mossies’,
Paying no heed to high rank.
Faces drawn, minds drained,
Bodies aching and tired;
Out on ‘ops’, on patrol,
Beyond where it’s wired. 

Cold food from cans, long days,
Tension kept always high;
Would I feel the lead hit?
Sound heard, meant it flew by.
As I took each step,
Was that a crack from a stick?
Was it a ping from a spring,
Or a freed metal click? 

Awoken before dawn,
We’d repeat it again;
Another day on patrol,
‘Saddled-up’ in the rain.
So where’s that adventure?
’Cause I’m buggered if I know!
No glamour ’round here,
Unlike in movies they show!

*  *  *

 “Harbour-up!" came that order,
Two hours on the ‘Gun’;
Pitch black fell the night,
Visibility, then none.
Sleep’s ‘switch’, in my ‘hootchie’,
A pause in war, which must wait,
If I can just avoid being,
Killed by some nervous mate. 

Do you recall in the movies,
When the hero gets shot?
The little round hole,
Would be just a little red spot!
Yet the writers of fiction,
Tend to tell little white lies,
As they attempt to describe,
How their character dies. 

Because pulsating raw flesh,
Limbs torn off with such force,
Piercing screams unrelenting,
Too much for most minds of course.
Often truth is confronting,
People don’t want to know,
About scenes in real-life,
Unlike the movies they show.