Generation Apocalypse


Generationapocalypse now: the Vietnam War’s cultural legacy in the global waron terrorby Matthew Ross highlights the traumatizing effects of the VietnamWar on the soldiers. The cultural legacy of America in the VietnamWar is strongly embedded in the U.S. soldiers. As a result, thesimilarities in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars with the Vietnam War carries on the Vietnamese cultural legacy. American soldiers lookback to the Vietnam War hoping it will offer guidance on definingtheir wars (Ross 342). The Vietnam War culture is preserved throughthe war-themed movies on open-end conflicts. Most soldiers have grownup watching the Vietnam War movies whose culture has become a sourceof inspiration.

TheVietnam War created a culture of combat on which most soldiers drawtheir inspiration for success and expectations. President Obamaannounced the reduction of American troops in Afghanistan from 24,000to 9,800 by the end of 2015 and the final group withdrawn in 2016,the announcement came as a cultural shock many soldiers who havespent their lives in the war and do not understand the aftermath ofits end (Samet 1). Similarly, Ross argues that most soldiers awaitingtheir return from the war do not know what lies ahead of them afterthe war because they do not have anyone to ask. Anti-war films havenot succeeded in creating a military culture out war and mostsoldiers believe developed a culture of combat (Ross 343)

Iagree with Ross that the Vietnam War has created a culture of endlesswar and many American soldiers attest that the war movies preparedthem for carnage and death images. Swofford and Lyod, Vietnam warveterans state that he was eager to go to war and to beg his seniorsto take him to regiment. The two soldiers share their frustrations inthe Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia as they waited to be send to war.They consider their peace missions in Saudi Arabia as “non-war”or “dead war” (344). The culture of long war as depicted throughfilms has resulted in dissatisfaction among soldiers who did notexperience what they watched on screens.

Thebook cites veteran military eyewitnesses in the Vietnam War and theculture created through films. War veteran expectations andexperiences in the way further highlight the theme of endless warculture. Without doubt, the narrative accounts presented are real.The culture of open-end war created by the Vietnam War is adopted inthe present American fight against terrorism. American soldiers haveraided, invaded occupied and killed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraqas they fought terrorism. Just like the Vietnam War, America seeks toreestablish its position as the global Superpower.

Thearticle is effective in highlighting the endless was culture createdduring the Vietnam War. The narratives on personal encounters duringthe war by veterans accentuate the theme of unending war despite themany horrific scenes and deaths encountered during combat. Rossclaims that the soldiers seem to enjoy the killings and those who didnot experience the war feel disillusioned for the missed opportunity.The culture created through films has created a military force thatbelieves that global security is achieved through mass killings.

Questionsfor Discussion

  1. How is the war culture shock related to the deteriorating mental health of veterans?

  2. Do Americans worry about the consequences of contemporary American wars such as the Afghanistan and Iraq?

  3. What alternatives are available for United States to counter terrorism apart from war?


Ross,Matthew. “General Apocalypse Now: The Vietnam War’s CulturalLegacy in the Global War on Terror.” TheJournal of American Culture36.4 (2013): 342-352. Print.

Samet,Elizabeth. “When is a War Over?” TheNew York Times,21 Nov. 2014. Accessed 31 July 2016. &lt