A Culpable Innocence

The American Dream Reprised

Preface Excerpt:


ďA Culpable Innocence,Ē now in its second edition, was a novel conceived from my personal experiences during the Vietnam War and motivated by the mirror image perspective of the Iraq War. Both wars began as diplomatic and intelligence missteps, though they were conducted in dissimilar environments and with different military strategies. The results of both wars, however, were similarly disappointing: in Vietnam, our support for a corrupt government in South Vietnam played into North Vietnamís endgame of a unified country under Hanoiís authority and supported by the Chinese (at least, initially); in Iraq, our support for a corrupt government under Shiite control triggered an alliance between the Sunnis and the very terrorist elements we sought to defeat. But the real price of these wars was paid by our armed forces and by those caught in the crossfire. My assumption in writing this book was that war is ultimately personal in its impact. It is not an abstract strategy for national gain to those who live and/or fight it. Instead, it is an intensely felt personal experience that challenges an individual physically, mentally, and spiritually. So intense is the experience that many of its participants, whether civilians or soldiers, carry its memories with them for the rest of their lives. It is then in the realm of the individual where the reality of war is assimilated. Somehow each person must find his or her meaning and, perhaps, even a purpose for the sacrifices made in warís behalf. The trauma of war threatens to rip the fabric of an individual life and scatter a personís lifetime ambitions to the winds. War is indeed an identity crisis. It is this heightened human dimension that I tried to capture in this work of fiction.

Though the soldiers and civilians I met in Vietnam formed the basis for the characters I created, they are representative, not replicate of actual individuals. The context in which they experience war is drawn from my service in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, the historical record, and the U.S Governmentís recently declassified intelligence cables and memos. I would hope that no historian would find offense in any material found in this book. At the same time I would be pleased if those who lived the experience with me find much that they could relate to. Many of them are heroes; and too many, victims of that war.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge those who have helped in the production of this second edition of my book, specifically the staff at Bookwhirl.com and my very supportive network of readers.


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