Jeff "T.H.E." Ault and Gus (right) in back of the ISO at 1st Marine Division headquarters outside Da Nang, 1968.
Hear David Willson and Earl Gerheim discuss this picture
ISO - 1MB - WAV format
from the Viet Nam War Writers' Symposium
When (Hasford) compares
himself to Joker -- who kills an unarmed Vietnamese farmer for no reason
-- he says he's worse. "I'm a lot mmeaner than Joker is."
But Hasford is frighteningly eloquent when asked to talk about how much soldiers enjoy war -- one of the sharp truths of The Short-Timers.
"It's thrilling to watch napalm and to blow things up and have guns," he said. "Did you ever go out and shoot guns? Well, shooting machine guns is more fun. Blowing things up is fun. It's fun to be with a bunch of guys and you're all armed to the teeth. It's like being a Viking.
"And there's no law," he said. "It's like you're out there in the jungle and, 'This is it -- we are the law.' Your teachers aren't coming up and hitting you on the hand with a ruler -- if they do, you just waste them."
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