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Why Tim O'Brien Should Have Fought In The Vietnam War

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What would you do if you were to get drafted into war? Tim O’Brien was meat factory worker, a student body president with a full ride scholarship to Harvard for graduate studies. He struggles to figure out if he should flee to Canada or go into the Vietnam War. This was not an easy decision to make. There are multiple reasons he should go into the war. Tim O’Brien should have fought in the Vietnam war.

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First, Tim should go to war because it was a mandatory task and it did not matter his views on the war. “…I could not claim to be opposed to war as a matter of general principle”. This shows that while Tim does not agree with the reasons for the war he still required to go to war. He is not opposed to war, in general, he just does not agree with war. “The problem, though, was that a draft board did not let you choose your war”. This shows that he cannot choose if he goes to war or not. Even though he does not agree with the war he feels like he is hurting more people if he does not go.

Secondly, Tim should go to war because if he does not go he will feel guilty about not going. “I was afraid of walking away from my own life, my friends and my family, my whole history everything that mattered to me”. If Tim does not go to war he will feel guilty because he let down his family and friends. He would also have to give up his Harvard studies and he would be on the run. “I couldn’t make up my mind I feared the war, yes, but I also fear exile”. With Tim not going to war he would lose his relationships with his family and friends and be letting the country down. He would feel guilty about not going to war. He knew his life would never be the same if he did not go and it is something he could not live with.

Lastly, Tim should go to war because he knew deep down inside it was the right thing to do. “All those eyes on me-the town, the whole universe-and I couldn’t risk the embarrassment”. Tim could not deal with everyone knowing he fled from the draft/war. “I would go to war- i would kill and maybe die- because i was embarrassed not too”. Tim realized he had to go to war because he noticed that he couldn’t live his life knowing that he did not go to war and help out his country. Tim knew his choice was to go to war.

Tim O’Brien should have fought in the Vietnam War instead of fleeing to Canada. Tim went to war because it was a mandatory task, he would feel guilty on fleeing the country and going to Canada, and ultimately, he could not deal with the embarrassment of not going. Tim did not make the decision to go to war lightly. 

09 March 2021

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