Justice is the pursuit of right, the elevation of goodness, and the elimination of evil; however, such lucid definitions often lack substance when stood up to the tests of reality. Injustice is the denial of rights and the lack of morality for the embracement of barbarism. When looking for injustices in the world, what most readily comes to mind are violent crimes? Murder, theft, and rape are domestic injustices commonly recognized, but injustices, like reality, exist in perception.
Therefore, to deem someone or something unjust, first agreement upon its definition must be established. When the United States declared her independence, we perceived the unjust indignities to be clear; however, to the militant king, the refusal to pay his taxes was injustice and the nullification of his law was the warrant for war. When such implied meanings come in to play, one has to determine what is just. In order to eliminate war, first all nations must outline the true meaning of “injustice” and find suitable solutions for reparation.
The most diligent participant of war is the injustice done upon both sides, the backing of both by god, and the misconception that both will prevail due to their side being right and just. These differing views of injustice and justice are what cause the eventual degradation of war. (JRSOT) Tim O’Brien takes account of the injustices of war when he refers to opposing emotion and feelings. “The beauty was spelling binding as the horrific napalm burned the forest to the ground. (O’Brien) The contradicting impression, of awe and beauty combined with that of horror and grotesqueness leads one to a sense of immeasurable injustice experienced by those fighting the war. A war he hated, he still found the thrill of combat alluring, even as the fear of death overwhelmed his body, forcing his feet forward by quivering will. The emotional damage was the injustice upon the men, due to the memories that will haunt them forever. “There were many bodies with real faces, but I was young then and I was afraid to look.
And not, twenty year later, I’m left with faceless responsibility and faceless grief. ” (pg. 180, O’Brien) Injustice once more finds its discontinuous meaning bearing not only upon willful acts of corruptness, but upon the unsuspecting soldiers of piece, fighting to stay alive, sane, and together. Reflecting upon the travesty of war, one begins to realize, aside from the soldiers of opposition, there remain innocent victims, caught between the fences, killed, slaughtered, and mercilessly hunted for their unfortunate occupation of a warzone.
The injustices, done upon these innocent bystanders are just one of the many costs of war. Families lose their members as well their homes. (Incite Magazine) “The old guy walked with a limp, slow and stooped over, but he knew where the safe spots were and where you had to be careful and where even if you were careful you could end up like popcorn. ” (pg. 33, O’Brien) The devastation brought about by war, affects not only economic, physical, and emotional well being, but it leaves a disastrous scar upon the land. Following the Vietnam War, orange gas, a carsogenic toxin, was widely used as a biological weapon.
This weapon, though severely lethal to humans, also caused permanent damage to the environment. Vietnam is of a tropical climate. It is clothed in towering rain forests and blossoming clover fields. (Incite Magazine) Animals run abundantly through the undeveloped slopes and the shadowing forest floor. Industry has destroyed many of the once beautifully adorned civilizations of the four legged and winged; however, the noxious pollution released by industry in Vietnam has been minor compared to the devastasion caused by war.
In every war the assault falls most heavily on the countryside. In Germany, during WWII, mortar shells redecorated the hill sides, and tanks rolled on, crushing the fertility from the land. The chemicals released to combat each other brought with them the collateral damage. When the war was over, thousands of lives had been taken and millions of dollars had been squandered. The environment has always recovered from our stupidities. How long, though, before will it be unable to repair the atrocities of our reckless ways?
Tim O’Brien refers to the Vietnam War as something incomprehensible, incalculable, and exclusive to those that lived it, breathed it, and carried it home. He attempts to convey the ambiguity of war and embellished story-telling as reflecting the actuality of combat. In order to truly understand the experience of war, one must find fiction in order to convey it properly. (O’Brien) The enemy could melt into ice, and consolidate before your very eye: such was the terrible progression of the war, and the fiction that crept into reality. The surreal seeming of war, is mixed with the reality of it.
When written upon paper the occurrences recounted transcend reality, but, in actuality, the comprehension of the event, in the mind of the soldier, was, in fact, experienced that very way; as in a dream characterized by the cinematic embellishment of fiction. The contradictions that he depicts, “it was atrocious; it was thrilling,” is proof of the injustice of war, and the injustices he felt were around him. “There were time in my life when I couldn’t feel much, not sadness or pity or passion, and somehow I blamed this place for what I had become, and I blamed it for taking away the person I had once been. “(pg. 185, O’Brien)