I believe that a lot of MilBloggers were hit with an email from a Sophomore in High School requesting some information - basically his teacher is getting the students to compare All Quiet on the Western Front to today's Iraq War. I answered the email and, apparently, so did American Soldier. While our responses were similar, I also questioned the vast educational, political, and economic differences between 1918 Germany and America today.
The email is in the Extended Section. How would you answer it?
My name is Misha and I currently attend Shorewood High School in my sophomore year. In our English class, we have recently been looking at many blogs on the Internet about the Iraq war, because we are currently reading "All Quiet On The Western Front" and comparing the epic war book about WWI from the German point of view with the Iraq war today.First of all, would you have happened to read All Quiet On The Western Front because if not, It is a very interesting book to read and it makes your mind really think. It is a war novel talking about the trench fighting of the newly recruited teens in the war on the German side, and I really liked how this was the first book about war which I have read about another sides point of view other than the United States.I have accumulated many questions over the time of reading this book and discussing it in class, but I would highly appreciate it if you would take the time and answer these few questions comparing your everyday war experiences with the story from All Quiet On The Western Front.In All Quiet On The Western Front, I have recently read about how the main character kills a French man, and all the guilt he feels. He even wants to keep the family of the soldiers' address, so that he can send money to them anonymously. In the Iraq war, what do soldiers on the U.S. side do when they kill a man with force or at close distance and see what they have really done?In the book, there are rankings for every soldier just like in any other war, but a higher ranking soldier in this book, Himmelstoss, is a huge jerk to the privates and other soldiers ranked lower than him, even though many other troops have higher rankings than Himmelstoss. In the Iraq war, do higher ranked officials treat other soldiers like this? And if they do, what do the soldiers do to stop these actions?In the book, the main character starts to feel a little crazy and is sent on a "vacation" to visit back home and to take more training courses; in the Iraq war, do troops still get sent back to training even after they have arrived in Iraq and started fighting? Also, are the short breaks from war to visit families even possible in this war?My final question is: what inspired you and some of your friends to enlist in the army and go off to war? In the book, the young soldiers talk about how their old teacher persuaded and inspired them into joining the army, but out of knowing all the risks of joining the army at times like this, what encouraged you to do this?Thank you for your time and a reply would be very kind,Misha