He was a graduate of West Point, which is military academy that turns young men into homicidal maniacs for use in war.
He won all those medals in the Second World War, which was staged by robots so that Dwayne Hoover could give a free-will reaction to such a holocaust. The war was such an extravaganza that there was scarcely a robots anywhere who didn't have a part to play. Harold Newcomb Wilbur got his medals for killing Japanese, who were yellow robots. They were fueled by rice.
I do not say that children at war do not die like men, if they have to die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays. But they are murdered children all the same.
There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.
There in the hospital Billy was having an adventure very common among people without power in times of war: he was trying to prove to a willfully deaf and blind enemy that he is interesting to hear and see.
They didn't think it had anything to do with the war. They were sure Billy was going to pieces because his father had thrown him into the deep end of the Y.M.C.A. swimming pool when he was a little boy, and had then taken him to the rim of the Grand Canyon.
All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.
THE WINNERS ARE AT WAR WITH THE LOSERS, AND THE FIX IS ON. THE PROSPECTS FOR PEACE ARE AWFUL.
We would have said the Nazis were evil in any event, since we had decided to fight them. This has always been the style in war, until very recently...in order that we can be frenzied on the battlefield. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that our German enemies really were satanic this time...We had fought something which was totally obscene.This was very bad for us... One idea put into our heads was that our enemies were so awful, so evil, that we, by contrast, must be remarkably pure. That illusion of purity...has become our curse today.
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