What War is Like

Many books have been written about war, but it may be unusual to have a record of what a variety of soldiers had to say when they came off the front lines. The author did not interview anyone; what they said was spontaneous of their own will because they sensed he was willing to listen. After the author had finished his journal and had been discharged from the army, he was working for the army as a department of the army civilian or DAC as a clerk typist. He lived with the officers and ate in their mess hall in Yokohama. One evening, he went to the mess hall to eat dinner. The war was still in full swing. He sat by himself at a small table covered by white linen. A weather-beaten major walked in and sat at his table. A Japanese waitress came to their table and asked the major if he wanted A or B dinner. The major replied, “Bring the food.” The waitress repeated her question, and the major repeated his answer. The author told the waitress to bring the B dinner, the same as his. Then he turned to the major and said, “Sir, you are easily satisfied. Some people complain about the food, even though they have a choice.” With a faraway look in his eyes, he said, “They ought to take them out and shoot them.” They ate their meal in silence.

--Willis Ehnle

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