The man had been, for the whole of his life, an idealist. A dream-fighter, but also a rather conforming, obedient one. Raised in a conservative family, he had been taught that achieving Ivy League was an enormity, and therefore he had to strike hard for it.
Then came the Vietnam War. His friends had been draft dodgers and followed the life paths of hippies, but conforming to his parents’ wishes – the father of whom had been a World War II veteran before – he realized enlisting himself was a Hobson’s choice. And he thought being sent to Vietnam could raise glory for himself, save ‘those little people living in wild jungles’, and for the nation.
Reality proved him disastrously wrong. Both American and Vietnamese troops committed similar amounts of savagery against each other, maiming and killing not only themselves, but also innocent civilians. He witnessed some of his fellow soldiers persecute war prisoners and exploit the civilians; while some of them kindheartedly assisted the Vietnamese throughout the ordeal, he also saw Communist troops murdering them in vengeance. The retaliation never ceased, while his commanders prevailed giving him orders to ‘kill, kill, and kill’. He questioned his motives of life, the meaning, its existence, and everything about it. And he will soon go insane.
(is that so Platoon-ishly mainstream like any other Vietnam War films? Prove me right.)