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Saturday Letters

Battle Scenes

April 06, 2002

As a former Navy doctor who treated wounded soldiers, sailors and Marines during the Vietnam War, even I found it difficult to watch the new Hollywood realism in movies such as "Black Hawk Down," "We Were Soldiers" and "Behind Enemy Lines." However, I agree 100% with your article, "Going Gung-Ho" (by Lynn Smith, March 30), that the public really needs to see this graphic display to really understand what horrors our veterans have seen.

It is no wonder that thousands of veterans are mentally disturbed after living through that kind of hell. Most of us, thank goodness, will never experience it, yet we need it to place the proper emphasis on the role of a strong military to maintain the freedoms which we now enjoy.

MICHAEL L. FRIEDMAN

Torrance

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Lynn Smith, in her article noting the recent releases of war films and comparisons to earlier ones, did not include mention of the superb production "Go Tell the Spartans," script by Wendell Mayes, in 1978. It was as gung-ho as the films she cited, although with fewer barrels of flaming gasoline and no spurts of tomato sauce from entry wounds to create unrealistic combat effects.

The film, starring Burt Lancaster, told of an advisory group in a single combat incident in the early post-Kennedy period in Vietnam, prior to President Johnson's decision to wage all-out war. It received strong favorable reviews but was criticized by some because it indicted the war and its planners.

JOHN M. FRETER

Yucca Valley

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