The Vet Who Didn’t Come Home

In the midst of the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign—in which the Vietnam War and veterans resurfaced so prominently—I decided to track down some of the American veterans who stayed behind in Southeast Asia to gauge their views on an election in which Kerry woos veterans, conservatives question Kerry’s medals, and liberals mock Bush for his short stint in the Texas National Guard. I also wondered what they thought of the war in Iraq and whether it was becoming a Vietnam “quagmire.”

This dispatch was published on FRONTLINE/World on August 10, 2004. Read the article online. Also, see my live online chat with readers on

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