It was just an ordinary holiday party at Christmas time when some friends got together in a Wisconsin town, but things got hot and biting when two men began discussing the war in Iraq. Ramon Aleaga, who had been fighting in Iraq, was sharing some gruesome tales of killing people during his tour of duty when he aroused the ire of Brian Johnson. He shouted: “Shut up. My dad was in Vietnam and those guys don’t tell stories like that.” Within moments the two men were rolling on the floor and hitting one another. During the minor Wisconsin war, the main casualty occurred when Aleaga inadvertently bit off the ear of his opponent. Johnson was taken to the hospital which informed him that his missing ear piece could not be reattached. Mr. Aleaga will now stand trial on a mayhem charge.
In a sense, the story is silly and unimportant, in another sense, it is a tragic reminder that Vietnam war veterans were unable to articulate and come to grips with the horrors they endured in that faraway nation in Asia. Perhaps, if Mr. Johnson had understood the truth of Vietnam brutality he might have shared the anger of Aleaga rather than taking out his own anger on a young man who saw and did too much.