War is a lot of things I suppose, but it is not pure. And if there are issues of morality to be contended with, I think that the veterans’ stories are likely the key. They are our only source of unexpurgated truth, which makes them pretty valuable. Ignoring the trespasses against humanity won’t heal any wounds. Forgetting the horrors or stuffing them down really doesn’t clear the conscience; it just quietly contaminates the soul. I think the only way that our country can achieve any measure of reconciliation in the wake of wars (even the “just” wars), is to deal with those violent moments honestly and to embrace the notion that whether or not one believes the cause of war is good, the violence will always be bad for the soul. To do that, war stories must be available and heard—all the war stories, not just the glorious ones.
—Tyler Boudreau, Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine