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Forever War By Joe Haldeman And Halo And The Fall Of Reach By Eric Nylund

1262 words - 5 pages

The presentation and use of military personnel in the “Forever War” by Joe Haldeman and “Halo: The Fall of Reach” by Eric Nylund illustrate how science fiction depicts these individuals as disposable and replaceable. The negative treatment of soldiers can result in various mental problems and unnatural relationships if conditions remain the same. Although the characters in these stories are fictional, the mistreatment of military personnel can lead to future problems when the time comes for them to return to civilian life.
In “The Forever War”, the value of a soldier’s life was not as important as the mission at hand, therefore sacrifices were deemed necessary. When the recruits were first introduced to their new base, the main character, Sargent Mandella, questions the decisions of his superiors by thinking “They had spent all of that money on us just to kill us in training?”(Haldeman 13), which immediately clarifies the military’s opinion of human life, which is similar to those of Charles Darwin’s belief in Natural Selection. Sargent Mandella’s introspection suggests the military is setting them up for failure and only the elite will survive. During a training exercise, the soldiers were told, “Dead people get one last meal tonight and go on no rations starting tomorrow” (Haldeman 31), by losing this exercise the soldiers would be punished harshly. The goal of this exercise was to toughen the recruits and reinforce the idea that failure is not an option on the battlefield. This may be true, but by physically punishing the losing team their morale maybe affected as well as their health. Similarly, in “Halo: The Fall of Reach”, the treatment of soldiers was harsh, but at a much younger starting age. When the children were first brought to the military base on the planet Reach, they were given a presentation explaining why they have been selected to serve in the Spartan II experiment. After the presentation, Dr. Halsey, the program leader, acknowledged that “Not all of them would make it. ‘Acceptable losses’” (Nylund 32). By admitting this, Dr. Halsey has placed her life as well as the goal of the program above the children they have taken. The recent research study performed by Christopher Morely and Brandon Kohrt concerning the difficulties faced by Nepal child soldiers reintegration into society suggests that in order for a child to successfully return to society, a strong friend and family support system should be in place(Morley, and Kohrt 714-734). Because the children in the Spartan II program can never return to their families and friends, it can be concluded that if reintegrated into society, mental health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a high probability of occurring. The mental health of soldiers does not seem to concern higher authorities in either of these stories, which poses a great risk to themselves and others.
Although in “Halo: The Fall of Reach” Dr. Halsey meant well, the removal...

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