I received a number of emails about different topics in 155. A couple of people figured I had it right with Charlie readapting to civilian life after his exposure to combat. From what I had figured out before, psychological problems aren't limited to those who do lengthy or multiple tours in combat. The y can occur to guys who just got a taste.
Another couple of readers suggested a foreign decoration. I had already figured out a possible Croix de Guerre, but one reader even suggested a similar Belgian award. I figured that would be overkill, so I didn't edit the story.
There were a few comments about the General of the Armies section. Some readers Googled it found a few errors and wondered how the cadets or Carl wouldn't know it. Simple. It's really obscure military trivia and they didn't know and made a mistake. Carl is not perfect and has made mistakes in the past and will continue to do so. Just because he has a pretty good memory of his past life, it doesn't mean he hasn't made some mistakes.
I even had a reader or two comment on gall bladder problems. They aren't fun. There was a question about the pain in Carl's back. This is called referred pain, and is a real phenomenon, and is not understood by doctors. It can also occur in some heart conditions, as well as liver and thoracic issues. It doesn't happen to everybody, but it does happen and it is real.
So, in 156 we have some different issues. Is the Swift Boat scene realistic? Sure! Why not!? One of the issues seen in modern politics is that as far as pure politics is concerned, it is better to drag somebody else down than to build yourself up. This is the basis of the negative campaigning so prevalent, with various 527 groups 'educating' people. Evidence shows that they do better by running down the other side, even if it demeans the entire process. If you can run down the other side by 10% and only lose 5% on your side, it's a win. Sooner or later, though, everybody ends up at 0%, which is where we are now.
During the actual Swift Boat episode, John McCain went on record to deplore the entire affair. GWB, on the other hand, sidestepped the whole thing and said he had nothing to do with it. This might have been technically true, but so what? Might he not have denounced the Swift Boaters and been praised for his leadership and character? Such an unusual act would have stood out and gained him more votes than Kerry lost.