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Tours in Iraq and Afghanistan vs. tours in Vietnam (including the Hanoi Hilton)

While looking at the headlines regarding the Army sergeant who is accused of killing at least 16 Afghan civilians, something caught my eye:

The emerging picture of the Army sergeant was of a man worn by the chaos of service in two wars that lack clear front lines and alliances. The sergeant was on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan after three tours in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman George Little said yesterday.

After such multiple deployments, military personnel struggle “with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression — and still don’t do what this man did,” said Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give an Hour, a Bethesda, Maryland-based non-profit group that provides mental-health services to military personnel.

While acknowledging that most military personnel serve multiple tours in war zones and don’t go out and kill people, I began wondering – has there been a change between the number of tours that military personnel serve today versus the number of tours served by personnel in the Vietnam era?

But when I attempted to find out about Vietnam tours, I ran across something else entirely:

Recommended Vietnam Tours

North & South One Month In Vietnam!

There’s a lot to see in Vietnam, and a full month will give you time to not only see the major cities, but also one or two areas further afield:

•4 Nights in Saigon: Three and a half days in Ho Chi Minh City will give you time to adjust to your jet lag, explore the city, and see the major sites. Car or bus to Can Tho on the fifth day.

•2 Nights in Can Tho: With two nights in Can Tho you’ve got one full day to see the floating markets and smaller canals. Car or bus back to Saigon for one night, or all the way to Dalat if you like driving for 12 hours or more!

•3 Nights in Dalat: Three nights in Dalat will give you two full days to explore the city and relax by the lake. Fly or drive (two full days with a stop in Quy Nhon) to Hoi An.

•3 Nights in Hoi An: You’ve got 2 and a half days in Hoi An. These can eaily be spent exploring the old town, with an optional trip to the coast. Travel by bus, car, or train to Hue on the fourth day.

•2 Nights in Hue: Leave Hoi An early to spend a day in Hue exploring the Citadel, then spend your next full day with a trip down the Perfume River to see the spectacular tombs and river life. Fly or take the overnight train to Hanoi on day 3.

•4 Nights in Hanoi: With three and a half days in Hanoi you can liesurly explore the old town and sites, and optionally take a day trip to the Perfume Pagoda or Halong Bay.

•5 Nights in Sapa and Bac Ha: 5 nights on this trip will give you time to see the hill tribes and markets of Sapa, Bac Ha, and Can Cau. One night on the train to Lao Cai, 2 nights in Sapa (leaving very early on Saturday for the Can Cau market), 1 night in Bac Ha to see the Sunday morning market, and another overnight train ride back to Hanoi.

Those weren’t the types of tours that I was looking for.

And if you really want a culture shock, there is now a real Hanoi Hilton. Granted it’s called the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel, but I’m sure that someone in the Hilton organization probably paused a moment before announcing this hotel. After all, there was a “Hanoi Hilton” that was much more famous – and it wasn’t a wonderful place.

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