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Tim OBriens Parameters How to Tell a True War Story 1. A true war story is never moral.

It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. 2. You can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. 3. In any war story, but especially a true one, its difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. 4. In many cases a true war story cannot be believedOften the crazy stuff is true and the normal stuff isnt. 5. You can tell a true war story by the way it never seems to end. Not then, not ever. 6. In a true war story, if theres a moral at all, its like the thread that makes the cloth. You cant tease it out. You cant extract the meaning without unraveling the deeper meaning. And in the end, really, theres nothing much to say about a true war story except maybe Oh. 7. Often in a true war story, there is not even a point, or else the point doesnt hit you until twenty years later. 8. You can tell a true war story by the questions you ask. Somebody tells a story, let s say, and afterward you ask, Is it true? and if the answer matters, youve got your answer. 9. And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war. Its about sunlightIts about love and memory. Its about sorrow.