But the world goes on in its usual way, and Trumbo reissued Johnny Got His Gun for yet another war, this one in Vietnam. In an introduction written in 1970, he does a bit of arithmetic for us.
Numbers have dehumanized us. Over breakfast coffee we read of 40,000 American dead in Vietnam. Instead of vomiting, we reach for the toast. Our morning rush through crowded streets is not to cry murder but to hit that trough before somebody else gobbles our share.Let us use his same arithmetic for World War I; 9,000,000 dead young men equal 1,350,000,000 pounds of bone and flesh, 27,900,000 pounds of brain matter, 11,250,000 gallons of blood, 414,000,000 years of life that will never be lived, and 22,500,000 children who will never be born. The dry if imposing figure "9,000,000 dead" seems a little less statistical when we view it from this perspective.
An equation: 40,000 dead young men = 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain matter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will never be lived, 100,000 children who will never be born.