"What are you doing, Paw?"
"I'm getting out my old Marine Corps boots."
"What for, Paw?"
"The United States may have to go fight El Salvador."
"El Salvador. What's that?"
"It's a country in Central America, and the Soviets and Cubans have been supplying their guerillas with arms, so they can overthrow the military junta."
"You mean to say, Paw, the United States is seriously thinking of getting us into a war over El Salvador?"
"It ain't El Salvador, Maw. The Reagan administration has been looking for a place to show the Soviets that we mean business. El Salvador just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
"That's what they said about Vietnam, Paw."
"This is different, Maw. This is in our hemisphere. We can't let the Commies just ship in arms and equipment to guerrillas who don't like their government."
"What's a guerrilla's beef in El Salvador got to do with the junta?"
"No one is quite sure, Maw. I think it has something to do with them wanting land reform. It seems the powerful families in El Salvador are against it and the military is killing the peasants, and the government is trying to find a solution in between."
"And we're going to go to war to solve that one?"
"We ain't going to go to war yet, but I'm getting out my boots just in case, because Secretary of State Haig is taking a hard line against anyone who accepts arms from the Commies."
"I ain't against stopping the Commies, Paw, but I wish it was something more important then El Salvador."
"Haig's got no choice. They found Captured Enemy Documents on the bodies of the guerrillas."
"I ain't heard anyone used 'Captured Enemy Documents' since Vietnam. You got any idea how Haig hopes to stop the Commies from giving the guerrillas arms?"
"Wal, I don't want it bandied about, but I saw on television that Haig was thinking about blockading Cuba if they kept it up."
"That's big stuff, Paw. We could get us in a war with Russia at the same time."
"You got to call their bluff sooner or later. That's why I'm getting my boots ready. If it really gets big, we ain't got enough boys in the service to handle it. They're going to need us old-timmers to pitch in and fight."
"But you were in World War II. Won't they ask the younger boys to go first?"
"Ain't going to get no young kids to go into the service and fight for El Salvador. It's only old-timers like myself who understand if you don't stop them in El Salvador, you'll be fighting them on the beaches of Santa Monica."
"I thought Reagan said he wasn't going to get us into no wars."
"This ain't a real war. It's just a test of our credibility, Maw. Nobody's going to ever believe us if we don't have a showdown soon."
"The whole thing smells more and more like Vietnam, Paw."
"That's not for you to say, Maw. El Salvador has a lot going for it when it comes to seeing who blinks first. It's small, has plenty of jungles and if we win the hearts and minds of the people there, we can scare the hell out of Nicaragua!"
"Nicaragua! What have they got to do with this?"
"That's how the guerrillas are getting their arms. Believe me, Maw, if this thing keeps up, we're going to be up to out necks in old muddy."
"When do you think they'll call you, Paw?"
"As soon as all the young kids in the country realize what's going on and take off for Canada."