I learned early upon arrival in Vietnam that rice farmers, eking out a bare bones living without modern conveniences, endured a hard life. However, none of this hit home until I entered this modest hooch and took the time to observe and absorb my surroundings; and allow reality to sink in. This humble family and their quaint home made a lasting and deep impression upon me. I felt an overwhelming sense of humility, and recall thinking that in many ways this ‘peasant’ was a better man than me! If I had to trade places with him I would be in way over my head
I read with disgust the article in the November Time Magazine about the My Lai incident. What kind of person would fire a magazine of 16 rounds into a little boy? I’ve seen guys, who after seeing their buddies get blown away, feel like shooting at anyone with slanted eyes, but they didn’t because their reason dispelled their emotions. During the day, the farmers we see plowing their fields are innocent civilians. At night, however, some of them are out setting booby traps. But, we cannot hold an entire village, especially children, responsible for those among them who are VC. Many of the civilians that we believe are VC sympathizers may just be scared civilians who pay taxes to and are harassed by the VC who come at night to the villages. Most of these people are loyal only to themselves and their families. They live in fear of destruction by VC and GI.