From the people I’ve talked to I’ve come up with some new ideas on the war. For the most part nobody is particularly wild with patriotic feeling. There are, of course, those who just get a real charge out of killing people. One lieutenant I talked to said what a kick it had been to roll a gook 100 yards down the beach with his machine gun. But most people generate their enthusiasm for two reasons: one is self-preservation–if I don’t shoot him, he’ll eventually shoot me–and the other is revenge. It’s apparently quite something to see a good friend blown apart by a VC booby trap, and you want to retaliate in kind.
— 2Lt. Robert C. (”Mike”) Ransom, Jr. in a letter to his parents, 1968