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
“Alan Allen with his Stevens 12 ga. shotgun, .45 pistol, and M-79, filling canteens(note pack and canteens); Allen carried all three weapons until he could find a replacement to pawn off the .45 pistol and the M-79. Allen thinks the M-79 is an almost worthless weapon, although he killed his first NVA with one.” (1968)
War Crimes My Lai Massacre Ernest Medina,William Calley
Calley stated that : “I was ordered to go in there and destroy the enemy. That was my job that day. That was the mission I was given. I did not sit down and think in terms of men, women and children. They were all classified as the same, and that’s the classification that we dealt with over there, just as the enemy. I felt then and I still do that I acted as I was directed, and I carried out the order that I was given and I do not feel wrong in doing so.”