A weakness of a standing army is it will acculturate itself to conflict, framing humanity as the dominant or the defeated, a militian’s choice.
To expect foreigners to be able to tune into this complexly structured existence, even when afforded every encouragement, is to be highly optimistic, especially in the case of the Americans whose alienation as a group from the Vietnamese is extreme; but, when the society as a whole is actively using every means possible to prevent its happening, the expectation is wildly unrealistic.
So, what the previous American administration should have asked itself is, whether or not to become involved in revolutionising (and simultaneously being exploited by) a people with whom it could not communicate: whether or not Americans should attempt to win the hearts and minds of a people who never reveal their desires or aspirations: whether or not it would be feasible to co-operate with a people who have a language that is impossible to speak and difficult to read even with the aid of a dictionary or phrase book . . . To put it another way, was it fair to send American boys to a country where they have twenty-five different ways of pronouncing the word “Ma”?
Damn donkey’d criminals that have lifted rage on us. Find them. Kill them if it saves our children. But see humanity as greater, cultivate our aspirations, or become too weak to defend us.