Paper On The Vietnam Experience From The Book "Rumor Of War"

773 words - 3 pages

In all wars, civilians always suffer, and inexcusable deliberate acts of murder and pillage always exist. America was certainly no exception, and the public was never more conscious of its own soldiers' atrocities then during the long and confusing Vietnam conflict. Often the men who committed these cases were normal persons like anyone else until they became victims of war's pressures. In Vietnam the intense physical strains of the jungle and the feeling of constant futility warped the judgments and actions of the combat troops and changed them psychologically. Lieutenant Caputo, Crowe and the others tried for the assassination of two Vietnamese civilians, had succumbed to their environment. Their perceptions blurred, they committed crimes against a population they often felt indifferent to, sometimes disdainful towards, and always wary of. A population they were supposed to protect. Their trial was to be conducted as if they had killed two men on the streets of Los Angeles, tried strictly on facts. However, the not guilty verdicts received by the defendants show a decision and a trial ruled by politics and opinions. The reason for the marine corp to bring on an investigation of the incident at Giao-Tri at its most obvious is the basic fact that Caputo and the five other marines violated the military laws on the way a war must be conducted. Caputo ordered an unauthorized raid into the village to capture and kill if necessary the two Vietnamese; and his men carried the orders through and killed the victims, of whom had no indications of being VC. So in the tradition of justice the military upheld their image by looking into the incident. And this they did doubly so, by coming to the conclusion that the defendants were all good and honorable soldiers with clean records, innocent of the charges against them. If they had been proven guilty the military would've had to admit that cruelty could exist within good soldiers in their institution and that such capacity for evil existed to all those on the front-lines, an admittance that would be detrimental to their efforts in the war. A verdict of innocence would deceive themselves and whoever else into thinking that the soldiers they produced were...

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