Re: Ordered murder
@David Skaggs: I landed in Chu Lai, RVN with the 7th Marines Regimental Landing Team in 1965 where we established a beach enclave and built an airstrip. I served with an artillery battery and did most of the things that you'd expect of Marines in a combat zone. What is it you want to know?
I only slightly disagree with Ledyard Sensei about why combat troops start to focus on each other and not higher principles. All the "God, Country, Corps, the Girl Next Door, and Mom's Apple Pie" leave your mind quickly, regardless of how noble your political leadership may be. You are in usually miserable conditions that you share with your mates and grow to depend on them in every respect. The last thing you want to do is let them down. He's right that troops usually begin to think of their buddies primarily, but I think he misses the mark on the reasons. We do reflect on what the reasons truly were for our deployment after the fact, often many years later and question the why of it. In the late sixties, military folks did start to question the nature of the Vietnam War, largely in my opinion, because of the anti-war movement and the debate that engendered.
I honestly believed in the domino theory at the time, and as a young Marine simply went where I was told. Only many years later did I start to question why our government allowed the French to resume their southeast Asian empire in Vietnam after the Japanese were defeated. I have the luxury now of questioning our national purpose in 1960, (or in 1945-46 for that matter) but have no regrets for having served with some outstanding men. We shared food, water, misery and even laughter and they were some of the best people I've ever known. I remain proud to be associated with them.