I happen to love the Vietnamese people. That little girl who I love like a daughter, who I mention in this blog every so often, is a Vietnamese American. I love her entire extended family. I love the Vietnamese people they introduced me to, some of whom are my clients, now.
Additionally, I believe that the Vietnamese War was a mistake. Do you know what the those "terrible," "atheist" Communist Vietnamese taught to their children in their public schools after we lost?
1950s American values.
If you don't believe me, befriend some Vietnamese immigrants, and you will see that this is essentially true.
When we were fighting in Vietnam, to a respectable extent we were fighting "mom and apple pie." No joke.
But, by the Vietnam War, our Vietnam vets did a great thing: They bankrupted the Communist government of Soviet Russia, and brought the Cold War to an end.
And, irony of ironies, the Vietnamese and the Americans have found friendship. Except for some terrible heartbreak, in my particulasr circumstances, it was a great and wonderful peivilege and pleasure to get to know my Vietnamese friends, and I continue to feel that way, up to this minute.
All of that being said, I want to describe the moral dilemma faced by Marine Sgt. Carlos Norman Hathcock, in the hilly part of the village of Duc Pho in Quang Ngai Province in South Vietnam in 1967.
Sgt. Hathcock would ultimately become one of the world's great snipers. Though he had 93 confirmed kills, he probably actually ended the lives of about 400 enemy fighters.
Probably at Hathcock's insistence, Charles Henderson's biography of Hathcock, "Marine Sniper," describes, at the very beginning of his work, the most morally difficult decision Hathcock had to make as a sniper.
One February day, as Hathcock peered through the sniper scope of his M-2 .50 caliber machine gun, he saw a Vietnamese boy, no more than 12 years of age, walking a bicycle loaded with 7 heavy Chinese rifles and a large bag of ammunition down Route 1 toward some Viet Cong hideout.
Experience told Hathcock that such boys generally had fighting experience, and that shortly these guns would be used to kill South Vietnamese and Americans.
Hathcock carefully aimed his M-2, set for single shot, at the bike's frame, and when it closed in to within 2000 yards, he fired a single round. The bullet struck about 5 seconds before the gunshot reached the boy's ear. FOOM! The bike was knocked down, as though by a giant fist, and the guns and ammnunition splattered.
Hathcock hoped that the little one would turn and run.
Unfortunately, the boy was tough. He ran to one of the rifles, picked it up, found one of the splattered magazines, rammed it into the rifle, cocked one into the rifle's firing chamber, aimed in Hathcock's generaql direction, pulled the trigger, POPPOPPOPPOPPOP, and then FOOM!, a second bullet from Hathcock's M-2 killed the little boy before he got too many shots off.
Moral, or immoral?