Okay. I'm rolled in on this gurney, ah, they threw this sheet over me and I start looking around and I realize I'm in line to be operated on. Um, the first thing I notice is this guy with a hose who's walking around hosing down the cement floor. There's apparently two drains, in the floor, one on each end of the floor. And ah I notice in the corner there was a stack of the fatigues that they had been throwing in the corner as people had come in, they would cut the fatigues and stuff off like they did me and the thing was almost stacked to the ceiling, they had ah helmets, and fatigue shirts and pants and boots and what have you.
Ammo, all kinds of stuff. And there was like a steady stream of blood from the fatigues to the drain on the floor. People were just bleeding off their gurneys and stuff. It was like a meat house, you know. Sick. And I was laying there thinking all kinds of things flying through your mind. Ah, I thought of my mother, I thought of my girlfriend. I thought of crazy things like why isn't the TV camera here, you know, why don't they show this? You know, maybe if they show this, to the people, show them the blood and the guts and show them, you know, the moans and the groans of the people.
Show them somebody that’s got their own arm blown off instead of showing it while it's bandaged. You know, show 'em that stuff. Maybe it would make people sick, you know. Maybe it would make parents sick and they wouldn't want to invest their son for something like that. They wouldn't be so willing to be so ultra patriotic. You know, to go half way around the world to stop something we let exist ninety miles away. I just I just start thinking about all these crazy things and I think right then I started really questioning things that I hadn't even thought of before.
On the table I remember thinking there was a priest that came up to me and started giving my last rites. And I thought the nerve of this guy. I haven't seen a priest since I've been here and the one priest that was in the Cu Chi area wouldn't come out to the field, there was always some rabbi that came out, but the word was the priest didn't want to come out because he thought he might get killed. So, all of a sudden here's this priest here giving me last rites and I never could understand that. I was sort of thinking, what have you been doing here?
He's in the army, he's sitting there standing there with this army uniform on, this priest who's supposed to believe in the Ten Commandments and one is thou shalt not kill, how can he support the machine whose whole purpose is to kill people. I mean I was really thinking all this stuff in my head, like I went back I flashed back to my training and ah I remember the yelling and screaming things like they would yell, “What's the spirit of the bayonet?” and you would have to scream back, “To kill.” That's the spirit of the bayonet.
And I'm thinking my whole job is to kill. I'm a trained killer. That's all I know how to do. I'm an 11B40. Light weapons infantry. I'm just a trained killer. And it's that all of a sudden I thought like, how'd I get here? I never wanted to be a trained killer. I didn't want to kill anybody. I didn't know the first thing about... I started thinking, you know, for the first time. What the hell is Communism? I couldn't define it, and I'm laying here and gonna die for killing a bunch of people because they happen to be Communist. I didn't know and I bet you none of the people in that room knew the difference between Communism, Socialism or Capitalism and here's this priest that's sworn an oath, you know, that believes in thou shalt not kill, that's taking part in this machine that's doing nothing except killing people and destroying people's lives. I couldn't understand it.
And the same was true on the other side. Half the Viet Cong were Catholics. I mean it’s just, and North Vietnamese – Catholic is a dominant religion. They had their priests too, I could never could understand it. It was it was you what could answer – they don't have an answer. Either you believe thou shalt not kill, there's no such thing as thou shalt not kill except for this or but for that. There's no such thing like that. So what are they doing there? You know, supporting they ought to be out there in the street you know, I've come this far. Those people are the people that should be spearheading anti war movement.
Not the anti Vietnam war movement, but anti war movement period. You know, we get ourselves, it was later I think, I started understanding you know and trying to understand what it is that makes humans do things like that, and part of it are things that got me there. People don't question, people aren't aware. Your factionalize yourself. You know, you're proud to be a Texan – there’s, people are proud to be Texans. I mean, they were proud to be Southerners and they killed Northerners. We're proud to be Americans and we killed Germans, right, in WWII and we're proud to be Americans and we killed anybody that's not an American.
We identify, we factionalize ourselves and we identify ourselves with a group of people and we'll kill anybody that doesn't believe what we believe. You know, the world has not yet begun to think on universal terms. As we're all human beings on this planet irregardless of color, race, religion, we'll fight, we'll kill. We'll kill over religion, we'll kill over race, we'll kill over something called Communism and most of the people listening to this could try to define Communism right now don't know the first damned thing about it.
They never read any communist manifestos, they don't know Engels, they don't know Marx, they don't know their philosophy, but damn if they wont go sign up for the draft and find themselves in the same situation I did laying on some funky table in some stupid blood bath in Vietnam to stop something they don't know the first thing about. I kind of ramble on. But I would – I mean I thought of things like that and I was disgusted with myself – I was sick. You know, I never was afraid to die.
You know, I still believe there are things worth fighting and dying for. There are things worth protecting, but you know, know what it is that you're protecting. Know what it is, understand it, and make sure you know, in your mind that this is something you're willing to die for. Not something called communism. Not something called our Manifest Destiny was to wipe out the Indians. We died for that. I mean Americans died for that. Indians died for that. Something – stupid slogan – and we died for the domino theory. You know, some one always develops these stupid slogans and we will throw our sons in there and get them wiped out.
I mean, just the idea of us having to go halfway around the world to fight what most people call a fifth rate country. I don't like to call it that, it's just another country, but to go halfway around the world to stop something called the domino theory to kill a bunch of communists who we let thrive 90 miles away just doesn't make any sense. It just doesn't make any sense. But I guess Cuba doesn't have the oil reserve that close like Vietnam does. You know, I learned later when I got into political science that if you don't understand the reason or something, look at the economic issue and you'll find it. If you look at every war you'll find it there.