My lawyers — two of them — are preparing to defend, based on my insanity at the time of the action for which I am now awaiting trial. I stubbornly refuse to agree with them. They fervently argue that for that reason alone we can hope to save my life. With even greater fervor, I insist that this argument — this is a departure from the principles which guided me in my life. A change to its principles can not. Of course, my lawyers know much less about my principles and me than myself. But I can not tell them any more because I do not believe that they will understand me. And even if he knew it would not help them to fulfill their duty. On the contrary, I think it would hinder their efforts to protect me. So we did not get along.
When I first got the idea to write down the most important thing of my tests for you, my associates (lawyers do not belong here because I'm interested in them purely from a practical point of view), I asked the jailer's Dictionary: I wanted to see the definitions of two words that have a lot to me. He brought only existing prison dictionary — "Webster's New World Dictionary." That's what I read of it:
"Insanity: especially in law, any form or degree of mental illness or disorder, permanent or temporary, to deprive a person the ability to normal, rational behavior or judgment from a legal point of view."
"Normal: having the ability to reason logically, to make reasonable conclusions, often means the absence of emotion."
I consider myself to be normal, and therefore, is not insane. Be my judges. Here is my story.
I'll start from the end. I was awarded the Medal of Honor. Message that was awarded this honor, I got one day in July. On my name came a telegram enclosed in the envelope. She was minister of defense and began: "As Minister of Defence, I am pleased to inform you that you were awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in battle …". Then followed a detailed description of my actions aimed at saving the lives of Americans during patrolling in Vietnam, when the risk of his life, I destroyed the gun and the four enemy soldiers. The telegram ended with an invitation to participate with my family in a ceremony at the White House at 10:00 am on August 28, where the president will personally present the award to me.
The absurdity of this message made me burst out laughing. Some rank mistake, and she, growing like a snowball, rolled across the chain of command, up to the White House. It was a funny mistake, however, holding a telegram in his hand, I felt it was the natural result of a year of my service in Vietnam. Now, of course, I think otherwise, because at stake is my life.
And then I laughed at this post, because for all the long years of service and patrol on a combat helicopter gunner I did not kill a single enemy soldier or civilian Vietnamese. On the contrary, I have killed several U.S. military personnel, namely private, three corporals, lieutenant colonel and brigadier general. Until now, no one knows I'm to blame for their death. So far, no one I could talk about it. But now I need not more silent.
During the long months spent in a prison cell, I had plenty of time to remember the year in Vietnam. Nothing will distract me and did not stop to recall the smallest details of the circumstances and events of the war years. When I finished and went back to the States, I found it hard to get rid of the experiences associated with them. I did what I had to do, without the slightest hesitation, and never regretted his actions. I was then and had no idea that I would have found it necessary to recall these events carefully and write them down. I think I could have lived a long life and die not troubled by these memories. No one would ever know that I have done. However, this all changed the telegram …
Read the book
This book — the confession of an American soldier, a member of the U.S. war of aggression in Vietnam.
The author talks about the resentment of the U.S. military atrocities against the civilian population. The hero of the book aims his weapon is not against the Vietnamese people, but against the specific perpetrators of the crimes committed. The book exposes the predatory habits prevailing in the U.S. Army, its messy moral character.
See also: The Undeclared War. Vietnamese diary. (1969)