Epithets

A SIMPLE FACT of most of the men in my company was that they had internalized, at least after seeing combat, a concept of the enemy as inhuman. "Charlie," "VC," "slopehead," "slant," "zit," "dink," and "gook" were terms employed by Americans, French, and even Vietnamese that permitted a consolidation of Viet Cong soldiers and militia making the enemy into a single demon. Punishment for calling them men (or any suitable substitute) ranged from a hundred pushups to a butt to the head.

The next worst enemy was your own ally, the rookie corpsman or FNG (fucking new guy).

It was a long, harrowing role-playing where the accentuated unreality of the scenario assisted irresponsibility toward choices as serious as mercy or
murder, and rendered some of the Marines--themselves constantly potential targets as well as machines of destruction--annoyed and a little incredulous when under attack by the inhuman enemy, as if their indoctrinated rules of solipsism and megalomania had been peevishly, pettily violated by an annoying child.



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