"The idea was that the Vietnamese, they weren’t really people. They were subhuman, mere ‘gooks’ who could be killed or abused at will and, you know, veterans I talked to told me that from the moment they got into basic training they were told, ‘Never call them Vietnamese. Call them gooks or dinks, slopes, slants, rice-eaters.’ Anything to take away their humanity, to dehumanize them and make it easy to see any Vietnamese — all Vietnamese — as the enemy."
A disturbing but not surprising account of the mindset of the Vietnam War and the tactics used in fighting it. As is true in any war in human history, the enemy must be dehumanized as a condition of war. Accounts of Afghanistan will no doubt tell a similar story in the near future.