|"Certain blood was
being shed for uncertain reasons. I saw no unity of purpose, no consensus on matters of
philosophy or history or law. The very facts were shrouded in uncertainty: Was it a civil
war? A war of national liberation or simple aggression? Who started it, and when, and why?
What really happened to the USS Maddox on that dark night in the Gulf of Tonkin? Was Ho
Chi Minh a Communist stooge, or a nationalist savor, or both, or neither? What about the
Geneva Accords? What about SEATO and the Cold War? What about dominoes? America was
divided on these and a thousand other issues, and the debate had spilled out across the
floor of the United States Senate and into the streets, and smart men in pinstripes could
not agree on even the most fundamental matters of public policy. The only certainty that
summer was moral confusion. It was my view then, and Knowledge, of course, is always
imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable
confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can't fix your mistakes. Once
people are dead, you can't make them undead." (The Things They Carried, p.
||Embedded within the layers of facts were shrouds of
confusion. There were too many uncertain political reasons for the war. There was no way
to intellectually sort out the principles behind the event, hence, there was no actual
justification for the Vietnam War.