The American Mind/The Asian Mind


“I don’t really see that we’re the bad boy.”

“Why should I feel responsible?”

“But the thing which I think I will remember about Vietnam when I am a hundred years old and will talk about it with my grandchildren is the countryside, how beautiful the women looked, and the food.” [1]


“I don’t hate Americans. I hate the policy of invading other countries. And the debt, the distribution from the Paris Agreements, why haven’t they given us anything? We are very poor because of the war. The Americans don’t see how they destroyed everything, and they won’t pay their debt. I listen to the radio and hear how the Americans still have an embargo on our economy, and have no diplomatic relations with us. That’s not right.

This is the Vietnamese people’s land. Why did the Americans come to destroy us and make war, and why don’t they help now to rebuild our country? I am a farmer, I stay here. And I ask a simple question. Why did the Americans come here to destroy homes and kill people? And I ask you, who invaded who? If Vietnam decided to invade America they would have to send troops—the distance is far, thousands of kilometers. I ask you, if I came to your land to destroy and burn your houses, how would you feel? So I say, when the Americans came here to fight and destroy the Vietnamese people, they were wrong. The Vietnamese were not wrong to defend their land. And when the Americans lost the war, why didn’t they want to have relations with us?”[2]


[1] The first two excerpts are from an interview with John Gates and third excerpt from interview with David Sulzberger, who worked as civilians with the U.S. government in Vietnam in the 1960s, quoted in Gloria Emerson, Winners and Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses and Ruins from a Long War (New York: Random House, 1976), 297, 298, 319.

[2] Mr. Cau Ngoc Xuan, interviewed in Martha Hess, Then the Americans Came: Voices from Vietnam (New York: Fall Walls Eight Windows, 1993), 43.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *