Among themselves GIs were able to rationalize their own brutal behavior by dismissing their victims as mere “gooks” or “dinks.” “They were only VC,” they said as a woman was raped or an old man tortured.

A presidential pardon or mitigation of Calley’s sentence would endorse what had become known as ‘”the mere gook rule”—the feeling that Asian life was not worthy of respect.


–from Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, Four Hours in My Lai (pages, 166, 345)

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