Why Collateral Damage Is Permanent

Long after the rubble is cleared, the innocent victims refuse to be forgotten

That night in the Mekong Delta, the women and children who died were, in the heartless phrase, "collateral damage." They were victims of the fog of battle, or of the atrocity of Oops! You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Vietnam was some omelet. But it was a war, after all--a tragic, confusing, mishandled business in which the enemy merged with the civilian population, and the girl who did the laundry might blow you up with a grenade hidden beneath the folded underwear. Brave, decent men like Bob Kerrey got hurt or killed and sometimes made mistakes that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!