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The South East Asian Conflict Revisted ed 40 years later.

Inuyasha

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I served in that conflict and I was presented by my commanding officer with a view few have ever really considered. He ws a man that i still respect to this day and saved our bacon more than once. Before I begin and by way of introduction I need to mention a few points. I am not speaking emotionately nor am I attempting to judge the morality ot the immorality of the situation. Put yourself as closely as possible to the times of which I speak (hindsight is always 20/20) and what the world was thinking. I am speaking of tactics and strategy more than anything else. If possiblerefer to a map of the reagion, I mean not just Cochin China but Thailand, Malaya, Indonesia and the whole area.

At that time the problem was communism vs capitalism and our way of life. The purpose of the war was to stop the advance of communism in that area (ie: the domino theory. Quite valid at the time). French Indo China or Cochin China was the best place to start. It was economically and industrially far behind both Malaya, who was having problems with insurgency, believed to be being supplied through Laos and Viet Nam, and Thailand that was also far ahead of it neighbors in development. French Indochina on the other had was just a vast swath of useless jungle and rice paddies in dire poverty and ripe (we thoiught) for rebellion and entrance into the "Western World". Here our intel could have been a bit better but we wouldn't know that till the conflict was in full swing. All in all it was the most ideal spot to begin.

What need to be protected (aside from the two countries I have mentioned) was the port of Singapore shades of WWII and Japan). If you look at you map you will see that Singapore holds the keys to the Straits of Malacca which is the Panama Canal of the orient. All goods coming from the Gulf and the Western world must pass through those straits. They are very narrrow with Malaya on one side and the Indonesian Islands on the other. If the communists were to take Malaya and Singapore it would be just a short hop accross the straits to conquer Indonesia and control all shipping going into the Pacific Rim including that going to the American West Coast. This means they would control a substaial degree of the economies of Japan and the Phillipines and other Pacific nations as well. We could not afford to have that happen. NOt to mention that both Indonesia and Brunei (Dutch Shell Oil's beginnings anyone?) are oil rich areas that would have provided fuel to the communist war machine (Japan WWII again). It would also put them in extremely close stricking distance of the Asian "Western" nation and the West's most trusted ally in the region of Australia. The argument that we could, in the worst case senario, rechannel shipping to the south of Indonesia and north of Australia. This idea is flawed because first, the cost would have tripled the oil and goods coming into the Pacific. Second, those waters are very dangerous to shipping and unusaable for the most part not to mention the pirates in the area who still hold a lot of power off those Islands in the south.

Continued........
 

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Re: The South East Asian Conflict Part II

Chochin China remained the key to communist domination and and later, logically, the battle field. Both Viet Nam and Laos and later Cambodia. They were the supply lines and providers for the communist insurgence in the rest of the region.

It was never our first invention to bring western style democracy to the region. We were well aware of Laos tribal structure and the situation in Veit Nam with their line of dictators in the South. Democracy was an after thought, First came training and outfitting their militaries to face the stronger militaies of North Viet Nam and the Pathet Lao so that non-comminist forces could defend our interests.Actually I think the majority of soldiers thought that the so-called "political officers" were an obstacle to military workings. I know we did. Most political officers were assigned regular infantry duties and their "politizing" was of little importance to us. It was much more valubale that, for example, they be able to use a radio and call in artillery or air strikes .

It was also never out intention to gain physical territory in the traditioal military manner. Nor did we ever really think military occupation of the entire was of first hand.

We may have left Viet Nam in a very ignoble manner but that doers not mean we lost the conflict. IN the end Thailand and Malaya never fell to the domino theory and remained western allies. The communists never were able to take Singapore and control the shipping lanes nor did they ever benifit from the oil fields of the archepeligo. THe war in Cochin China sapped their will and their strength and after 1972 they were never a real threat in the area. That war or battle maybe is a better word, fell in our favor. It was a perfect delaying action that took18 years but the West came out on top IMO. Had we not done what we did the world would be a very different place and they might be speaking Chinese or Russian at city hall today. I feel we could have left in 1972 a saved many American lives but it's only an opinion because by that time i was no longer in theater and long gone. Were mistakes made? Surely. Tell me a war where mistakes have not been made. Still we overcame them and were stronger in the end.

The only emotion I will interject is when i hear someone in a loud voice saying "WE LOST THE WAR. WE WERE DISGRACED." IMO that peron does not truly understand the conflict and is still spitting on us. I am not the only vet who feels this. Thanks for bearing with me.
 

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The lessons of Vietnam should be remembered and in some ways they have been. The Government learned that war should fall on the responsibility of the tactics and know how of the military, not the politics and the hinderence of Washington. The 'protestor' has evolved from "baby killer" to "Support the troop, not the war", which is merely a politically correct way of spitting, but it is nicer.

But the greatest lesson that should be learned is the notion of "roll back." This was a term that strategists used with regards to our fight against communism at the time. Because of the vast expansion of global communism, "Roll back" is not what occurred, rather than a hold back of communism. In fact, "roll back" was ahead of it's time; more suited for today's and tomorrow's fight against Fundamental Islam. (More on this at your request.)

Soviet Communism was not defeated by attacking Moscow. Instead it was combatted on battle fields like Korea and Vietnam. It was diplomatically backed off in Cuba. It was indirectly repelled in Afghanistan. It was held behind a cement wall with American troops stationed on the other side. Victory didn't come from a conventional surrender rather than an economic break down through several different levels of competition with the West.

Vietnam specifically....After their defeat after WWII, the Japanese withdrew back to Japan leaving a vacuume of power in Vietnam. The French returned to re-establish a colonial power and their war soon emerged. In 1954, the war was ended and Vietnam was divided into two by Geneva. The north (controlled by Ho Chi Minh) was communist and the south was non-communist. In 1956, the north, with the support of China and the Soviet Union, attacked into the south. Enter America's involvement to protect the non-communist portion of Vietnam. During America's involvement, the American soldier had to deal with abuses from his own countrymen and from his own government's politics. Traitors like Jane Fonda went to entertain the enemy as an apologetic voice of the mass of protesters to ensure that the Soviet and Chinese backed Cambodians (controlled by Pol-Pot) and the North Vietnamese understood that it was not they that stood between them and their goals of oppression. In the end, Vietnam was not won, but nor was it lost. With every battlefield won and an estimated 15 times the enemy deaths, America just simply left. Our restricting government and the dispicable acts of our citizens and their inescapable abilities to focus on sole tragedies given through reporters who sided with our civilian populace, effectively destroyed any chance the American soldier would have had otherwise.

Oh yeah, remember the South Vietnamese, who we went to save in the first place? The South Vietnamese Army could not cope with the North Vietnamese forces once the bulk of the American troops had pulled out. The North Vietnamese changed their tactics by launching a full scale attack against the South which all but wilted under the onslaught. In 1973, all sides agreed to a cease fire during which the remaining American troops would have to be withdrawn and all POW's would have to be released. It was agreed that Vietnam would be "eventually reunited". By the end of 1973, America was completely out of Vietnam. The ceasefire lasted no time at all and the North attacked what was left of the South's army. By April 1975, Saigon, the capitol of South Vietnam was renamed Ho-Chi Minh City. Pol-Pot went on to declare 'Year Zero' and directed a ruthless program to "purify" Cambodian society of capitalism, Western culture, religion and all foreign influences in favor of an isolated and totally self-sufficient Maoist agrarian state. He went on to work or starve to death, and just plain slaughter around 3 million in Cambodia.

The only thing that was a disgrace was what the South Vietnames and Cambodians were subjected to after the American protestor gave the Soviet Union, China, Pol-Pot, and Ho-Chi Minh their victory.
 
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Well put Gunny. You are a credit to the military a good student. it's pertty amazing that someone you age has gone ahead and studied the situation. Most people still buy in to the propaganda of the era. You said some thing I omitted and said them better than i could. and as you are at a distance from that situation you were more level headed than I can be about it. Maybe you are going to write some books on military history in the future.

here's a question for you that i can't answer very well. When i was in the army we had a lot of draftees. my unit was a special unit with only RAs but I saw plenty of draftees who did their country proud. Today eveyone says that kind of military is not good. Only profesasionals can fight wars. I disagree completely. We have always been a nation of citizen soldiers. naturally you need a core of professionals but the draftee armies of WWI, II, Korea and SE Asia did themselves proud and I think if needed they will again rise to the occasion. What do you think of say, a citizen army vs the idea of a professional only army?
 

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Inuyasha said:
Well put Gunny. You are a credit to the military a good student. it's pertty amazing that someone you age has gone ahead and studied the situation. Most people still buy in to the propaganda of the era. You said some thing I omitted and said them better than i could. and as you are at a distance from that situation you were more level headed than I can be about it. Maybe you are going to write some books on military history in the future.

here's a question for you that i can't answer very well. When i was in the army we had a lot of draftees. my unit was a special unit with only RAs but I saw plenty of draftees who did their country proud. Today eveyone says that kind of military is not good. Only profesasionals can fight wars. I disagree completely. We have always been a nation of citizen soldiers. naturally you need a core of professionals but the draftee armies of WWI, II, Korea and SE Asia did themselves proud and I think if needed they will again rise to the occasion. What do you think of say, a citizen army vs the idea of a professional only army?
A Proffesional Army is needed for Special Operations and Guerilla warfare, Standard Civillians arent good enough to do such complicated manuvers and tactics. But for the Meat Grinder of Large Scale War, Civillians actually have enough skills to match up any proffessional normally, because in war you could die any second, no matter if your the civillian or Proffesional. And the Civilians fire the gun and could hit the enemy , and so could the proffesionals. The proffesionals just have a better probability of doing so because of their training, but in the battlefield, it doesnt matter if its 99/100 that you will hit, if that time you miss and the enemy kills you.
 

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It can be said that once there was a time where the majority of America was proud to serve his country and being drafted meant doing your duty. As the years rolled by and the reasons for war became obscure, people changed.

The Cold War ushered in a whole different mentality. Fighting Soviet Communism proved to be confusing to the mind that was used to fighting an enemy with a central objective location. The idea of fighting a spreading ideology (roll-back) on many different battlefronts was a new form of warfare and people didn’t quite understand it at the time. (Many people still can’t quite grasp the concept.)

As technology advanced, so grew the public’s awareness of the reality of war. The media began to take special interests. By the Vietnam War, the media’s frenzy to report the “best” story became propagandas against any American effort. Patriotism was going through a change. A huge portion of the protester membership was made up of people that did not want to be drafted and of people that returned from being drafted. The attitudes received from draftees ranged from commitment to duty and loyalty to buddy, to troublemaker and unprofessional.

Now, there was a time when our military was built around the ability to fight two wars simultaneously. When that objective conflicted with Washington’s intent to cut defense spending, our objectives were scaled back. They continued to scale the military down over the years to what we have today. Through it all, the ruling class continues to demand more and more from our military. Deployments and re-deployments have been coming so frequently over the decade that Marines barely have enough time to catch a movie stateside before boarding another plane or ship. National Guardsmen and reservists are being used in unprecedented ways and for longer periods of time. With Active military presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, the HOA, the Far East, foreign natural disasters, and now performing natural disaster missions in our own country, their presence helps to masque the shortage of Active Duty personnel. Army and Marine Corps recruiters are unable to meet quotas while High Schools deny them access to graduating seniors. All the while the Air Force and Navy are still scaling back.

A draft in today’s America seems very impossible, and Washington knows it. This is why we have seen Marines with three tours in Iraq just since 2003. (Twice myself) This is why we have tolerated acts of unprofessionalism from our Guardsmen. Despite their larger contributions to duty, there are many, many errors made in Iraq. The most well known was obviously the Abu-Ghraib scandal, thanks to the frenzy of our media to satisfy the anti-war hunger. There is a big difference between an Active Duty military man and a civilian in uniform. That difference is professionalism and a call to duty. As much complaining and mental mistakes that are made in Iraq by our National Guard, I can’t imagine what the protester movement and what the military would look like today, if the draft was activated.

Personally, I do not like the idea of the draft. I have no doubt that America has the resolve to come together to fight against an enemy that is directly assaulting our country, but I do not believe that America has the resolve to help anyone else as it once did. The only solution to the current military status is to either slow us down or give us the strength we once had. In the mean time, unfortunately, the Active military will continue to be ridden until we drop.
 

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Inuyasha said:
I served in that conflict and I was presented by my commanding officer with a view few have ever really considered. He ws a man that i still respect to this day and saved our bacon more than once. Before I begin and by way of introduction I need to mention a few points. I am not speaking emotionately nor am I attempting to judge the morality ot the immorality of the situation. Put yourself as closely as possible to the times of which I speak (hindsight is always 20/20) and what the world was thinking. I am speaking of tactics and strategy more than anything else. If possiblerefer to a map of the reagion, I mean not just Cochin China but Thailand, Malaya, Indonesia and the whole area.

At that time the problem was communism vs capitalism and our way of life. The purpose of the war was to stop the advance of communism in that area (ie: the domino theory. Quite valid at the time). French Indo China or Cochin China was the best place to start. It was economically and industrially far behind both Malaya, who was having problems with insurgency, believed to be being supplied through Laos and Viet Nam, and Thailand that was also far ahead of it neighbors in development. French Indochina on the other had was just a vast swath of useless jungle and rice paddies in dire poverty and ripe (we thoiught) for rebellion and entrance into the "Western World". Here our intel could have been a bit better but we wouldn't know that till the conflict was in full swing. All in all it was the most ideal spot to begin.

What need to be protected (aside from the two countries I have mentioned) was the port of Singapore shades of WWII and Japan). If you look at you map you will see that Singapore holds the keys to the Straits of Malacca which is the Panama Canal of the orient. All goods coming from the Gulf and the Western world must pass through those straits. They are very narrrow with Malaya on one side and the Indonesian Islands on the other. If the communists were to take Malaya and Singapore it would be just a short hop accross the straits to conquer Indonesia and control all shipping going into the Pacific Rim including that going to the American West Coast. This means they would control a substaial degree of the economies of Japan and the Phillipines and other Pacific nations as well. We could not afford to have that happen. NOt to mention that both Indonesia and Brunei (Dutch Shell Oil's beginnings anyone?) are oil rich areas that would have provided fuel to the communist war machine (Japan WWII again). It would also put them in extremely close stricking distance of the Asian "Western" nation and the West's most trusted ally in the region of Australia. The argument that we could, in the worst case senario, rechannel shipping to the south of Indonesia and north of Australia. This idea is flawed because first, the cost would have tripled the oil and goods coming into the Pacific. Second, those waters are very dangerous to shipping and unusaable for the most part not to mention the pirates in the area who still hold a lot of power off those Islands in the south.

Continued........
What unit were you in?
 

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Re: The South East Asian Conflict Part II

Inuyasha said:
Chochin China remained the key to communist domination and and later, logically, the battle field. Both Viet Nam and Laos and later Cambodia. They were the supply lines and providers for the communist insurgence in the rest of the region.

It was never our first invention to bring western style democracy to the region. We were well aware of Laos tribal structure and the situation in Veit Nam with their line of dictators in the South. Democracy was an after thought, First came training and outfitting their militaries to face the stronger militaies of North Viet Nam and the Pathet Lao so that non-comminist forces could defend our interests.Actually I think the majority of soldiers thought that the so-called "political officers" were an obstacle to military workings. I know we did. Most political officers were assigned regular infantry duties and their "politizing" was of little importance to us. It was much more valubale that, for example, they be able to use a radio and call in artillery or air strikes .

It was also never out intention to gain physical territory in the traditioal military manner. Nor did we ever really think military occupation of the entire was of first hand.

We may have left Viet Nam in a very ignoble manner but that doers not mean we lost the conflict. IN the end Thailand and Malaya never fell to the domino theory and remained western allies. The communists never were able to take Singapore and control the shipping lanes nor did they ever benifit from the oil fields of the archepeligo. THe war in Cochin China sapped their will and their strength and after 1972 they were never a real threat in the area. That war or battle maybe is a better word, fell in our favor. It was a perfect delaying action that took18 years but the West came out on top IMO. Had we not done what we did the world would be a very different place and they might be speaking Chinese or Russian at city hall today. I feel we could have left in 1972 a saved many American lives but it's only an opinion because by that time i was no longer in theater and long gone. Were mistakes made? Surely. Tell me a war where mistakes have not been made. Still we overcame them and were stronger in the end.

The only emotion I will interject is when i hear someone in a loud voice saying "WE LOST THE WAR. WE WERE DISGRACED." IMO that peron does not truly understand the conflict and is still spitting on us. I am not the only vet who feels this. Thanks for bearing with me.
I am a military veteran myself and my story is much different from yours. I was sent to Bosnia and it was like the US government was lying and covering up everything that was going on over their. I felt we should have intervened in this part of the world much sooner. But we didn't because it didn't fit our interests. It would have been the right thing to do if we intervened ASAP to stop the Serbs and their death camps. The US government tried to cover up the death camps or downplay them so that political pressure would not be raised for the US to intervene. I am no expert on the Vietnam War or the history surrounding it and have little understanding of the conflict myself. But from listening to you, who is a Vietnam Veteran, it seems the conflict centered around resources and money and interests and really I just want to give my life for interests. If I am going to give my life, it's going to be for my family or the few true friends that I have or at least something based on some real sound moral principle. Not for interests or money or to make somebody else rich.
 

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MiamiFlorida said:
What unit were you in?
Well, I know you were not talking to me. My unit was the 48th Infantry Brigade, 1/108th Armor, Bravo Company which is now currently serving in Iraq. They are apart of the GA Army National Guard. We have lost a few guys in Iraq. But I can't help but think that some of the guys in my old unit are dying for oil and money and interests. I am just trying to be genuine and honest about my views and hope that none of you take offense.
 
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TimmyBoy said:
Well, I know you were not talking to me. My unit was the 48th Infantry Brigade, 1/108th Armor, Bravo Company which is now currently serving in Iraq. They are apart of the GA Army National Guard. We have lost a few guys in Iraq. But I can't help but think that some of the guys in my old unit are dying for oil and money and interests. I am just trying to be genuine and honest about my views and hope that none of you take offense.
I think "oil" interests is a good reason for war. Our country runs on it. I would love to get out from under the necessity of the Sauds.
 

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GySgt said:
I think "oil" interests is a good reason for war. Our country runs on it. I would love to get out from under the necessity of the Sauds.
Hope posting what my old unit was is not going to be much of a problem given that they are currently serving in Iraq. They are in the news in my hometown with some of the troop casualties. So I didn't think it would be a problem posting my old unit. I am not apart of that unit anymore and was sent to Bosnia when I was apart of that unit. Learned alot about the world when I was over their. Right now, I am a civilian and I write manufactering software for building planes for both military and civilian use for some of the big clients like Boeing and Lockheed Martin and a few others.
 
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Inuyasha said:
Well put Gunny. You are a credit to the military a good student. it's pertty amazing that someone you age has gone ahead and studied the situation. Most people still buy in to the propaganda of the era. You said some thing I omitted and said them better than i could. and as you are at a distance from that situation you were more level headed than I can be about it. Maybe you are going to write some books on military history in the future.

here's a question for you that i can't answer very well. When i was in the army we had a lot of draftees. my unit was a special unit with only RAs but I saw plenty of draftees who did their country proud. Today eveyone says that kind of military is not good. Only profesasionals can fight wars. I disagree completely. We have always been a nation of citizen soldiers. naturally you need a core of professionals but the draftee armies of WWI, II, Korea and SE Asia did themselves proud and I think if needed they will again rise to the occasion. What do you think of say, a citizen army vs the idea of a professional only army?
I would definately like to have a draftee who is clean of drugs in my squad. Volunteering for combat is not so smart. A draftee is not a volunteer. So, hopefully, chances are, the draftee would give me and my squad a better chance for survival, if I happenned to be a sergent and still active duty.
 
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GySgt said:
I think "oil" interests is a good reason for war. Our country runs on it. I would love to get out from under the necessity of the Sauds.
What are some good books on snipers in Vietnam GySgt? I remember this one famous sniper in the Marine Corps, can't remember his name, last name was Hancock I think.
 

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TimmyBoy said:
What are some good books on snipers in Vietnam GySgt? I remember this one famous sniper in the Marine Corps, can't remember his name, last name was Hancock I think.
Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock II.


'Marine Sniper' is excellent. It is very historical and without the typical exxagerations you will find in some military books.
 

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GySgt said:
Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock II.


'Marine Sniper' is excellent. It is very historical and without the typical exxagerations you will find in some military books.

I saw that book in the book stores and was thinking about buying it, but I wanted to get an opinion on it first.
 

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TimmyBoy said:
I saw that book in the book stores and was thinking about buying it, but I wanted to get an opinion on it first.

I've read it twice. It is a 'deployment' favorite. You won't find many career Marines that haven't read it.
 

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GySgt said:
I've read it twice. It is a 'deployment' favorite. You won't find many career Marines that haven't read it.
I just got the book. Charlie the man, charlie the woman, charlie the 12 year old kid. What a way to live and have to survive. It's like you have to betray every good principle you were brought up on in order to survive. A dog eat dog world man. The UN and the US betrayed their principles in Bosnia as well. Sure am glad I never was forced to have to waste a 12 year old kid man.
 

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TimmyBoy said:
I just got the book. Charlie the man, charlie the woman, charlie the 12 year old kid. What a way to live and have to survive. It's like you have to betray every good principle you were brought up on in order to survive. A dog eat dog world man. The UN and the US betrayed their principles in Bosnia as well. Sure am glad I never was forced to have to waste a 12 year old kid man.

I had an occasion in Somalia where I and others thought I was about to get wasted by a 12 year old kid. It was a pretty tense situation.
 

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GySgt said:
I had an occasion in Somalia where I and others thought I was about to get wasted by a 12 year old kid. It was a pretty tense situation.
Not this is anything to brag about. I helped to pull some dead remains of kids and adult civilians from mass graves in Bosnia. Alot of the mass graves we found, the body parts were chopped up in order to make the jobs of forensic experts more difficult in providing evidence in any war crimes cases. Their was a one or two star general who visited one of the graves and smell made him puke. I thought it was sort of funny, because I have always thought of a general as battlehardened and "seen it all." I never threw up around the smell myself. My attitude, was it's just my job and I was going to do my job. Somebody had to do it and I guess it was going to be us and some forensic experts. I never had to waste any kids or had any trouble out of them during my deployment. But mines were a constant problem and they were some booby traps as well. Usually we just let EOD handle the mines.

Somalia was one shitty situation. I saw the movie Black Hawk Down where some of the special forces guys got the Medal of Honor by bailing out of the helicopter to help out some of the other downed chopper pilots. I would like to think I would have done the same thing. I fight to get home alive and to help the guys in my unit get home alive. I personally don't fight for the flag or the pledge or "freedom."
 

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GySgt said:
I had an occasion in Somalia where I and others thought I was about to get wasted by a 12 year old kid. It was a pretty tense situation.
But my philosophy: all is fair in love and war. I personally don't play by any rules and will fight dirty to survive. Kid or no kid, all is fair in war. And I don't believe anybody is completely innocent in this world.
 

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Noone is completely innocent, but no guilty person should be made to suffer either.
 
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