A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War

by

Philip Caputo

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A short, stocky man and “an expert with the sawed-off twelve-gauge” that he carries. The teenage platoon nicknames him “Pappy” since he’s twenty-three years old. His appearance fits his nickname, as the months of sleep deprivation, wincing at snipers’ bullets, and the stress of constantly looking for trip wires have physically aged him. Along with Caputo, Crowe is later brought up on murder charges, after the deaths of two Viet Cong, Le Dung and Le Du. He, too, is acquitted.

Lance Corporal Crowe Quotes in A Rumor of War

The A Rumor of War quotes below are all either spoken by Lance Corporal Crowe or refer to Lance Corporal Crowe. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Owl Books edition of A Rumor of War published in 1977.
Chapter Eighteen Quotes

I wondered why the investigating officer had not submitted any explanatory or extenuating circumstances. Later, after I had time to think things over, I drew my own conclusion: the explanatory or extenuating circumstance was the war. The killings had occurred in war. They had occurred, moreover, in a war whose sole aim was to kill Viet Cong […] The deaths of Le Dung and Le Du could not be divorced from the nature and conduct of the war. As I had come to see it, America could not intervene in a people’s war without killing some of the people. But to raise those points in explanation or extenuation would be to raise a host of ambiguous moral questions. It could even raise the question of the morality of American intervention in Vietnam […] If we were found guilty, the Marine Corps’ institutional conscience would be clear.

Page Number: 322-323
Explanation and Analysis:

There was murder in my heart and, in some way, through tone of voice, a gesture, or a stress on kill rather than capture, I had transmitted my inner violence to the men. They saw in my overly aggressive manner a sanction to vent their own brutal impulses. I lay there remembering the euphoria we had felt afterward, the way we had laughed, and then the sudden awakening to guilt. And yet, I could not conceive of the fact as one of premeditated murder. It had not been committed in a vacuum. It was a direct result of the war. The thing we had done was a result of what the war had done to us.

Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lance Corporal Crowe Character Timeline in A Rumor of War

The timeline below shows where the character Lance Corporal Crowe appears in A Rumor of War. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Fifteen
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...Tuy Loan River trail, which was named Purple Heart Trail three months ago. Lance Corporal Crowe walks delicately. Behind him, Allen and Lonehill look for snipers. Caputo follows them with Jones... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...all afternoon. The trail climbs into high country and the Song Tuy Loan gets narrower. Crowe and Caputo take turns hacking through the brush with a machete, and leeches drop from... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...his legs. The heat is suffocating, as it always is between monsoon storms. Lance Corporal Crowe goes to Caputo to make his report. He says that the patrol has picked up... (full context)
The Morality of War Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Caputo asks why Crowe did not capture the two men and bring them in. Crowe says that McCloy already... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...clear thought is retaliation. He decides that he’s going to get the two VC whom Crowe did not bring in. If they resist, the patrol will kill them. That way, Neal... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Caputo organizes Allen, Crowe, Lonehill, and two other riflemen that night. They wear bush hats and blacken their faces... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...at the calendar. Beneath its pornographic drawing is the date—June 30, 1966. Today, Lance Corporal Crowe is to be tried on two counts of premeditated murder. Caputo will appear as a... (full context)
The Morality of War Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
Later, Rader tells Caputo that he and Crowe have been found not guilty on all counts. The general is also thinking about dropping... (full context)