A Rumor of War

A Rumor of War

by

Philip Caputo

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The younger of a group of three men whom Lieutenant Murph McCloy and an ARVN sergeant question for being VC suspects. According to Lance Corporal Crowe, he meets Le Dung again and the young man points out the two men, including Le Du, whom he had been with previously as guerrillas who make mines and booby traps. However, Le Dung also ends up being one of the men whom Crowe, Allen, Thornhill, and two riflemen capture and kill during a patrol.

Le Dung Quotes in A Rumor of War

The A Rumor of War quotes below are all either spoken by Le Dung or refer to Le Dung. 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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Le Dung Character Timeline in A Rumor of War

The timeline below shows where the character Le Dung appears in A Rumor of War. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Eighteen
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
...of the army. They just seemed to be draft dodgers. The younger of the three, Le Dung , later tells Crowe that the two older ones are actually VC who have been... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...Crowe and asks if he is sure that this is one of the men whom Le Dung pointed out. He says “yes,” but he looks away. Caputo asks why they shot him,... (full context)
Heroism and Identity Theme Icon
The Morality of War Theme Icon
Danger and Uncertainty Theme Icon
War and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...to kill, encouraged them to kill, and are now going to court-martial them for killing Le Dung and Le Du. Caputo realizes that the marines have to punish him to avoid confronting... (full context)