There is a sad logic in this. Can it be surprising that individuals or small groups should take the same attitude that their government has taken?
These individual Americans had the power; they had been resisted; they felt no need to get permission; they did what they felt like doing. It is the same tyrannical approach our government has been using on the international scene since January of 2001 – very dramatically so in Iraq.
There was some of this contempt for humane behavior practiced by us in Vietnam, but America was not yet used to the role of unwelcome, unjustified invader. Now we are getting used to it, and our troops are more freely adapting to it. Belligerence, arrogance, and disregard of common standards of behavior are being practiced by our national leadership and are just what we should expect on the individual level.
“I thought, ‘These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God. So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.’ But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.” (Jeremiah 5:4,5)