From a letter to the editor of today’s New York Times:
To the Editor:
Re “The Truth About the Cost of War” (editorial, Nov. 24):
I was in a unit in Vietnam in 1969 that called in air and artillery strikes on “free fire zones” in III Corps, northwest of Saigon.
I asked an Army officer how we knew that the people we fired on were all the enemy. “By definition,” he said, “if we kill them, they are the enemy.”
Part of the truth in your editorial isn’t that civilian casualties are underreported but that their deaths in battle are seen as irrelevant.
BRUCE W. RIDER, GRAPEVINE, TEX.