Got my hair cut today. Two old self-proclaimed Nam vets were bloviating (I've a strong memory of sitting around the tent and talking about the old f--ts who talked big at the VFW or Legion post; we agreed we'd never do that.) One was boasting about the number of water buffaloes "they'd" shot.
Then I read this great post at The Best Defense. Mr. Ricks has a quotation from a contributor to a book on My Lai: Evil doesn't come like Darth Vader dressed in black, hissing. Evil comes as a little bird whispering in your ear: 'Think about your career. I'm not sure what's going on. We'll muddle through for the next couple of hours. We'll get over the hill, and we'll go on. I mean, after all, I can't call people in and admit that I can't control, I can't do some other thing.' In my judgment, the evil comes from that point of view.
After hearing the vets, I might just quarrel with the quote: evil really comes as a narrower and narrower focus on the nearby, so there's no awareness of a moral issue at all. As in, was it right to kill someone's property and means of livelihood; did it advance the idea of winning the" hearts and minds."