When a young man goes to war, it changes his life.
Question: What impact did the war have on you?
Armitage: Well first of all I think when a young man goes to war – and I went for almost six years in Vietnam, in country for almost six years – it has . . . it says a lot about how you will look at the future. For me that experience has made me very loath to want to go to war again, and make sure . . . As far as I’m able that it’s . . . that war is something of a last resort. Beyond that I think it started me in a direction towards foreign policy, something I wouldn’t have even considered when I was a young teenager. I think you made daily decisions, if not hourly decisions, about the people living and dying. I remember one case where I was taking a wounded Vietnamese sailor to a hospital in Tainan. He had been terribly wounded while we were in an operation, and he was so badly wounded that I actually gave him three __________ of morphine, which I thought it would kill him but kill him peacefully. He not only survived, much to everyone’s surprise – although he lost his eyes, his ears, two arms – but he came back to thank me for saving his life. So it’s funny.