October 5, 2012

Making Ethical Decisions During War Q&A

Osgood's interview with Toan in Vietnam, June 2010. Photo provided by Osgood.
Ron Osgood, a Professor from the Telecommunications Department, has invited Nguyen Duc Toan to speak about maintaining a moral code in the military. Here Osgood shares a little more about the speaker and how they met.

1. When did you first meet Nguyen Duc Toan? How did you learn his story?

In 2009 I began research for my current documentary project "The Vietnam War/American War: Stories from All Sides." Through a series of conversations with veterans I was introduced to an American Army veteran living in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Doug Reese knew Toan and helped me make contact for an interview. During a trip to Vietnam in June 2010, I traveled to the small village where Toan lives for the interview.

2. What inspired you to bring Nguyen Duc Toan to campus?

Toan and I have kept in contact via email and through translation by his daughter Hai. He has always expressed an interest in telling more of his story and his desire to travel to America. In January 2012, during another trip, I visited Toan, and we discussed how I might help him in coming to the states. Toan is a gentleman and someone who did the right thing while in battle.

3. Do you know why Toan saved Kientzler’s life instead of taking it? Could you comment on that?

I think I answered this above, but I'll add that Toan is an honorable person and did what he knew was morally right.

4. What are some of the ways military duty and moral duty conflict? Is it possible for them to overlap?

This is a tough question to answer in a few sentences and would make for a great question at the presentation. Toan is a good example of overlapping moral and military duty. The question I always ask is - if you saw an enemy pilot parachuting near you after he had been responsible for bombing or firing rockets at you, what would you do?

For more information about this event, refer to http://themester.indiana.edu/events/toan.shtml.

Amber Hendricks

Themester 2012 intern

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