morality and motive, and how the two get muddled (in general, but specifically during times of war - inner and otherwise). this took me a while (in a book this short i thought far too long) to get into, but did enjoy it once it got going. i thought the main point of it took a bit long to get to, and then went by rather quickly. but i really, really liked how he wrapped it up in the last two pages, in a way i didn't really expect."That was my first instinct - to protect him. It never occurred to me that there was greater need to protect myself. Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.""Unlike them, I had reason for thankfulness, for wasn't Phuong alive? Hadn't Phuong been 'warned'? But what I remembered was the torso in the square, the baby on its mother's lap. They had not been warned: they had not been sufficiently important. And if the parade had taken place would they not have been there just the same, out of curiosity, to see the soldiers, and hear the speakers, and throw the flowers? A two-hundred-pound bomb does not discriminate. How many dead colonels justify a child's or trishaw driver's death when you are building a national democratic front?"