Isaac Hao uses simple terms to explain what Saddam Hussein has done to Kuwait.
Imagine, he says, someone walking into your home and commanding you to get out - for good. Downright aggression is bad, Hao says. It should be dealt with decisively."We need to clean house and get home," he says. "I don't want this to go on."
Hao says he is not a warmonger. He's seen the horror of war firsthand. At the age of 19, he was drafted by the U.S. Army, trained as a combat engineer and sent to central Vietnam.
Hao spent 10 months and 11 days there. He came home on a gurney with knee injuries. Hao says he doesn't "know why I went to Vietnam." But, the Persian Gulf is different.
"We know the enemy, what we're going to do and why we are there to begin with," Hao said. "Here it is clear-cut: This guy walks in and says this is mine, not yours anymore."
Like Hao, some who were personally touched by the Vietnam conflict see mostly differences between that effort and the Persian Gulf crisis. And in general, because of those differences, they are supportive of taking military action against Iraq if other efforts fail before the Jan. 15 deadline set by President Bush.
But not J.D. Coons. At age 19 he went to Vietnam as a door gunner for the Army 335th Attack Helicopter Company. The experience "completely ruined my life." No one will come out a complete victor if war is declared in the Persian Gulf, he said. The price to be paid for war takes years to assess.
"I was very sensitive at 19, and I didn't adjust appropriately to combat situations," Coons said. "The anger and control and intimidation that kept me alive in Vietnam is the same stuff that's destroyed two marriages for me."
Coons, who "prays every day they'll work out a solution," believes Bush will make a wise decision about how to respond to Saddam.
"If any man is prepared to deal with this, it's Bush," Coons said. "He's been in foreign relations all his life."
And in the final analysis, if Bush opts for war Coons hopes he directs the United States to "get in, get it over with and get out."
The veterans both say that's a lesson learned from Vietnam.
There is another lesson to be learned from Vietnam, one championed by Pearl Rex, Spanish Fork. Because Vietnam was a "police action" and never a declared war, the Laotian government has never made a full accounting of soldiers listed as missing in action or as prisoners of war, declaring instead that such individuals are war criminals or are now Vietnamese citizens.
As a result, Rex may never know what happened to her son, Robert Alan Rex, an Air Force pilot shot down over Vietnam on Dec. 8, 1968.
"You're very fearful that our government will make the same mistake, that instead of going in to win the war, we'll go in as a police action and lose a lot of men," Rex said. "If we're going to fire one shot, it should be called a war. I don't think we can be the policemen for the world."
Norm McDonald, Provo, was a member of the "Vietnam Veterans against the War," but today he supports taking military action in the Persian Gulf.
His support springs mostly from this difference between the two events: members of the military troops massing in the Persian Gulf voluntarily entered the services; those who fought in Vietnam were largely drafted.
McDonald will tell you that makes a huge difference. He should know.
During the Vietnam conflict, McDonald was drafted as a member of the First Air Calvary. Today, his 17-year-old son is a volunteer member of the National Guard engineering unit in Springville. His wife serves full time in the same unit.
"She thinks sooner or later they'll get called up," McDonald said.
Another difference between Vietnam and the Persian Gulf cited by McDonald: The reaction U.S. troops will get if and when they storm Kuwait.
"We know what the Kuwaitees will act like," McDonald said. "They are going to love it. They want us to invade . . . When we went to Vietnam, in rural areas in particular, I don't think there was anyone that was pro-American."
And, if war breaks out, McDonald hopes there will be another difference between the Persian Gulf and Vietnam - a difference that has to do with the reception he got in 1971 when he returned from Vietnam.
He was spit on.
"One thing I will not do is allow anyone to blame what goes on in the war on the soldiers that are there," McDonald said. "That is not right and I'm going to fight it tooth and nail."