Richie grows increasingly doubtful about whether American assistance helps the Vietnamese villages, as he sees that the Communist Vietcong retaliate against any villages that receive American aid. Any good that the Americans might do, it seems, leads only to greater evils. As much as they try, the American soldiers cannot protect the South Vietnamese people, and the soldiers’ presence only puts the village in greater danger. Richie is no longer able to believe that he is fighting for any clear moral reasons, and he struggles to find meaning for his stay in Vietnam. He finally decides that his only purpose in Vietnam is to stay alive and to help his friends do the same.