LOS ANGELES -- More than three decades after the war in Vietnam, a Marine named Robert Lucius had a moment of reckoning on the road to Lai Chau.
A naval attache at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, he was bound for a rural clinic with a donation of medical equipment.
When his car was passed by a motorbike with a wicker basket full of dogs, he locked eyes with one of them. "There was an immediate sense of connection," he said.
"You could see the fear, the dread, the helplessness."
A vision raced through his mind: Liberate the dogs. Have his driver overtake the bike and dig into his wallet -- anything to keep them from being served up in restaurants down the road.
Lucius, now 42, did nothing. He didn't, he said, want to be seen as a "cultural imperialist" bent on changing a local custom merely because it offended him. But later that day, after a celebratory meal with Vietnamese colleagues, he saw a dog skinned and splayed out on a restaurant kitchen floor.