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WAR: American-style … My Lai occured 50 years ago


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« on: March 17, 2018, 01:29:43 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

A forgotten hero stopped the My Lai massacre 50 years ago today

By JON WIENER | 4:05AM PDT — Friday, March 16, 2018

Army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson speaks with reporters at the Pentagon on December 4, 1969, after testifying about the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam. — Photograph: Associated Press.
Army helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson speaks with reporters at the Pentagon on December 4, 1969, after testifying about the My Lai massacre
in South Vietnam. — Photograph: Associated Press.


EVERYBODY'S HEARD OF the My Lai massacre — March 16, 1968, 50 years ago today — but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians (that's the Vietnamese count; the U.S. Army said 347). They were going to kill more, but they didn't — because of what Thompson did.

I met Thompson in 2000 and interviewed him for my radio program on KPFK in Los Angeles. He told the story of what happened that day, when he and his two-man crew flew over My Lai, in support of troops who were looking for Viet Cong fighters.

“We started noticing these large numbers of bodies everywhere,” he told me, “people on the road dead, wounded. And just sitting there saying, ‘God, how'd this happen? What's going on?’ And we started thinking what might have happened, but you didn't want to accept that thought — because if you accepted it, that means your own fellow Americans, people you were there to protect, were doing something very evil.”

Who were the people lying in the roads and in the ditch, wounded and killed?

“They were not combatants. They were old women, old men, children, kids, babies.”

Then Thompson and his crew chief, Glenn Andreotta, and his gunner, Lawrence Colburn, “saw some civilians hiding in a bunker, cowering, looking out the door. Saw some advancing Americans coming that way. I just figured it was time to do something, to not let these people get killed. Landed the aircraft in between the Americans and the Vietnamese, told my crew chief and gunner to cover me, got out of the aircraft, went over to the American side.”

What happened next was one of the most remarkable events of the entire war, and perhaps unique: Thompson told the American troops that, if they opened fire on the Vietnamese civilians in the bunker, he and his crew would open fire on them.

“You risked your lives,” I said, “to protect those Vietnamese civilians.”

“Well, it didn't come to that,” he replied. “I thank God to this day that everybody did stay cool and nobody opened up…. It was time to stop it, and I figured, at that point, that was the only way the madness, or whatever you want to call it, could be stopped.”


U.S. soldiers killed 504 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai, including 200 under the age of 12. — Photograph: Ronald L. Haeberle/Associated Press.
U.S. soldiers killed 504 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai, including 200 under the age of 12. — Photograph: Ronald L. Haeberle/Associated Press.

Back at their base he filed a complaint about the killing of civilians that he had witnessed. The Army covered it up. But eventually the journalist Seymour Hersh found out about the massacre, and his report made it worldwide news and a turning point in the war. Afterwards Thompson testified at the trial of Leutenant William Calley, the commanding officer during the massacre.

Then came the backlash. Calley had many supporters, who condemned and harassed Thompson. He didn't have much support — for decades. It took the Army 30 years, but in 1998, they finally acknowledged that Thompson had done something good. They awarded him the Soldier's Medal for “heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.”

On the 30th anniversary of the massacre, Thompson went back to My Lai and met some of the people whose lives he had saved. “There were real good highs,” he told me, “and very low lows. One of the ladies that we had helped out that day came up to me and asked, ‘Why didn't the people who committed these acts come back with you?’ And I was just devastated. And then she finished her sentence: she said, ‘So we could forgive them’. I'm not man enough to do that. I'm sorry. I wish I was, but I won't lie to anybody. I'm not that much of a man.”

And what were the highs?

“I always questioned, in my mind, did anybody know we all aren't like that? Did they know that somebody tried to help? And yes, they did know that. That aspect of it made me feel real good.”

Today there's a little museum in My Lai, where Thompson is honored, and which displays a list of the names and ages of people killed that day. Trent Angers, Thompson's biographer and friend, analyzed the list and found about 50 there who were 3 years old or younger. He found 69 between the ages of 4 and 7, and 91 between the ages of 8 and 12.

Nick Turse investigated violence in Vietnam against non-combatants for his book Kill Anything that Moves. He concluded — after a decade of research in Pentagon archives and more than 100 interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors — that Americans killing civilians in Vietnam was “pervasive and systematic.” One soldier told him there had been “a My Lai a month.”

We know that Americans committed a massacre 50 years ago today; and we also know that an American stopped it. Hugh Thompson died in 2006, when he was only 62. I wish we could have done more to thank him.


__________________________________________________________________________

Jon Wiener is professor emeritus of history at UC Irvine, and working, with Mike Davis, on a book on Los Angeles in the 1960s.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wiener-my-lai-hugh-thompson-20180316-story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 03:38:59 pm »


from The New York Times....

The Truth Behind My Lai

Fifty years ago today, U.S. troops slaughtered some 500 Vietnamese civilians in a small coastal village.
Why was only one man punished?


By CHRISTOPHER J. LEVESQUE | Friday, March 16, 2018

Vietnamese villagers killed by American soldiers during the My Lai massacre in 1968. — Photograph: Ronald S. Haeberle/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images.
Vietnamese villagers killed by American soldiers during the My Lai massacre in 1968. — Photograph: Ronald S. Haeberle/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images.

ON March 16, 1968, Captain Ernest Medina led his infantry company in an assault on the village of Son My, along the central coast of South Vietnam, as part of a mission to find and destroy a battalion of the National Liberation Front, also known as the Vietcong. One of the hamlets within the village was called My Lai.

Operating under the assumption that villagers of My Lai would be away at the market, Captain Medina planned an aggressive sweep through the area, ordering his men to destroy everything and to kill anyone who resisted. By the end of the day American forces had killed 347 to 504 unarmed Vietnamese women, children and old men, and raped 20 women and girls, some as young as 10 years old.

The massacre at My Lai was not the only time American troops committed war crimes against Vietnamese civilians, but it was the single worst instance; its severity, its cover-up and the eventual trial of just a handful of the unit's leaders became a synonym for the entire American war in Vietnam. But while even today the massacre is often portrayed as having been perpetrated by a unit of misfits, the cause was a failure in leadership, from the commander of Captain Medina's division, Major General Samuel W. Koster, to the platoon leader most closely associated with the killings, Second Lieutenant William Calley.

The disaster at My Lai began even before Captain Medina's company arrived on the morning of March 16. The unit — Charlie Company, First Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment — had arrived in Vietnam in 1967. While still in Hawaii, it received high marks for preparedness and training.

But the unit had been hastily thrown together, and many of its experienced officers and non-commissioned officers, who had already served in-country, had to be transferred out of the unit as it prepared to deploy because Army regulations prevented them from returning to combat so quickly.

The result was that privates first class and specialists fourth class — untested, lower-ranking enlistees — were suddenly thrust into leadership roles. Captain Medina later testified that these transfers cost the company 70 percent of its strength.

Statistically, Charlie Company was slightly above average among the infantry companies serving in Southeast Asia during the war. Eighty-seven percent of the remaining non-commissioned officers had graduated from high school, a rate 20 percent higher than the average for line infantry companies. Seventy percent of the men in lower enlisted ranks had graduated from high school, also slightly above the average for soldiers serving in Vietnam.

The unit was mixed demographically, with half of its troops being African-American, and the men came from geographically diverse hometowns. Other than the inexperienced men in key leadership roles, and the company's experiences in the months before My Lai, there is little to explain why this particular group of soldiers committed the most horrific set of war crimes by American troops during the entire conflict.

Soon after its deployment in Vietnam, Charlie Company began to take heavy casualties from booby traps and snipers. Lieutenant Calley grew to hate and fear the local Vietnamese after losing his radio telephone operator, William Weber, to a sniper's bullet while carelessly leading his men along the top of a dike between rice paddies to keep them out of the water. After that, all Vietnamese became synonymous with Vietcong guerrillas for Lieutenant Calley, and soon the rest of the company adopted his harsh attitudes.

Captain Medina and his officers tolerated Charlie Company's abuse of Vietnamese civilians in the weeks before the massacre. After Private First Class Herbert Carter knocked an unarmed farmer into a well, Lieutenant Calley shot the defenseless man. Captain Medina allowed his troops to use prisoners as human mine detectors and personally beat captives during interrogations.

Rape became such an endemic problem in Charlie Company that one member of its Second Platoon, Michael Bernhardt, assumed that every woman Lieutenant Calley's platoon came across would be raped within moments. After a booby trap killed Sergeant George Cox, surviving soldiers stole a radio from a local woman and kicked her to death when she protested.

Sergeant Cox's death set the stage for the My Lai massacre. On March 15, the company held a memorial service at which Captain Medina reminded the company of their casualties. The company had lost half of its strength in just two months. Lieutenant Calley's First Platoon was down to 27 of its original 45 men.

Captain Medina argued that Charlie Company could not afford more casualties, so they needed to pull together and be aggressive in their pursuit of the enemy. Soon after the funeral Captain Medina briefed the company about its next mission: an assault into My Lai to destroy the remnants of one of the Vietcong's most lethal units,the 48th Local Force Battalion.

The briefing for the assault on My Lai led many of Captain Medina's subordinates to believe that their mission was to kill everyone in the hamlet, to shoot the livestock, to destroy the wells and to level the buildings, because everyone living in My Lai was either a member of the Vietcong or a Vietcong sympathizer.

Captain Medina told his troops that this was their chance to avenge their fallen comrades. One private, Dennis Bunning, later claimed that Captain Medina ordered them to kill everyone; their intelligence briefing claimed that all My Lai's women and children would be at the market that morning. Another, James Bergthold, summed up the general response to the briefing: “Although Captain Medina didn't say to kill everyone in the village, I heard guys talking and they were of the opinion that everyone in the village was to be killed.”

The massacre began as an ordinary search-and-destroy mission preceded by an artillery barrage aimed at the rice paddies northwest of the village. The 105-millimeter shells were supposed to land 400 meters away from My Lai, but some of the rounds fell near houses. The artillery was intended to harass Vietcong; but there were no Vietcong in My Lai, not any more at least, so it merely damaged houses and dikes and forced residents to hide in bunkers.

Lieutenant Calley's platoon, and part of second platoon, led by Second Lieutenant Stephen Brooks, landed at My Lai with the first wave of helicopters and secured the landing zone. While they did not receive any enemy fire, the constant stream of machine gun and rocket fire that helicopter gunships sprayed at the nearest huts gave them the impression that they were under attack. Lieutenant Calley and Lieutenant Brooks led their men into the village after a second wave of helicopters brought the rest of the company.

Moving into My Lai the platoons broke up into smaller groups of soldiers that their officers could not observe. Two privates, Dennis Conti and Paul Meadlo, kept the people they encountered under guard until an officer could evaluate them. When Lieutenant Calley found them, he ordered Private Conti and Private Meadlo to “take care of them” and left.

Under pressure from Captain Medina to quickly move his men through My Lai, Lieutenant Calley returned a few minutes later, and asked why they had not taken care of the villagers. Private Meadlo responded that they were following his orders, and Lieutenant Calley responded that he wanted the villagers killed. Pushing the soldiers into a firing line, Lieutenant Calley ordered them to shoot the villagers.

Private Meadlo obeyed Lieutenant Calley while Private Conti watched the tree line for danger. After firing three magazines of ammunition, Private Meadlo broke down in tears, telling Private Conti: “If they are going to be killed, I'm not doing it. Let him do it.”

Continuing into My Lai, Lieutenant Calley, along with Private Conti, Private Meadlo and Specialist Ronald Grzesik, arrived at a drainage ditch where other members of the company guarded 50 more villagers, including women, small children and a Buddhist monk. When the monk could not tell Lieutenant Calley where the Vietcong had gone, he pushed him into the ditch and shot him. After additional soldiers brought more Vietnamese to the ditch, Lieutenant Calley ordered his men to shoot them.

The massacre finally ended when a flight crew led by Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson intervened. Angered by the murders he observed from his scout helicopter, he landed when he saw soldiers moving toward a group of villagers hiding in a bunker. As he left the helicopter, Mr. Thompson told the door gunner, Lawrence Colburn, to cover him, and to fire on Charlie Company if they begin killing the Vietnamese at the bunker.

After confronting Lieutenant Calley, who told him that it was none of his business, Mr. Thompson persuaded the pilots of other helicopters overhead to land and evacuate the civilians. His radio calls eventually caught the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker, who ordered Captain Medina to stop the killing.

Leadership failures continued after the shooting stopped. When Hugh Thompson reported the large number of civilian deaths that occurred at My Lai, his commander, Maj. Fred Watke, discounted the report in the belief the pilot did not have the experience to tell how the Vietnamese had died. When he took the allegations to the assistant division commander, Brigadier General George Young, Major Watke said that only 25 non-combatants had died and focused on the encounter between Mr. Thompson and Lieutenant Calley. This report allowed Colonel Barker to later claim that there was no evidence to support Mr. Thompson's reports, and that the civilians had died in a crossfire.

Captain Medina began the cover-up by falsely claiming that the village had indeed been full of Vietcong when the assault began, but that they had all fled, so that all that remained were women and children. When questioned about the disparity between the high body count and low number of captured weapons — Charlie Company found only three old M1 Garand rifles — Captain Medina lied to the division’s commander, General Koster, that artillery killed 20 to 28 civilians.

His false report to General Koster began the core of the cover-up that Lieutenant Colonel Barker and the brigade commander, Lieutenant Colonel Oran Henderson, initiated to hide the massacre.

The ambitions of the senior officers in the 23rd Infantry Division helped create the environment in which the massacre unfolded and was hidden from scrutiny. General Koster viewed his command as a temporary stop on his way to higher rank — commanding a division in combat was another box to check. The division public affairs officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Anistranski, remembered General Koster being furious over the results of My Lai because the official body count of 128 Vietcong killed, but only three weapons recovered, reflected poorly on his leadership.

While General Koster rarely interacted with his subordinates, he regularly reminded them to follow the rules of engagement, and that he equated the number of weapons recovered with the number of enemy killed. Although he told men that they could not simply shoot up a village to increase body counts, General Koster did not insist on an accurate account of the deaths at My Lai.

When the assistant division commander, George Young, informed General Koster of Hugh Thompson's allegations that Captain Medina's men had murdered civilians at My Lai, both focused on the pilot's confrontation with Lieutenant Calley. Focusing on the argument between Mr. Thompson and Lieutenant Calley, General Young and General Koster skirted directives from the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam that accusations of war crimes be forwarded to the staff judge advocate in Saigon.

Career aspirations also motivated Lieutenant Colonel Barker, who had never had a combat command. Understanding that a battalion command was necessary for promotion to full colonel, he saw the current operation, of which the assault on My Lai was just one part, as the next best thing. Wanting to score successes against the Vietcong, he urged Charlie Company to be very aggressive during the assault on My Lai, later acknowledging that his exhortations likely contributed to the misconception that Captain Medina's men should kill everyone in the village.

While emphasizing aggressiveness and the liveliness of heavy combat during the assault, both Lieutenant Colonel Barker and Captain Medina failed to provide instructions for how to handle non-combatants. When assigned to investigate the actions of his own men, Lieutenant Colonel Barker wrote a superficial report that cleared Charlie Company of wrongdoing.

The events at My Lai became public a year later. Several officers were brought to trial in 1971, but only Lieutenant Calley was convicted. He was released from prison in 1974.


__________________________________________________________________________

Christopher J. Levesque is a faculty member at Pensacola State College.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/opinion/the-truth-behind-my-lai.html
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 03:43:36 pm »


from The Washington Post....

‘It was insanity’: At My Lai, U.S. soldiers slaughtered
hundreds of Vietnamese women and kids


Fifty years ago on March 16, 1968, 100 U.S. soldiers committed
one of the worst atrocities in American military history.


By IAN SHAPIRA | 7:00AM EDT — Friday, March 16, 2018

American soldiers burned numerous homes during the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, in My Lai, South Vietnam. — Photograph: Ronald S. Haeberle/Time Life/Getty Images.
American soldiers burned numerous homes during the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, in My Lai, South Vietnam.
 — Photograph: Ronald S. Haeberle/Time Life/Getty Images.


EARLY MORNING on March 16th, 1968, helicopters carrying U.S. soldiers flew into a tiny village on the eastern side of South Vietnam, bordering the South China Sea. They'd arrived by a series of hamlets, known as My Lai, expecting to find a booby-trapped stronghold of their enemy, the Viet Cong. Instead, all they saw were non-combatants: women, children, elderly men. Many of them were preparing for breakfast.

The Americans, about 100 soldiers from the Army's Americal division, proceeded to massacre them. Over the next several hours, the civilians in My Lai (pronounced “Me Lie”) and an adjacent settlement were shot and thrown in ditches. The body count: 504 people from more than 240 families. Some women were raped. Huts and homes were burned. Even the livestock was destroyed.

It was one of the worst American military crimes in history and still pierces the collective conscience of Vietnam War veterans. On Friday, an organization called the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee is scheduled to hold a vigil in Lafayette Square across from the White House to acknowledge the American war crimes at My Lai.

Right after the attack, the soldiers — who had been told by their superiors the night before that everyone they'd see would be a Viet Cong guerrilla or sympathizer — kept quiet about what they'd done. For more than a year and a half, the public wouldn’t know about the atrocity. Top military officials initially tried to keep a lid on the killings and commanders even touted the mission to the press as a tactical feat. A United Press International wire service account published in newspapers on March 16th reported that U.S. infantrymen “tangled with Communist forces threatening the northern city of Quang Ngai on Saturday and U.S. spokesmen reported 128 guerrillas slain in the bitter fighting.” But a few paragraphs later, the article, unwittingly, contained an ominous foreshadowing: “Details of the fighting near Quang Ngai were sketchy.”

Soon, a government whistleblower and a promising journalist would expose the atrocity. In early 1969, Ronald Ridenhour, a veteran from Arizona, wrote a letter to the White House, Pentagon, State Department and numerous members of Congress, revealing his conversations with soldiers who participated or saw the attack. Ridenhour's letter included details that made the allegations credible and worthy of investigation, including map coordinates of My Lai, witness names and the identities of the perpetrators, according to a congressional probe.

Ridenhour's letters sparked a military investigation. By early September 1969, First Lieutenant William Laws Calley Jr., a 26-year-old college dropout from Miami who'd served as a platoon leader in the attack, was charged with the premeditated murder of 109 civilians. But the military only released the fact that Calley had been accused of murdering an unspecified number of people. Without knowing the magnitude of his crimes, The New York Times, for instance, only ran a four-paragraph Associated Press article on his arrest, running it on page 14. The press information officer “declined to give details of the case other than to say that the incident occurred in March, 1968, in Vietnam, and that the charge involves the deaths of more than one civilian,” according to the article.


The military tried to cover up the My Lai Massacre, even when it charged First Lieutenant William L. Calley with murdering 109 civilians. Above is a four-paragraph Associated Press story on Calley's arrest that appeared in The New York Times on September 7th, 1969.
The military tried to cover up the My Lai Massacre, even when it charged First Lieutenant William L. Calley
with murdering 109 civilians. Above is a four-paragraph Associated Press story on Calley's arrest that
appeared in The New York Times on September 7th, 1969.


Shortly after Calley had been charged, Seymour Hersh, a freelance reporter and former news aide to anti-war presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, learned about My Lai from a lawyer opposed to the war. But he only got vague outlines. He started sniffing around. Eventually, he approached a Pentagon source. As he recalled in a New Yorker piece three years ago, the official slapped his hand against his knee, and said, “That boy Calley didn't shoot anyone higher than this.”

Now Hersh had what he needed to crack the story wide open. Eventually, he found that tiny New York Times article noting Calley's full name and arrest. Then he visited Calley at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was being held. Incredibly, the Army allowed Hersh to read and takes note from Calley's classified charging sheet — the document that showed Calley had been accused of killing 109 people. Even more incredible was that when Hersh completed his exposé and took it to Life and Look magazines, the editors rejected him. So Hersh took his story to the Dispatch News Service, which he described to the New Yorker as “a small anti-war news agency” in Washington. The story broke on the wires on November 12th, 1969, and appeared in newspapers the next day.


Seymour Hersh, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories about the My Lai Massacre, in 1982. — Photograph: James A. Parcell/The Washington Post.
Seymour Hersh, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories about the My Lai Massacre, in 1982.
 — Photograph: James A. Parcell/The Washington Post.


With a dateline from Fort Benning, Georgia, Hersh began his story this way:

Quote
Lieutenant William L. Calley Jr., 26 years old, is a mild-mannered, boyish-looking Vietnam combat veteran with the nickname “Rusty.” The Army is completing an investigation of charges that he deliberately murdered at least 109 Vietnamese civilians in a search-and-destroy mission in March 1968 in a Viet Cong stronghold known as “Pinkville.”

Calley told Hersh he was merely following orders. His attorney, George W. Latimer, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, ridiculed the accusations against his client. “This is one case that should never have been brought,” Latimer said. “Whatever killing there was in a firefight in connection with the operation. You can't afford to guess whether a civilian is a Viet Cong or not. Either they shoot you or you shoot them.”

Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre story in November 1969 for a little-known media outlet called the Dispatch News Service. Above is the front page portion of his article that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre story in November 1969 for a little-known media outlet called the
Dispatch News Service. Above is the front page portion of his article that ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Deep into the scoop, Hersh, who would win a Pulitzer Prize, wrote that Calley, only 5-foot-3, “seems slightly bewildered and hurt by the charges against him. He says he wants nothing more than to be cleared and return to the Army.” He also told Hersh: “I know this sounds funny, but I like the Army … and I don't want to do anything to hurt it.”

Hersh's article prompted front page stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times, and contributed to the swelling anger against President Nixon, who was less than a year into his first term and had earlier that month pleaded for nationwide solidarity to support the war in his famous “Silent Majority” speech. Coincidentally, two days after the publication of Hersh's story, at least a quarter of a million people gathered by the Washington Monument to demand an end to the Vietnam War. “It surpassed in size the civil rights March on Washington in 1964 and was easily the largest — and was perhaps the youngest — anti-war crowd ever assembled in the United States,” The Post noted.

The massacre at My Lai, meanwhile, continued to make news. In early 1970, charges of trying to cover up the slaughter were brought against Major General Samuel W. Koster, who'd served as the commanding general over the My Lai troops but was now the superintendent at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The news shocked the country. Numerous other officers were charged with concealing the killings, but the accusations against them — and Koster — were eventually dismissed. One brigade commander stood trial on coverup allegations, but was acquitted.

Calley was the only officer convicted of playing a direct role in the massacre. According to Hersh's account, eleven other men were charged with murder, maiming or assault with the intent to commit murder, but their cases either fizzled out before trial or they were acquitted.

During his trial in early 1971, Calley argued that he was merely following orders — echoing the same lines of the Nazis during the Nuremberg trials. But an Army jury of six men, five of whom served in combat, rejected that defense. On March 29th, 1971, Calley was found guilty of the premeditated murder of at least 22 Vietnamese civilians. He was sentenced to life in prison, but Nixon intervened and ordered that he serve under house arrest in a reduced sentence.


Lieutenant William Calley was the only American convicted of his role in the massacre of more than 500 innocent Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai during the Vietnam War.
Lieutenant William Calley was the only American convicted of his role in the massacre of more than 500 innocent Vietnamese civilians
in the village of My Lai during the Vietnam War.


But Hersh was not done chronicling these crimes. In early 1972, Hersh compiled all of his research and wrote a mammoth two-part series for the New Yorker on the military's investigation into My Lai. One soldier, Terry Reid of Milwaukee, described to Hersh what he'd seen when the onslaught erupted.

Quote
As soon as they started opening up, it hit me that it was insanity. I walked to the rear. Pandemonium broke loose. It sounded insane — machine guns, grenades. One of the guys walked back, and I remember him saying, “We got sixty women, kids, and some old men.”

Hersh also reported that more than 40 soldiers who spoke to him or government investigators recalled hearing, in advance of the operation, “a specific order to kill civilians.” He quoted one soldier, Larry G. Holmes, who said: “We had three hamlets that we had to search and destroy. They told us they … had dropped leaflets and stuff and everybody was supposed to be gone. Nobody was supposed to be there. If anybody is there, shoot them.”

Calley was not done with My Lai, either. He kept appealing his conviction and ultimately took his case into the civilian court system. By November 1974, three months after Nixon resigned, a federal-district court judge ordered Calley's release, having ruled earlier that the enormous publicity surrounding his case prevented a fair trial. Finally freed, Calley went on to work for his father-in-law's jewelry store in Columbus, Georgia, and, according to Hersh, spent the following years, “offering self-serving interviews to journalists willing to pay for them.”

In August 2009, at a local Kiwanis club near the military base in Georgia where he'd been court-martialed, Calley finally delivered his first public apology. A Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reporter chronicled the dramatic moment.

“There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai,” Calley told the Kiwanis members. “I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.”

But, during a short question-and-answer session, he also couldn't resist rationalizing what he'd done, either.

“If you are asking why I did not stand up to them when I was given the orders,” Calley said, “I will have to say that I was a second lieutenant getting orders from my commander and I followed them — foolishly, I guess.”


__________________________________________________________________________

• Ian Shapira joined The Washington Post right after graduating from Princeton University in 2000. He started off as a Style reporter and then quickly joined the Metro section, where he spent nine years covering Washington's far-flung suburbs. In 2008, he was a member of the Washington Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for the newspaper's coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. In 2011, he earned his master's degree in digital journalism from American University. In 2012, his reporting on a Renoir painting scheduled for a public auction led to the piece's FBI seizure and revelation that it had been stolen decades before. Now, he enjoys writing about the CIA — its history and the people who have worked there and their families.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/03/16/it-was-insanity-at-my-lai-u-s-soldiers-slaughtered-hundreds-of-vietnamese-women-and-kids
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 03:44:40 pm »


Yep....Americans are “murdering scum” alright!!
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