My Lai Response Paper
August 7, 2012
In 1968 on March 16 American soldiers invaded the village of My Lai and murder over 500 hundred innocent civilians including elderly men women and children. These murders have been going on all throughout Vietnam so it was an example of continuity. The only person who seems to know that this is wrong is a helicopter pilot named Hugh Thompson. He orders the American troops to cease their fire or he will shoot them. Pictures of the massacre lead the U.S. Army to do an investigation which charges over twenty men of wrongdoing. William Calley is charged with premeditated murder and is sentenced to life in prison. But because of the public outcry of the country this is overturned by President Nixon and Calley is released and no one else is charged. On March 16, 1968 American soldiers invaded the village of My Lai which is located Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam. By this time many of the men in Charlie Company had died and the soldiers were still alive couldn’t directly confront the enemy and this angered them. The men were told by Captain Medina that they were going to have a chance to face the enemy the Viet Cong; he told them that all the people in the village were Viet Cong that there were no civilians. By the end of the day the soldiers had shot and killed over 500 innocent civilians. For almost 16 months the public was unaware of what had happened in My Lai until reporter Seymour Hersh told the story to Time Magazine based on information from Ron Ridenhour a former member of Charlie Company. The U.S. army started an investigation and eventually charged twenty men of war crimes and William Calley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. But because of the huge public outrage President Nixon overturned this and Calley was released having only served four months in military prison.
What happened in My Lai on March 16, 1968 was not the first time that American soldiers had...