My Lai Massacre

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My Lai Massacre

By | October 2005
Page 1 of 5
My Lai Massacre
In March of 1968 Lieutenant William Calley entered an area termed "Pinkville" by army officials because "it was particularly troublesome and seemed to be infested with booby traps and enemy soldiers ". After penetrating the area, Calley commenced to round up every person he could see, civilian or not, and unload his machine gun on them. Then Calley ordered his platoon to do the same, no one was spared, women were raped and children were shot. Some men followed Calley's orders, others stood back watched, and one man even shot himself in the foot so he would have to be medivaced out of the area to avoid the situation altogether. Once the incidence was brought to the attention of Army officials, they ordered a "life or death court-martial for 1st Lieutenant William L. Calley Jr. on charges of murdering 109 South Vietnamese civilians ".

It is a fact of war that people will be killed in the crossfire, especially uniformed enemies, but it is the custom of the United States to spare the lives of the innocent. Calley did not adhere to this custom by going on a wild killing spree. As everyone knows, Vietnam was the most controversial war the United States has ever entered and people at home did not support the decision or the soldiers at war. The soldiers in Vietnam knew that they were being protested against at home and were filled with contempt because they were fighting for the United States and putting their lives at risk for people who did not appreciate them. Between the feelings of contempt for the people at home, the soldiers were also seeking revenge on the enemies who had killed so many of their friends. The My Lai massacre and the feelings of contempt and rage that these soldiers had could be directly correlated, because none of these soldiers would have done something of this atrocity in their right mind.

Breaking the story to the public was Seymour Hersh, a former Pentagon reporter for the Associated Press, who then began work for...