My Lai Massacre

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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 the Dispatch News Service-a news agency no one had heard of before. On November 11, six months after government officials knew about it, Hersh was tipped off by a Pentagon source. Once he found out, he flew to Fort Benning, Georgia and began his search for Lieutenant William Calley. Hours later he managed to find Calley and they proceeded to talk for the next four hours. Although that article (if it was ever published) was not found, there is another article from a GI that was under Lieutenant Calley's command.

On Tuesday, November 25, 1969, Hersh's second article came out about the massacre, "Ex-GI: I Killed Dozens at Pinkville ". This GI's name was Paul Meadlo and he gave the first direct eyewitness account of what happened on the search-and-destroy mission. Meadlo followed Calley's orders while the others who had been assigned to watch the civilians wouldn't do it. Feelings of rage overcame him as he started to mutilate these civilians, "[the shooting] did take a load off my conscience for the buddies we had lost. It was just revenge, that's all ". By the time of the Pinkville incident, the platoon had been there a little over a month without relief and feelings of hostility were running high since many of Calley's men had been lost due to the land mines. Meadlo and Calley continued on their rampage killing over one hundred civilians. Afterwards, Meadlo started feeling regret and wondered if he should have defied Calley's orders, "The kids and the women--they didn't have any right to die ".

Meadlo was advised by an officer to keep all information linked with Pinkville under wraps. Obviously, that did not happen. The very day after Meadlo gave his testimony to Hersh, James McCartney, a member of the Associated Press, unleashed the letter that began the search for answers about the massacre. Rob Ridenhour, an Army veteran (although he was not in Lieutenant Calley's platoon), wrote a letter to several members in Congress, telling them about...
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