Document Analysis # 4: Competing Visions: Who was Responsible for the My Lai Massacre?
On March 16, 1968 the massacre of My Lai took place when 75 troops marched into the village of My Lai and killed over 500 civilians. This unfortunate blemish on America is still being debated today, unsure of where to place the blame. Do they place it with Lt. William Calley for giving the command to his troops, or to Lt. Calley’s commanding officers who from which Calley was just acting out orders, or to the American people for there continued protest of the war.
I feel Calley is to blame since it was his responsibility to protect the civilians in My Lai from the Vietcong not be the one in which the villagers were scared by. Once he realized that the Vietcong had retreated back in to the mountains, he should have also left the villagers alone to go about there daily lives. Another reason why Calley is to blame is the evidence given in our history textbook on page 800 In Competing Vision Given by Dennis Conti to Army investigators. Stating that Calley said to him and to Private Paul Meadlo, “Take care if them”…. “I mean kill them” . While Calley tried to clam his innocents by trying to place the blame on his superior officers he, “testified that he was ordered by Captain Ernest Medina to kill everyone in the village of My Lai” (www.pbs.com/Americanexperience). There was only enough evidence to convict him. The events of the days before the massacre helped to fuel the bad judgment made by Lt. Calley, but does not excuse it When it comes down to it though the events of My Lai should not have been a part of history that is still debated over today, since it should never have taken place.
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