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The 50-Year Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre

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Duty to Warn

 Gary G. Kohls, MD – March 16, 2018

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“International war crimes such as My Lai, Nagasaki, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib will somehow be avenged, but our current leaders, both political and religious, seem incapable of comprehending that”

 

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How Can Professed Christians Defend Wartime Atrocities?

50 years ago today, on March 16,1968, a company of green, battle-untested US Army combat soldiers from the Americal Division, swept into the undefended Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai, rounded up the 500+ unarmed women, children, babies and old men, and efficiently executed almost all of them in cold blood, Nazi-style. No weapons or Viet Cong soldiers were found in the village. The entire killing operation took only 4 hours.

Although there was a prolonged attempt to cover-up the operation (which involved a young up-and-coming US Army Major named Colin Powell), those who participated in the massacre did not deny the details of the slaughter when the case came to trial two years later. Despite the cover-up, the story did eventually filter back to the Western news media, thanks to a some courageous military eye-witnesses whose consciences were still intact. An Army court-marital trial eventually convened against a handful of the soldiers, including Lt. William Calley and Company C commanding officer, Ernest Medina.

According to many of the soldiers, Medina had ordered the killing of “every living thing in My Lai”, which was interpreted, of course, to mean all the civilians as well as their farm animals. Calley was charged with the murder of 109 civilians. And convicted of murdering 20. In his defense statement he stated that he had been taught to hate all Vietnamese, even children, who, he had been told, “were very good at planting mines”.

The end-result of the My Lai raid, which was part of a larger mission called Task Force Barker, had been recorded by military photographers, and eventually the Army had to abandon its cover-up. The military tribunals were conducted in censored military courts with juries of Army officers who had no legal credentials to try war crimes, which is still standard operating procedure in the US Army.

All the charges against the soldiers involved were dropped, except for Calley’s murder charges. Medina and all the other shooters of the 500 dead Vietnamese went free. Out of the initial 109 murder charges, Calley was convicted of the murders of “at least 20 civilians”, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his crime. However, under pressure from thousands of very vocal, very patriotic, and very pro-war Americans, President Nixon pardoned him within weeks of the verdict. More

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