Monday, March 17, 2008

Forty years of My Lai

Forty years ago, American soldiers went on a rampage and killed the women, children, and elders of the Vietnamese village of My Lai. The usual "few bad apples" were convicted of the massacre, despite orders from the top to kill everybody found in a "free-fire zone".

Today, forty years afterwards, few Americans remember the My Lai massacre. The neo-cons never believed it happened then, and still don't today. But the Vietnamese remember. And so does most of the rest of the world (note that none of my links are from U.S. based publications). They remember that America's claims of moral superiority are just that -- claims, with no basis in fact. When American soldiers go into battle they are no better -- or worse -- than any other soldiers sent to war.

War is inherently a dehumanizing activity, and the act of killing people does nasty things to people's minds. My Lai's occur whenever soldiers are sent to war. As someone who knew a little bit about war put it, "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it ... You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable ...". Whenever soldiers go to war, there will be rapes. There will be brutality. There will be, in short, what always happens when you take young men and remove all social inhibitions from them, all taboos about that most taboo subject of all, the taking of human life, then place them into an abnormal environment where they are expected to kill or be killed. Far from being some romantic adventure as the Moron in Chief put it, war is Hell. No more, no less. Remember that, next time some moron tells you we have to go to war because, well, because.

-- Badtux the War Penguin


  1. It's just a bunch of monkeys fucking around.

  2. Badtux, I've been a lurker for awhile, however, time to delurk to congratulate you on this piece. I remember My Lai - Calley, Westmoreland, Riddenhour, Johnson etc etc.
    I won't be alive in forty years, but I believe that the cycle will continue, and at that time, people will be remembering atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Don't we ever learn?
    Thank you for this posting.
    HT, a fan.


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