My Lai Essay, Research Paper
THE MY LAI MASSACRE
Boys will be boys. A commonly use quote. So what happens when a group of young men, who have just seen their best friend killed, goes on a search and destroy mission to face a village full of strangers from a distant land? You get the My Lai massacre. The whole village was wiped out by the US Eleventh Light Infantry Brigade. One hundred fifty Soldiers took out five hundred unarmed civilians; women, children, and old men were dead and the cover up began. The My Lai Massacre had a tremendous impact on our country and continues to effect us today in the 21st century.
The Vietnam War was a war that lasted from 1964-1973. The Vietnam War wasn t really a war; the United States never declared war on North Vietnam. The war was between communist North Vietnam and South Vietnam. This was the longest and most unpopular war that the United States has gone through. The Nation was divided into two, he ones for war and the ones who opposed. The financial cost of the war was over $150 billion not including the cost of fifty-eight thousand American lives. On March 16, 1968, Captain Ernest Medina ordered Charlie Company, a unit of the US Eleventh Light Infantry Brigade, into combat (Wallechinsky 1). The 150 soldiers led by LT. William Calley, combed the city of My Lai because it was a hot zone where there were supposedly Viet Congs. Four hours later more than 500 unarmed civilians, including women and children, died. They were forced into ditches and were shot. They had only confiscated three weapons from the Vietnamese. The only American causality was a soldier who shot himself in the foot (Wallenchinsky 1). This lead to the cover up of the massacre and also the trial of the soldiers.
After the Massacre there was the credibility of US Soldiers including the sergeant. Who could we believe if we couldn t even believe our own government officials? That led to why we were really there in the first place. Many students protested in college to end the war so no more American lives would be lost. The incident was highly televised and was in the newspaper all around the country (Hersh 60). So when many came back to the US they were called baby killers because how would the people know that they didn t do what they saw other soldiers do?
The long term impact of the My Lai massacre is hard to measure or gauge. The early 1970 s had a shift on the media (Lai 1). The media would write so it had respect for government institutions. But Vietnam changed the face of the media. Now they wouldn t only show the pro s of the government but also the con s. The media showed reports of cover-ups, conspiracy, and lying by top officials during the Vietnam War, which led to the credibility gap, and ultimately lead to serious investigative reporting (Lai 1). After reports of My Lai surfaced, the tides of public opinion changed.
So did 500 innocent Vietnamese lives have to end abruptly or could we have solved it? So when will they take blame for the incident? And when will boys turn into men?