My Lai 4 Essay Research Paper My

My Lai 4 Essay, Research Paper

My Lai 4A History Class Book Report On March 16, 1968, “Charlie Company” was sent into a small VietCong village called (by the U.S.) My Lai 4. Their instructions bycommanding officers were: “… kill every man, woman, child and animalin the village. Burn all the homes …. nothing should be walking,growing or crawling.” Orders were followed, and as I read the first 65 pages of thisbook, I was exposed to the detailed death of 306 civilians, mostlywomen, small children, and old people. There was no threat to anyAmerican GIs … there were no Viet Cong Solders in the area. I readof the rape of a 14 year old girl by twenty GIs … in front of theparents. They were all shot after the GIs were “done with theirbusiness.” This was only one of many. Most of the murders wereconducted, BY ORDER OF OFFICERS, to round-up the families from theirhomes, forced into ditches, and shot. Women dove to cover theirchildren. Later, children just old enough to walk crawled out fromunder their mutilated mothers’ bodies, only to be shot as targetpractice by the GIs. It is later estimated that approximately 500civilians were murdered, and (probably) no VC were in the area. I could go into detail about the killing. However, most of thebook was devoted to the time before the massacre, and afterward. Theofficers and GIs of “Charlie Company” were introduced in the beginningof the book: the officers had been social outcasts all their life (LT. Calley & Medina). Both had decided to devote their life to themilitary. The GIs were selected for “Charlie Company” specificallybecause they had all scored too low on the initial exam to be put intoa regular battalions. After the massacre, nothing was done. As a matter of fact,”Charlie Company” was praised for having the “most kills” in one day. By late 1969, most of the GIs in Charlie Company were civilians again,and a few began to tell what they had seen (and participated in). AGovernment Investigation was called against Lt. Calley (who ordered,and participated in the murders). Some of the photographs from themassacre were published. You wouldn’t believe what the civilianresponse was! The overwhelming public response was to drop thecharges; they thought that there was nothing wrong with the massacre,OR they didn’t believe it really happened. As a matter of fact, Lt. Calley had become a hero as an AMERICAN! There was a hugely-supporteddonation drive to pay for Calley’s legal fees. The final outcome: nothing. Calley was demoted to a Army “OfficeJob” after the murders were proved. The soldiers of Charlie Companywent on with life, most of whom are/were suffering mental disordersfrom the scaring event. Calley’s officer above him (who REALLY gavethe initial orders) was never investigated, though it was proven that

he also participated in the massacre. The author, Seymour M. Hersh, wrote (I read that book 3 years ago), whichis credited with having a major influence on this country’s decision tostop production of biological weapons. Mr. Hersh began his journalismcareer as a police reporter for the city news bureau in Chicago, andlater covered the Pentagon for the Associated Press. Mr. Hersh waspress secretary for the Senator Eugene McCarthy early in his campaignfor Democratic Presidential nomination. He won a special George PolkMemorial Award in February, 1970, and the Worth Bengham Prize in March,1970, for his reporting on the My Lai 4 massacre. He is married andlives in Washington, D.C. As I have read 2 books by this man, I feel that he provides somereally good, controversial information. He has obviously done a lot ofstudying. From the information I could find on him, I cannot determineif he has had any past occurrences that motivated him to find out aboutatrocities of war. However, he may be like me …. and has a bit ofcompassion for others, and hates to see others hurt by unnecessarywars!In the preface of this book, Mr Hersh made a point to outline hissources. Everything in the book is a compilation of quotes fromdifferent people who participated in the massacre, and people who sawit. He published letters written by the GIs after the massacre (someof them I had seen in Zinn’s book too!). He printed public opinionpolls of the time, and generally avoided printing his own opinion. However, as any book written, he definitely projected the event as anegative occurrence; but, with as little of his own printed opinion aspossible. Also at the end of the book, there is a notes section. If a quoteor fact was really in question, he has all of his sources are listed. This was a good-read. A very serious situation was wrote about,in a way that there was nothing but quotes and facts presented. At thesame time, it was INTERESTING! I was able to read half the book in anafternoon easily! However, the only thing I would change, if I wrotethe book would be the EMOTION behind it. I have studied the Vietnameseculture myself from other books … I want to know how THEY feel andbelieve. This side was not presented; but, because of personalknowledge, his information was very useful. Without a doubt, I would recommend this book to anyone whosupports wars or the Army in general. Too many people are isolatedfrom what war IS, and how it effects civilians. Perhaps it would forcetoday’s ignorant people to THINK about our recent “police action:”DESERT STORM. For some reason (the Media), nobody thinks that anyoneDIED! I love the last line in the book:”The people didn’t know what they were dying for, and the guys didn’t know why they were shooting them.”Quote: Carter, Soldier in Charlie Company. ——————————————————————————–


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