November 21, 2014

Courage Beyond Your Nation: Lt. Thompson at My Lai

Regarding a man who helped stopped the slaughter by ordering machine gun cover against fellow American soldiers at My Lai, Maj. Hugh Thompson,

The Reddit thread has veterans' anecdotes about training to dehumanize the enemy.

2 Comments:

Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

John Horgan in The End of War makes the point that to be effective soldiers have to be trained to overcome their natural predilection to not hurt other people. (Despite what we're told that human's slaughtering each other is "natural.")

November 22, 2014 at 1:49 AM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

I knew a guy who actually fought in the war - educated, Ivy MBA. I asked him about it a few times and he wouldn't talk about it. "It was just a dirty little war," he said.

Just a few hundred dead, but I think My Lai resonates because it was so personal, and face-to-face. The Vietnamese have a museum, with just the kinds of exhibits we deserve.

Calley did get around to apologizing in 2009:

"There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai", he told members of the Kiwanis club. "I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry....If you are asking why I did not stand up to them when I was given the orders, I will have to say that I was a 2nd lieutenant getting orders from my commander and I followed them—foolishly, I guess."
- Wikipedia

November 22, 2014 at 11:56 PM  

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