The My Lai Massacre and modern day implications


The following is from my Examiner.com article.  Hope you enjoy

United States involvement in the conflict of Vietnam goes without criticism, and the criticism has ranged from justified to unreal. “It was the wrong war”. When compared to World War II, that statement rings true. The consequences of losing World War II would be grim. The United States had no choice but to win, and the public was in support of our troops. However, the public was suppressed from information. And, they also weren’t aware of the ruthlessness of our ally–Russia. America resorted to spreading large propaganda campaigns. Either way, it worked.

The 1st Marine Regiment (Charlie Company) arrived in Vietnam in December of 1967. They spent several months prior to arriving in South Vietnam by training in Hawaii. They were led by Captain Ernest Medina. There are leaders and there are followers. Many have said that Captain Medina was a leader, and his soldiers admired him. Charlie Companies Second Lieutenant, William Calley, looked to Medina in awe. He tried to impress him, but according to the soldiers who served–Medina would make fun of Calley. Calley didn’t command as much respect as Medina, either. Their fist month of Vietnam went without a hitch. The Vietnamese locals looked up to the Americans. They understood that we were there to fight for them. In fact, soldiers would hand out candy to the Vietnamese locals which made the sight of an American soldier a happy occasion. Then the Tet Offensive happened.

The Viet Cong unleashed an attack on U.S. military and civilian command and control centers throughout South Vietnam. This took the U.S. by surprise. Another surprise was the enemy using women and children to kill U.S. soldiers. There are countless stories from G.I.’s that would encounter women carrying a backpack of explosives, and would detonate them when they passed an American. It has also been stated that these women would be present with their infant children. In some extreme cases, children would fire their machine guns at Americans and killing them.

March 16, 1968, Charlie Company went into the village of My Lai and killed up to 500 innocent civilians. Most of them were women and children. Some were sexually abused, beaten, and their dead bodies were found mutilated. Captain Medina led his company to believe that these people were communist sympathizers, and that they worked with the enemy. Either way, these citizens were unarmed. Many were begging and pleading for their lives. They were shot, killed and their bodies dumped to the waste side. This incident would have never been known if it wasn’t for an American helicopter pilot, Hugh Thompson Jr.. along with his door gunner. They went in and rescued the people barely clinging to life.

Hugh Thompson reported this incident to high-ranking officials in the military, and it led to a massive cover-up. This would still be suppressed if not for the published photographs by Ronald L. Haeberle, an Army Photographer present during the massacre.

So, what is the connection with this incident and the modern-day political climate and the animus that many share towards Muslims or illegals?

We know that 19 extreme Islāmic fundamentalist’s launched an attack on this Country September 11, 2001. This action had prompted the United States in the war on Afghanistan. At first, the people of Afghanistan saw American soldiers as on their side. They perceived us to be there to wipe out Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Although this is true, the striking parallel with Vietnam was strikingly clear. How can you differentiate the bad people from the good people when they look and dress alike? How can you also trust women and children when they are pressured by the enemy to take their side? Now, add the targeting and alienation of Muslims in America. They are here to achieve the same level of success that many of us aspire to. When we decide to paint them as an enemy or a potential enemy, than wouldn’t that present them with the perfect case for turning to the enemy?

Now enter Faisal Shahzad and his failed plot to bomb Times Square in New York City. What would possess an American citizen to do something that is looked at as “Un-American”? The answer is Belongingness. The definition of Belongingness is “the human need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves.” The definition further goes on to state, “The motive to belong is the need for “strong, stable relationships with other people. This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give and receive affection from others.” Sound familiar? What kind of person were you in High School?

So, with the blame game going on in Washington over who is to blame over these acts of Terror, let me make something perfectly clear; If we continue to alienate and box Muslims or Mexicans into a box, then we should be prepared for the consequences. To which, the results will not be looked upon as admirable

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