My Lai Massacre Essay

This essay has a total of 1261 words and 7 pages.


My Lai Massacre





The My Lai Massacre
On March 16, 1968 a terrible massacre occurred at My Lai, called The My Lai Massacre.
The following massacre should have never happened and the event’s that followed the
massacre are typical of any American wrongdoing. That’s why it wasn’t in my US
History book. They covered it up and the people involved in the massacre received no
punishment except for one soldier.

My US History book: The Story of America Volume 2 doesn’t even touch on this dark
moment in US history. The closest that they come to my topic is the eight pages about the
Vietnam War. Within these pages they talked about Nixon being elected to presidency in
1968. He received 43 percent of the popular vote only 1 less than Humphrey. He sought to
please the middle class income voters and people who were neither radicals nor
reactionaries. The middle class was worried about the high taxes and rising prices. So
Nixon concentrated on ending the inflation, he ordered a wage-and-price freeze for 90
days. In this 90 days he set up a special committee to supervise wages and prices. Then
announced guidelines to place maximum limits on future increases in wages and prices.
This did slow down inflation. Another key point was Vietnamization that was the idea to
remove American troops and put South Vietnamese troops in instead. At the start of the
Vietnam War there were over 540,000 American troops in Vietnam and by spring 1970 there
were under 430,000 American troops there. Nixon planed to pull out another 150,000 men
within a year. But then Nixon became a hypocrite by sending American troops to Cambodia
to destroy bases being used by North Vietnamese (Volume 2 The Story of America 535-538).
That is the summery of what else occurred during the time period of the My Lai Massacre.

The My Lai Massacre occurred at 7:30 on the morning on March 16, 1968 (Heroes &
Massacres). Captain Ernest Medina ordered the Charlie Company, Task Force Baker, Eleventh
Brigade of the Americal Division, to search and destroy My Lai. My Lai is a small village
located on the coast of Vietnam, near the South China Sea. Lt. William Calley led 150
fully armed and ready soldiers into Son My villiage to destory the hamlet called My Lia.
But it wasn’t clear as what to do with any civilians they encountered

(The My Lai Massacre).
The Charlie Company soldiers were brought by helicopter (Gettleman). The soldiers entered
My Lai expecting fierce combat with a Viet Cong battalion believed to be at My Lai.
“For the past three months the American unit had been in no major battles but had
suffered a lot of casualties from snipers, mines, and booby traps. The soldiers were
ready to prove themselves, ready to exact revenge on the enemy”(The My Lai
Massacre).

The Charlie Company soldiers met no Viet Cong soldiers though. Then William Calley
ordered the slaughter of the civilians of My Lai. This should have never happened just
because you don’t find the enemy doesn’t give you the right to kill the
villagers. Also the inhumane way they killed these villagers which were mostly elderly
woman and men and children. The following is a few of the ways they killed the villagers

According to eyewitness reports offered after the event, several old men were bayoneted
and praying women and children were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl
was raped, and then killed. For his part, Calley was said to have rounded up a group of
the villagers, ordered them into a ditch, and mowed them down in a fury of machine gun
fire. (Vietnam Online)

Also “when Calley spotted a baby crawling away from a ditch, he grabbed her, threw
her back into the ditch, and opened fire”(The My Lai Massacre). In some of the
ditches the bodies laid five feet deep. One soldier would later say,

You didn’t have to look for people to kill, they were just there. I cut their
throats, cut off their hands, cut out their tongues, scalped them. I did it. A lot of
people were doing it and I just followed. I just lost all sense of direction.(The My Lia
Massacre)

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