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Lt. Calley apologizes for My Lai massacre


Tommy Tayto

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The former Army lieutenant convicted of the 1968 killing of 22 civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai publicly apologized for the first time at an event near Fort Benning.


Calley apologizes for My Lai massacre| ajc.com

Better late than never I suppose. But this guy was hung out to dry in my opinion, this was obviously an order from higher up on the chain of command. But isn't that always the way.
 

Dunlin3

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The former Army lieutenant convicted of the 1968 killing of 22 civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai publicly apologized for the first time at an event near Fort Benning.


Calley apologizes for My Lai massacre| ajc.com

Better late than never I suppose. But this guy was hung out to dry in my opinion, this was obviously an order from higher up on the chain of command. But isn't that always the way.
If so he should have had the balls to disobey an illegal order. That "only following orders" routine doesn't wash I'm afraid.
 

sauntersplash

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If so he should have had the balls to disobey an illegal order. That "only following orders" routine doesn't wash I'm afraid.
Even in the army? Who would choose to do anything that a soldier has to do on a daily basis, if you could decide which orders you should follow and which you could disregard? I'd imagine its all or nothing when it comes to following orders in a war zone. Imagine five people standing around debating who should take the lead to the next piece of cover whilst under fire. Not very practical.

Havent you seen "A Few Good Men"? Taught me everything I need to know about the Army...and handling the truth.
 

Dunlin3

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Even in the army? Who would choose to do anything that a soldier has to do on a daily basis, if you could decide which orders you should follow. I'd imagine its all or nothing when it comes to following orders in a war zone. Imagine five people standing around debating who should take the lead to the next piece of cover whilst under fire. Not very practical.

Havent you seen "A Few Good Men"? Taught me everything I need to know about the Army...and handling the truth.
He was the platoon commander, his orders would not have been given to him in the heat of the moment. It is up to the platoon commander to extract those orders, plan his mission and issue those orders to his platoon. If there was an illegal order issued then he could have done the right thing. I'm sure that the Geneva Conventions and Laws of Armed Conflict would have been taught in officer training. If they weren't then he should still know the difference between right and wrong, this guy was a murderer plain and simple. The GIs who participated should have also known better. If I remember rightly it took a US NCO pilot who landed near by to stop the killing.
 

reknaw

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He was lucky to get away with a conviction for only 22 murders, as something in the region of 600-700 people were massacred in that incident.:mad:

His "remorse" is probably not genuine. My guess is that he's probably trying to drum up a little more publicity and boost demand for himself as a speaker at various functions attended by admiring rednecks and neocons. He made a good living from that for years, but now that American mass-killings have become a dime a dozen in Iraq and Afghanistan, demand for Calley as a speaker has largely dried up.;)

The "I was only following orders" excuse didn't work in Nürnberg, even though disobeying an order by Hitler was certainly a lot more risky than it would be for an American to refuse to murder innocent men, women and children in a country that the USA was supposed to be "saving for democracy".:cool:
 

sauntersplash

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Absolutely, he was the platoon commander, his orders would not have been given to him in the heat of the moment. It is up to the platoon commander to extract those orders, plan his mission and issue those orders to his platoon. If there was an illegal order issued then he could have done the right thing. I'm sure that the Geneva Conventions and Laws of Armed Conflict would have been taught in officer training. This guy was a murderer plain and simple. The GIs who participated should have also known better. If I remember rightly it took a US NCO pilot who landed near by to stop the killing.
You weren't there man, they came out of the trees, they just...came out of the trees...

I'd imagine that was how his testimony went. I've seen enough Hollywood Movies to know that nothing was black and white in the Nam.
 

Tommy Tayto

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If so he should have had the balls to disobey an illegal order. That "only following orders" routine doesn't wash I'm afraid.
Well I agree to a certain extent, but I was also suspect that refusing orders would be dealt with in a most severe manner i.e. "the officer was found dead with several bullet wounds in his back, caused by persons unknown". Fear is a great device for manipulating people into doing what you want them to do. But I'm not trying to defend the guy either, he clearly knew what he was doing and kept going until that heli pilot positioned his huey between Calley and his victims.
 
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Errrr...Movies?

Even in the army? Who would choose to do anything that a soldier has to do on a daily basis, if you could decide which orders you should follow and which you could disregard?
All American Soldiers then and now have an express legal duty to disobey all unlawful orders such as shooting captive unarmed civilians.


I'd imagine its all or nothing when it comes to following orders in a war zone. Imagine five people standing around debating who should take the lead to the next piece of cover whilst under fire. Not very practical.
My Lai wasn't a war zone. It was a killing zone since none of the 600 plus people who were murdered that day were either armed or dangerous.

Havent you seen "A Few Good Men"? Taught me everything I need to know about the Army...and handling the truth.
You need to put your toy soldiers down and read more than you do:

The massacre

In the early morning hours of March 16, 1968, Thompson's OH-23 encountered no enemy fire over My Lai 4. Spotting two possible Viet Cong suspects, he forced the Vietnamese men to surrender and flew them off for a tactical interrogation. Thompson also marked the location of several wounded Vietnamese with green smoke, a signal that they needed help.

Returning to the My Lai area at around 0900 after refueling, he noticed that the people he had marked were now dead. Out in a paddy field beside a dike 200 meters south of the village, he marked the location of a wounded young Vietnamese woman. Thompson and his crew watched from a low hover as Captain Ernest Medina (CO, C Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment) came up to the woman, prodded her with his foot, and then shot and killed her.

Thompson then flew over an irrigation ditch filled with dozens of bodies. Shocked at the sight, he radioed his accompanying gunships, knowing his transmission would be monitored by many on the radio net: "It looks to me like there's an awful lot of unnecessary killing going on down there. Something ain't right about this. There's bodies everywhere. There's a ditch full of bodies that we saw. There's something wrong here."[2]

Movement from the ditch indicated to Thompson that there were still people alive in there. Thompson landed his helicopter and dismounted. David Mitchell, a sergeant and squad leader in 1st Platoon, C Company, walked over to him. When asked by Thompson whether any help could be provided to the people in the ditch, the sergeant replied that the only way to help them was to put them out of their misery. Second Lieutenant William Calley (CO, 1st Platoon, C Company) then came up, and the two had the following conversation:[3]

Thompson: What's going on here, Lieutenant?
Calley: This is my business.
Thompson: What is this? Who are these people?
Calley: Just following orders.
Thompson: Orders? Whose orders?
Calley: Just following...
Thompson: But, these are human beings, unarmed civilians, sir.
Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I'm in charge here. It ain't your concern.
Thompson: Yeah, great job.
Calley: You better get back in that chopper and mind your own business.
Thompson: You ain't heard the last of this!
Thompson took off again, and Andreotta reported that Mitchell was now executing the people in the ditch. Furious, Thompson flew over the northeast corner of the village and spotted a group of about ten civilians, including children, running toward a homemade bomb shelter. Pursuing them were soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, C Company. Realizing that the soldiers intended to murder the Vietnamese, Thompson landed his aircraft between them and the villagers. Thompson turned to Colburn and Andreotta and told them that if the Americans began shooting at the villagers or him, they should fire their M60 machine guns at the Americans:[4] "Y'all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!" He then dismounted to confront the 2nd Platoon's leader, Stephen Brooks. Thompson told him he wanted help getting the peasants out of the bunker:[5]

Thompson: Hey listen, hold your fire. I'm going to try to get these people out of this bunker. Just hold your men here.
Brooks: Yeah, we can help you get 'em out of that bunker - with a hand grenade!
Thompson: Just hold your men here. I think I can do better than that.
Brooks declined to argue with him, even though as a commissioned officer he outranked Thompson.

After coaxing the 11 Vietnamese out of the bunker, Thompson persuaded the pilots of the two UH-1 Huey gunships (Dan Millians and Brian Livingstone) flying as his escort to evacuate them. While Thompson was returning to base to refuel, Andreotta spotted movement in an irrigation ditch filled with approximately 100 bodies. The helicopter again landed and the men dismounted to search for survivors. After wading through the remains of the dead and dying men, women and children, Andreotta extracted a live boy. Thompson flew the survivor to the ARVN hospital in Quang Ngai.

Upon returning back to their base at about 1100, Thompson heatedly reported the massacre to his superiors. His allegations of civilian killings quickly reached Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker, the operation's overall commander. Barker radioed his executive officer to find out from Captain Medina what was happening on the ground. Medina then gave the cease-fire order to Charlie Company to "knock off the killing".


Hugh Thompson, Jr. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
 
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Eeeeejit!

You weren't there man, they came out of the trees, they just...came out of the trees...


The only thing that came out of the trees that day were US Army helecopter gunships that delivered the troops that did the mass killing.

I'd imagine that was how his testimony went. I've seen enough Hollywood Movies to know that nothing was black and white in the Nam.
Calley said, just like the Nazis at Nuremburg, that he was just following orders. Only difference is the Allies hung those Nazis and Calley got house arrest with a lucrative speaking tour. But if you really want to know what it was like back then, then stop watching Hollywood movies and start reading about Operation Speedy Express which was "A My Lai a month":

Operation Speedy Express - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Yes he was!

Wasn't a certain Colin Powell involved in the cover up attempt at the time?
Yes he was!

Cover-up and investigations

The first reports claimed that "128 Viet Cong and 22 civilians" were killed in the village during a "fierce fire fight". General William C. Westmoreland, MACV commander, congratulated the unit on the "outstanding job". As related at the time by the Army's Stars and Stripes magazine, "U.S. infantrymen had killed 128 Communists in a bloody day-long battle."

Initial investigations of the My Lai operation were undertaken by the 11th Light Infantry Brigade's commanding officer, Colonel Henderson, under orders from the Americal Division's executive officer, Brigadier General George H. Young. Henderson interviewed several soldiers involved in the incident, then issued a written report in late April claiming that some 20 civilians were inadvertently killed during the operation. The army at this time was still describing the events at My Lai as a military victory that had resulted in the deaths of 128 enemy combatants.

Six months later, Tom Glen, a 21-year-old soldier of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, wrote a letter to General Creighton Abrams, the new overall commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, accusing the American Division (and other entire units of the U.S. military) of routine and pervasive brutality against Vietnamese civilians. The letter was detailed and its contents echoed complaints received from other soldiers.

Colin Powell, then a 31-year-old Army Major, was charged with investigating the letter, which did not specifically reference My Lai (Glen had limited knowledge of the events there). In his report Powell wrote: "In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American[24] soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." Powell's handling of the assignment was later characterized by some observers as "whitewashing" the atrocities of My Lai.[25] In May 2004, Powell, then United States Secretary of State, told CNN's Larry King, "I mean, I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they are still to be deplored."[26]
(emphasis added).

My Lai Massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Behind Colin Powell's Legend -- My Lai

In 1963, Capt. Colin Powell was one of those advisers, serving a first tour with a South Vietnamese army unit. Powell's detachment sought to discourage support for the Viet Cong by torching villages throughout the A Shau Valley. While other U.S. advisers protested this countrywide strategy as brutal and counter-productive, Powell defended the "drain-the-sea" approach then -- and continued that defense in his 1995 memoirs, My American Journey. (See The Consortium, July 8)

The Consortium

Major Powell's Response

The letter's troubling allegations were not well received at Americal headquarters. Maj. Powell undertook the assignment to review Glen's letter, but did so without questioning Glen or assigning anyone else to talk with him. Powell simply accepted a claim from Glen's superior officer that Glen was not close enough to the front lines to know what he was writing about, an assertion Glen denies.

After that cursory investigation, Powell drafted a response on Dec. 13, 1968. He admitted to no pattern of wrongdoing. Powell claimed that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were taught to treat Vietnamese courteously and respectfully. The Americal troops also had gone through an hour-long course on how to treat prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, Powell noted.

"There may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs," Powell wrote in 1968. But "this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the Division." Indeed, Powell's memo faulted Glen for not complaining earlier and for failing to be more specific in his letter.

Powell reported back exactly what his superiors wanted to hear. "In direct refutation of this [Glen's] portrayal," Powell concluded, "is the fact that relations between Americal soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent."

Powell's findings, of course, were false. But it would take another Americal hero, an infantryman named Ron Ridenhour, to piece together the truth about the atrocity at My Lai. After returning to the United States, Ridenhour interviewed Americal comrades who had participated in the massacre.

On his own, Ridenhour compiled this shocking information into a report and forwarded it to the Army inspector general. The IG's office conducted an aggressive official investigation and the Army finally faced the horrible truth. Courts martial were held against officers and enlisted men implicated in the murder of the My Lai civilians.

But Powell's peripheral role in the My Lai cover-up did not slow his climb up the Army's ladder. Powell pleaded ignorance about the actual My Lai massacre, which pre-dated his arrival at the Americal. Glen's letter disappeared into the National Archives -- to be unearthed only years later by British journalists Michael Bilton and Kevin Sims for their book Four Hours in My Lai. In his best-selling memoirs, Powell did not mention his brush-off of Tom Glen's complaint.


The Consortium
 

Betson

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Just watching a documentary on this massacre on PBS America right now , what an act of butchery.

One troop leader on that day expressing little sympathy or remorse when interview said he was a soldier and was ordered to clear out that village , and that is what he done , he said the fact that it was full of women and children and non combatants did not change his orders. Other people might have a problem with that , I don't he said.

He sounded like a Nazi trying to justify the atrocities they committed on innocent people.

There were hundreds of innocent people murdered that day with no mercy by savages in a US uniform.
 

HenryBone

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He was lucky to get away with a conviction for only 22 murders, as something in the region of 600-700 people were massacred in that incident.:mad:

His "remorse" is probably not genuine. My guess is that he's probably trying to drum up a little more publicity and boost demand for himself as a speaker at various functions attended by admiring rednecks and neocons. He made a good living from that for years, but now that American mass-killings have become a dime a dozen in Iraq and Afghanistan, demand for Calley as a speaker has largely dried up.;)

The "I was only following orders" excuse didn't work in Nürnberg, even though disobeying an order by Hitler was certainly a lot more risky than it would be for an American to refuse to murder innocent men, women and children in a country that the USA was supposed to be "saving for democracy".:cool:
Nick Turse's 'Kill Anything That Moves' comes to mind. My Lai was one amongst an orgy of killing at the time(the same crowd are presently funding, arming and training fundamentalists in the Middle East, privatisation donthcha know)

'I think of Bui Thi Huong who was, according to court-martial records, gang-raped in Xuan Ngoc hamlet by five Marines while her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, husband, and 3-year-old son were shot dead. Her 5-year-old niece was slain too, but by another method. The Marine who killed her did so by “mashing up and down with his rifle,” according to a fellow unit member. Another recalled, “I said one… two… three… And he was hitting the baby with the [rifle] butt!”

I recall too my conversations with Pham Thi Cuc, Le Thi Chung, and Le Thi Xuan who told me about a 1966 massacre by Americans in My Luoc hamlet that claimed the lives of 16 civilians. I think of Vi Thi Ngoi, an elderly woman who told me about the day American and South Korean troops opened fire on more than 100 of her fellow villagers and of the bodies that fell on her tiny frame, shielding her from the bullets. I remember how she explained what it felt like to lie there, for what seemed like an eternity, feigning death, amid the blood and viscera of friends and neighbors.'
My Lai 45 Years Later
 

Analyzer

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Lyndon Baines Johnson never apologised for ramping up military intereference in Vietnam

The biggest scoundrels get away without a charge.
 

Catalpast

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Look the US should have stayed out of Vietnam

But make no mistake the Communists were a pretty ruthless bunch too....
 
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redneck

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Thousands of Irish American soldiers fought in Vietnam. It was an illegal and brutal war without a doubt. My Lai was an example of this brutality towards civilians. But the US soldiers were drafted in- and faced jail in the US if they refused.
They should be remembered today along with the World War 1 and 2 veterans.
 

Toland

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friendlyfire

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Why do you say that?

Serious question.
You only have to look at the recent Bloody Sunday inquiry Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford was the one blamed.What the inquiry has failed to expose or even attempt to explain, is the role of Edward Heath’s Tory government and British army chiefs in the events of Bloody Sunday and the subsequent cover-up. On these crucial questions, the Saville inquiry is silent. In that respect, it is another form of official cover-up of the role of the British state in the events of that day and their aftermath.

Another prominent officer who was second-in-command of 1 Para on the day was Mike Jackson he was cleared along with other high ranking officers he rose up in the ranks to be head of the British army and NATO.He took part in the whitewash that was Widgery he fully supported the findings Parachute Regiment were justified in shooting marchers.

For more than 30 years he had claimed that those killed on Bloody Sunday had been members of the IRA.Just before Saville released his report we had retired General Sir Mike Jackson on a Spotlight programme say....."I have no doubt that innocent people were shot," Jackson said.Why did he not say this to the Widgery Inquiry in 1972 he was front and centre that day?

Governments and the military apparatus have always covered up massacres,just look at the attack on the hospital a few weeks ago the story changed a number of times over a few days.... and is still changing.This is a policy, manipulate the media, it was honed well during the troubles.
 
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IvoShandor

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The former Army lieutenant convicted of the 1968 killing of 22 civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai publicly apologized for the first time at an event near Fort Benning.
Better late than never I suppose. But this guy was hung out to dry in my opinion, this was obviously an order from higher up on the chain of command. But isn't that always the way.
It's easy to apologise. The words roll off your tongue and then you return to your barbecue and golf game. If he meant it, he should go over to My Lai village and hang himself there. Or spend the rest of his life and money helping war orphans.
There's no certainty he got an order from superior officers (and even if he did it might have been on a 'nod and wink' basis).. He may have just wanted to play the big man himself, aggrandize his reputation,enlarge the kill count.
 
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HenryBone

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Thousands of Irish American soldiers fought in Vietnam. It was an illegal and brutal war without a doubt. My Lai was an example of this brutality towards civilians. But the US soldiers were drafted in- and faced jail in the US if they refused.
They should be remembered today along with the World War 1 and 2 veterans.
What has that to do with anything? Thousands of Native Americans fought there also, did they object to the term 'Indian Country'? The warmongers and profiteers refer to 'Vietnam syndrome' and pretty much have vast swathes of ignorant people hoodwinked. Ever heard about Operation Phoenix?
 
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