My lai massacre

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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This story starts out with Calley talking about his trial.

He receives orders and a plane ticket and was told he was going to Washington, D.C. In Washington Calley is met and questioned the Chief of Staff. He later finds out that he’s being questioned for murder at My Lai 4. Word gets out to the media about his actions and he receives loads and loads of letters. He received many letters from past war veterans supporting his actions in My Lai. At the same time he received just as many letters calling him a killer.

Calley’s trial date was set in 1970. His trial begins.

Lets flash back to where it all started. The setting changes and we start out when Calley first walks into the recruiter’s office for the army. Calley is drafted into the army. He is low on cash and is looking for a way to get himself to Miami to the draft board.

Calley did basic training at Ft Bliss, Texas and later to officer training at Ft. Benning, GA. He was shipped off to Vietnam in 1967.

        Calley tries to follow the rules at first, meaning not showing compassion for the civilians as he was taught. It was hard for the GI’s to tell the kids to go away, because most of the GI’s just loved those kids and Calley couldn’t encourage them not to. Captain Medina is Calley's commanding officer. Medina wants him to burn down a corral. Medina wants a VC body count. Calley replies his count is zero and is told he is not doing his job and will be replaced.

        One day the GI’s are checking the village. A VC sniper shoots at a GI and a chase through the village pursues. The children swarm the GI’s yelling there are no VC present in the area. Calley now wonders how is he to know which children are VC and which are civilians. VC and be children as well as adults. After a while Calley builds up in his mind that everyone in these areas are VC. His GI’s are shot at everyday, and everyday he asks the children where are the VC and he knows they are there but the children answer no VC’s.

Medina gives the orders to Calley that he is to kill everything in the village. Twenty people later testify hearing Medina order men, women, children, dogs, cats, everything that moves to be killed. Calley follows his orders, and then starts to use force when asking questions with the locals. He uses the butt of his gun to hit them and try and make them tell him where are the VC. Calley and his platoon force people into a ditch near the ravine and massacre them. They killed many people.

Medina lies to the task force giving an inaccurate body count number, favoring the U.S with more kills than actuality.

Calley realizes that he was here to fight communism, but in fact, the people here didn’t want to adopt an American lifestyle, (democracy), they were happy with a healthy pig farm, and nothing more. They had no reason to believe in the benefits from American democracy. Calley switches his job and is now a S5. His work as an S5 is to (1) harvest crops (2) construct housing (3) improve roads, railways and waterways. (4) Teach sanitation (5) give education.

Calley tries his best to help their ways of life, but they don’t want to convert. They are happy living the way that they are. Calley finally realizes he can’t stop communism himself. He leaves his S5 job and returns to Charlie Company.

At the trial some GI’s that were in his platoon testify against him. They testified that the orders to wipe out all the people in the villages came from Calley. There were also some GI’s that spoke the truth, in Calley’s defense. Rape in Vietnam was a common thing and it too happened in My Lai. One man that testified against Calley was stopped from raping a 12 year-old.

Back then, if an American was told to go to My Lai and massacre one thousand communists, he would have gone and massacred one thousand communists. No longer, today if America said, “Go to My Lai and kill everybody”, he would refuse and say it’s illegal and he can’t be a part of it.

In the year 2000 Calley’s thoughts have changed completely. After the trouble he’s been through he says it’s immoral and war in the world still isn’t right, and he’ll still be sickened by it. War is all politics and no one really understands what it is like to be in a war unless you’ve been there. In war it’s kill or be killed.

Calley says twice in his book, that he isn’t the smartest man, and that’s why when it comes to politics, we have a President, and he stands behind the President’s choice.