My Lai

Essay by kclw1111College, UndergraduateA-, March 2006

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My Lai is a controversial event in history because there are many different views of what happened. The mission started when captain Ernest Medina instructed Lieutenant William Calley to destroy the village of My Lai. Medina told the 11th Brigade, Charlie Company, that any genuine villagers would have left their homes to go to market. Therefore, Medina and Calley instructed the brigade to kill all of the remaining villagers including the elderly, women, and children. Most of the soldiers followed their orders even though when they arrived at the village, none of the villagers returned fore. They tortured and killed hundreds of civilians, but the exact number killed has varied from 347 and over 500 (Wikipedia). This number has varied from source to source because the United States and Vietnam have told different versions of the story.

The United States has been accused of trying to cover up the events at My Lai.

Because the United States realized that public knowledge of these events could cause trouble, efforts were made to cover up the massacre and it took a year for the news of these events to reach the news stands. When the news finally reached the public, an investigation was commissioned into the cover up. The investigation concluded that 30 officers involved in the massacre should be charged. However, army lawyers decided to only charge 14, 13 of whom never showed up to court, the last one being acquitted. The same thing happened with the soldiers from My Lai. Charges against these soldiers were dropped or the solders were found not guilty. The only person to be convicted was Lieutenant Calley who was sentences to life in prison, but three days later he was out of prison and put on house arrest, where he only spent three years of...