52 years ago yesterday one of the first massacres in American war history happened…..I am talking about the deaths of about 500 Vietnamese men, women and children at the hands of US soldiers.
Fifty-two years ago today, in one of the most heinous and grisly acts against civilians during wartime, as many as 500 unarmed men, women, children, and the elderly — nearly the entire population of the South Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai — were slaughtered, raped, and brutally tortured by United States troops.
As the U.S. military continues to deploy boots on the ground in additional nations — and as specters of totalitarianism and even greater militarism materialize as if pulled from a century ago — the lessons of My Lai should not be relegated to history’s ignominious dust bin.
History, after all, doesn’t repeat itself — ill-fated actions are carried out like déjà vu, by those who refuse to examine past mistakes as if they are sleepwalking through life.
“The My Lai hamlet, part of the village of Son My, was located in Quang Ngai province, which was believed to be a stronghold of the National Liberation Front (NLF) or Viet Cong (VC) and was a frequent target of U.S. and South Vietnamese bombing attacks,” History.com explains. “In March 1968, Charlie Company [or, C Company] of the Americal Division’s 11th Infantry Brigade received word that VC guerrillas had taken control of Son My. Led by Lieutenant William L. Calley, the unit was sent to the village on a search-and-destroy mission on March 16.”
A Horrible chapter in the history of Americans at war….but that is NO reason to write it out of our conflict histories….
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”