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America's Inhumanity
The greatest tragedy is war, but so long as there is mankind, there will be war.
-Jomini
The Art of War
On March 16, 1968, Charlie Company of the Americal Division moved into the hamlet of My Lai and committed one of the most brutal atrocities in the Vietnam War and American history.However much their actions resulted from inherent stresses of the war, their brutal targeting of noncombatants was said to be an exceptional deviation from orders.Some 500 civilians were killed and it was not until a year later, with a letter from Ron Ridenhour, that the Criminal Investigation Division of the US Army checked the validity of the accusation.Then General Peers was asked to head a Commission to determine what happened and who was at fault.Since then, countless attempts have been made to explain how such an atrocity could have occurred. One of the strongest suggests that as an attempt to lift the demoralized spirit after the Tet offensive, the Charlie company platoon leader, Lt. Calley, led a mission to eliminate a Viet Cong stronghold in the vicinity of Son My village.This mission succeeded only in the death of unarmed, innocent men, women, children and babies thus revealing the brutal nature of war.
To understand why the My Lai incident happened, one must understand the events leading to it.In 1967 the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front (NLF) decided the time had come to launch an all out offensive aimed at the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and US forces.In December of 1967 the North Vietnamese attacked the US marine base at Khe Sanh.General Westmoreland, the commanding US military officer in Vietnam, wanted the outpost at Khe Sanh held at all costs.As a result, 50,000 troops were called to the area thus weakening positions further south.The main thrus…

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