American Involvement In The Vietnam War

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“Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don 't criticize What you can 't understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly agin ' Please get out of the new one If you can 't lend your hand For the times they are a-changin” As the Vietnam War progressed, the American public was divided. Young people questioned the validity of American intervention, and those older, particularly veterans of previous foreign wars and their spouses, held to their belief that if the government said this was a just war, it was, and the U.S. needed to be in the fight. A confluence of events changed the latter perception, among them, the Chicago 7, the My Lai massacre, and the Kent State Shootings. …show more content…

It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms. I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” This ideology, in conjunction with Eisenhower’s Domino Theory gave the nation’s leaders the impetus to become involved in the Vietnam War. World War II was definitively a just war, and initially, Americans perceived the Vietnam War as a just war too, supporting those Vietnamese who were resisting a communist regime. Television coverage of the war was more open than in any previous military engagement, and the specifics and violence of the Vietnam War became dinner conversation in many homes. As the draft continued, young people in general and college students in particular began learning about the history of Vietnam, and they began to question U.S. involvement in this conflict. Many, if not most, came to reject the idea that this war was just. Editorials and newscasts of specific pivotal events gave credence to this rejection by young people and caused some older Americans to change their perception of our role in this conflict as …show more content…

In 1969, one of the most compelling events of the Vietnam Was was revealed: the My Lai Massacre. In March 1968, Charlie Company of the American Division’s 11th Infantry Brigade received word that Viet Cong guerrillas had taken control of Son My. Led by Lieutenant William L. Calley, the unit was sent to the My Lai on a search-and-destroy mission. Soldiers were told by their superiors that everyone they encountered could be considered to be Viet Cong members or active supporters and they were under orders to destroy the village. Upon arrival no VC members were found, only women, children and elders. Although not a single shot was fired against the men of Charlie Company, virtually everyone in the village was brutally murdered; some of the women were also viciously raped and tortured. Dozens of villagers were dragged into a ditch and executed with machine guns. The massacre was covered up by officers higher in command of Charlie Company and the 11th Brigade until Ron Ridenhour, a soldier who had heard reports of the massacre, sent letters to government officials and gave an interview to an investigative journalist. The U.S. Army ordered a special investigation, and the inquiry released their report in March 1970. Fourteen were charged; all were acquitted except Calley, who was given a life sentence for his role in directing the killings at My Lai. Seen by many as a scapegoat, Calley’s sentence was reduced on appeal to 20 years, then to 10, and he was paroled in

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