My Lai Massacre

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“The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime of Obedience” is an article written by Herbert C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton, that chronicles the story of the My Lai Massacre of 1968 and the resulting investigation. The article also contains the author's opinions on the military’s stance on following orders, specifically following orders that could be considered illegal. This is also discussed in Marianne Szegedy-Madzak’s “The Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal: Sources of Sadism”. In the article she discusses how guards will torture prisoners, because it is excused as a stress-relief tool, and were even congratulated by superiors for their actions. The torturers justified their actions because they believed they were helping the real interrogators out.…show more content…
She starts stating how the people responsible for the actions are not likely going to show any remorse, and that the reason for their actions isn't as simple as it seems. She likens what the soldiers did to Zimbardo’s prison experiment, as well as Milgram’s experiment, saying, “these experiments demonstrate the Everyman is a potential torturer” (Szegedy-Maszak 76). She also acknowledges that the soldier's life at the prison wasn't normal, with 450 guards for 7000 prisoners, as well as not having the normal stress relief options that other soldiers have. Szegedy-Maszak then explains how the prison offered the three components that are key to cruel behavior that were explained in “The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime of Obedience”, authorization, routinization, and dehumanization. These along with the isolated nature of the prison served as a breeding ground for torture, and places with a similar environment to Abu Ghraib will continue to house these heinous…show more content…
The Marines in the movie never accept responsibility for what they did until they are finally convicted, even then Downey still doesn't understand why they were convicted. This is similar to Calley when he was on the stand for the My Lai massacre. He based his entire defense argument on the fact that he was merely following an order and his actions were not out of line. His actions could also have been caused because he became overwhelmed with the war, and took out his tension on the people of Son Lai, similar to how the guards treated of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. This may be why there was was never any sign of remorse from anyone; the guards, Calley, Dawson and Downey. They feel that what they did was normal, and they don't have to be held

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