My Lai Massacre Research Paper

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U.S. soldiers are trained to follow orders, which is exactly what they did as hundreds of villagers were indiscriminately killed in the My Lai Massacre. Even if the soldiers were acting under confusing orders, that is a failure of the chain of command, and even if the killings were orchestrated by a few incompetent officers, those officers never should have been placed in leadership roles. The real tragedy of My Lai represents an entire system of willful negligence and lack of accountability on the part of the military. Thus the responsibility for the massacre lies with the men involved, but also with the military chain of command that gave the order and then tried to cover it up. The My Lai Massacre is one example of what is wrong with the US Government. The men of Charlie Company had been told that an local enemy force…show more content…
The responsibility was laid out to them clearly, but the decision to downplay this massacre would lead to events soldiers wished never happened. By omission and commission, they suppressed reports of the incident and submitted false or misleading accounts to higher headquarters. (My Lai Massacre) By suppressing the news of the massacre, Calley and his fellow officers just dug themselves a deep hole. Surely they should have expected the cause and effect from this small decision. Even if those claims made by Calley about the massacre were incorrect, since international law and the military code of conduct expressly forbade the killing of civilians, it was still the responsibility of the chain of command to ensure that Calley knew those policies. (Bodenner) It said that by covering up the deaths of all but 20 civilians, but the officers hid a much greater war crime. The commissioner did not learn what Seymour Hersh discovered later; U.S. officers in South Vietnam destroyed papers describing the massacre.

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