The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime Of Obedience By Herbert C. Kelman

1280 Words6 Pages
The explanation of why upright people execute wrongful actions can be interpreted in multiple ways. In "The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime of Obedience," Herbert C. Kelman, a professor of social ethics, and V. Lee Hamilton, a sociologist, discuss how the use of authorization, routinization, and dehumanization can be used to carry out unethical actions like in the My Lai Massacre. The American Law assumes that subordinates should be obeying orders, and when linked to obeying superiors, moral principles become inoperative. Erich Fromm, a psychoanalyst and the author of "Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem," explains how the different types of mind set and authority can be noticeably effective in whether one is obedient. Humanistic…show more content…
When it comes to the different kinds of authority, having to use force or suggestion to follow an order is considered irrational authority while acting in the name of reason is known as rational authority. In the film A Few Good Men, Dawson and Downey blindly follow commands not only because it was their duty to, but due to the mind set they were trained in and the three social processes that created conditions in which moral thoughts against violence become weakened. By following an order from their superior, Dawson and Downey received punishment due to it being an unethical order, and Kelman and Hamilton effectively explain how their situation involves authorization. For authorization to exist, the subordinates are required to obey in the terms of their role obligations instead of their personal preferences (K & H 139). In the My Lai Massacre, Lt. Calley was originally charged with 109 killings because of an

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