Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Myth of American Exceptionalism, Volume 9

Today's the 45th anniversary of My Lai.  Nobody's idea of our finest hour.  A sobering article in the Daily Best begins like this ...

Forty-five years ago today, March 16, roughly 100 U.S. troops were flown by helicopter to the outskirts of a small Vietnamese hamlet called My Lai in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam. Over a period of four hours, the Americans methodically slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area’s drinking water.

Me?  I think it's a bad idea to point fingers at people's behavior in extremely-high-stress situations.  I like to think I'd be the guy who stood up in front of the platoon and started screaming, shooting my CAR-15 into the air, preventing my brothers in arms from committing atrocities.  But, when push comes to shove, I'm not the least bit convinced I'd be that brave.

If you're curious,  I (and I refer here, of course, to the fictional me) am using a carbine because the M-16 is too bulky for the places they ask me to go and the things they ask me to do.  

Choice of arms aside, the whole article is here, and there's a good chance it will throw you off your game for a while.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it.  Attention, to quote Willy Loman's wife, must be paid.

And lastly, there's some question regarding the number of people killed in My Lai.  Not sure where 500 came from.  The official number was 347.  But really ...


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