Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just Following Orders Is Exculpatory in the Military

I had a long conversation with a Vietnam vet over the courser of a few days with a fellow who was a cruise ship dance facilitator.  In essence his job was to dance with widows who paid tens of thousands to go on cruises.

He was in the Americal Division under Lt. Calley and lied about his ability to type 120 words a minute so he could get transferred out.  It was clear this group was bent on atrocities, and he could not be a part of that.  He got out participating in the massacre, but has had a hard time holding serious work since then.

One Colin Powell helped keep it secret for a while, but eventually the word got out for one righteous soldier in all of the massacre at My Lai:

Movement from the ditch indicated to Thompson that there were still people alive in there. Thompson landed his helicopter and dismounted. David Mitchell, a sergeant and squad leader in 1st Platoon, C Company, walked over to him. When asked by Thompson whether any help could be provided to the people in the ditch, the sergeant replied that the only way to help them was to put them out of their misery. Second LieutenantWilliam Calley (commanding officer of the 1st Platoon, C Company) then came up, and the two had the following conversation:[7]
Thompson: What's going on here, Lieutenant?
Calley: This is my business.
Thompson: What is this? Who are these people?
Calley: Just following orders.
Thompson: Orders? Whose orders?
Calley: Just following...
Thompson: But, these are human beings, unarmed civilians, sir.
Calley: Look Thompson, this is my show. I'm in charge here. It ain't your concern.
Thompson: Yeah, great job.
Calley: You better get back in that chopper and mind your own business.
Thompson: You ain't heard the last of this!
Thompson took off again, and Andreotta reported that Mitchell was now executing the people in the ditch. Furious, Thompson flew over the northeast corner of the village and spotted a group of about ten civilians, including children, running toward a homemade bomb shelter. Pursuing them were soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, C Company. Realizing that the soldiers intended to murder the Vietnamese, Thompson landed his aircraft between them and the villagers. Thompson turned to Colburn and Andreotta and told them that if the Americans began shooting at the villagers or him, they should fire their M60 machine guns at the Americans:[8] "Y'all cover me! If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!" He then dismounted to confront the 2nd Platoon's leader, Stephen Brooks. Thompson told him he wanted help getting the peasants out of the bunker:[8]

Only Calley was prosecuted, and then pardoned by Nixon, the Quaker.  Since no officer was tried and convicted of this widespread pattern of murder, it goes on to this day.  And what goes around, comes around.

Feel Free To Email This To Three Friends.

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