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My Lai Massacre Essay

1575 words - 6 pages

History EssayHow do you explain what happened at My Lai? What can be done to prevent such tragedies from happening again? What does My Lai teach us about the nature of evil? Was Calley evil, or was he a more-or-less "normal person in abnormal circumstances"? Would Calley have acted differently had he received more training in the rules of warfare? Do all soldiers have this capacity for violence?My Lai is a small village in the Mid-west of Vietnam. On March 16, 1968 a US operation was launched on the Intel that the village was used as an enemy Viet Cong stronghold. The US operation aimed at deploying troops in the area known as Pinkville. What transpired resembled less of an operation to destroy the enemy to more of an operation to let off hatred for the Vietnamese people, building within the soldiers. It was no secret that the soldiers of the US armed forces despised not only the Viet Cong but also the Vietnamese people. This is a complex issue as the soldiers were there to help and protect these people, but as time went on and comrades fell left and right, distrust grew between the soldiers and those under their protection. This distrust between the two grew immensely as the Viet Cong would blend in with the civilians making the soldiers constantly anxious and suspicious of the people, knowing that anyone of them could be a killer with only a moment's notice. Many US soldiers faced the possibility that for every civilian they saved another soldier or even potentially they could be killed. This began to eat away at the soldiers both mentally and physically. The massacre was no only about true evil, but more of humans pushed to their mental limits.Such tragedies are extremely difficult to prevent. Unfortunately these events are extremely hard to predict and with war being the destructive power that it is, men are easily corruptible to the events they see in battle. Even if we knew of an event that was happening today right now sometimes we can do very little to stop such acts. Take for example ISIS who right now is committing similar atrocities under different circumstances. ISIS is known for killing civilians and enemies alike such as what happened in operation "". However the main difference being that Charlie Company was under US command and could be stopped rather easily. With such groups as ISIS they are not governed by any major force so stopping them would in tale a third party force intervening thus recreating the cycle of violence and war crimes. The easy solution would be to end all wars, but this will never realistically happen, after all Plato once said "Only the dead have seen the end of war." Other than that the best way to avoid such a tragedy is to better educate the soldiers that are being sent into live combat. We have seen that soldiers with a better training and education in the ethics of war have a stronger resolve and the risk of war crimes is significantly reduced. However no matter how you look at it humans are corruptible,...

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