Thursday, March 16, 2023
HomeSpiritualRemembering the My Lai Massacre | Naming the Days

Remembering the My Lai Massacre | Naming the Days

The slaughter of greater than 400 unarmed Vietnamese civilians in My Lai and My Khe on March 16, 1968, is one in all the most horrific incidents in American army historical past. It occurred in the aftermath of the shocking Tet offensive, when the North Vietnamese launched a violent and profitable assault on main cities and cities of South Vietnam.

Two commanders for a retaliation transfer — Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker and 2nd Lieutenant William Calley — met no resistance in Son Mỹ, a patchwork of hamlets in Quang which included My Lai. American troopers entered My Lai and with weapons blazing murdered previous males, ladies, and youngsters; they raped ladies, burned homes, poisoned wells, and destroyed livestock. The orgy of killing and destruction lasted 4 hours.

How may such a bloodbath of unarmed Vietnamese happen? Anyone who has seen Stanley Kubrick’s riveting movie Full Metal Jacket will recall the repulsive and hateful programming given by a gung-ho drill sergeant to a bunch of Marine recruits, with intent to remodel them right into a savage band of preventing males. His message is obvious: Thinking is a vice and killing is a advantage. Soldiers of that period report having acquired the identical message of their coaching.

After a wide-ranging cover-up of the incident, Lt. William Calley was court-martialed for his function in the bloodbath. Although convicted of ordering the killings, he was pardoned by President Richard Nixon.

To Name This Day . . .

Spiritual Practice

In her guide Deep Violence, winner of a 2018 S&P Most Spiritually Literate Books award, Joanna Bourke cites the following statistic: “In the twentieth century, between forty-three and fifty-four million non-combatants have been killed due to battle.” This staggering determine bears witness to the indiscriminate lack of life in wars throughout the world. It is actually not a brand new phenomenon, and it continues to at the present time.

In his 2005 guide War and the Soul, Edward Tick examines the results of battle on soliders affected by post-traumatic stress dysfunction. He notes, “We are trapped in a horrible rigidity between the soul’s yearning for realization of the warrior archetype and the realities of a warfare that devastates the soul who seeks it.” Read this excerpt as a place to begin in your moral concerns of the slaughter of innocents in battle.


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