Three Heroes at My Lai
And the price they paid for trying to stop a massacre
Ronald L. Haeberle/Wikimedia CommonsOn March 16, 1968, American soldiers from Charlie Company were angry about Viet Cong booby traps, frustrated by recent casualties, and still shaken by the Tet Offensive. They took these resentments out on the residents of two hamlets, slaughtering around 500 unarmed women, children, and elderly people in what is known today as the My Lai massacre.
Whether Capt. Ernest Medina directly ordered his men to kill civilians is doubtful, but he certainly let it happen for hours without intervention. This was no short firefight: It was an extended series of rapes and murders. About half the soldiers participated; about half stood aside and refused to actively participate. But hardly anyone tried to help the victims.
The exceptions—the morsels of humanity—were three men in a helicopter: Hugh Thompson, 25; Lawrence Coburn, 18; and Glenn Andreotta, 20. Given their aerial view of things, the crew was baffled by the number of bodies they were seeing. None of the dead appeared to be armed, or to be even males of soldier age. Twice the crew landed, marked injured civilians for aid, and returned to find them dead. Colburn said later that Medina was the one who killed a woman they had attempted to help.
All this enraged Thompson, the pilot, though by all accounts gunner Colburn and crew chief Andreotta were in full, horrified agreement that something was going wrong. As Thompson said in the 1989 British documentary Four Hours in My Lai,they "started seeing a lot of bodies—it didn't add up, you know, how many people were getting killed and wounded, and we weren't receiving any fire." Thompson radioed back to base there there was "a whole lot of unnecessary killing going on."
Thompson landed and confronted Lt. William Calley, who was busy eliminating civilians. Calley basically told Thompson to mind his own business. Meanwhile, Sgt. David Mitchell made sure nobody was still moving in the irrigation ditch chosen to be the grave of some 70 civilians. Stunned at the nonstop killing, which he later said reminded him of the Nazis, Thompson yelled: "You ain't heard the last of this!"
Some time later, the crew saw several Vietnamese being chased toward a bunker. That was the moment that Thompson chose a side, risking court martial or worse. He landed his helicopter between the soldiers and the civilians, and he told his men to shoot if the soldiers fired on Thompson or on the Vietnamese. They said they would.
Thompson successfully convinced the civilians to come out, and then he demanded help over the radio, convincing two nearby pilots to come to his aid. With aid from a nearby gunship more used to taking out Vietnamese than taking them out of harm's way, around a dozen civilians were removed from the wrath of Charlie Company. Not quite done, the three men took off to search for any more signs of movement.
Andreotta, with only a month left to live himself, saw something. He climbed into the slaughterhouse that had been an irrigation ditch and came out with a child. The crew hand-delivered them to a hospital, Thompson thinking of his own child at home all the while.
When Thompson returned to base he reported to Lt. Col. Frank Barker, who told the forces to stop the slaughter. Trent Angers, author of The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story, says he has "no doubt that Hugh Thompson saved thousands of lives in Vietnam" by kicking up a fuss that halted Taskforce Barker, a plan to cleanse the entirety of the surrounding hamlets. Nobody was overtly saying "kill civilians," but like Medina that day they appeared ready to pacify the population however they could.
After a cover-up failed and the real story came out, the Army was prepared to prosecute the perpetrators. Thompson spent a year as the prosecution's best witness, all the while being browbeaten by powerful men. No less than President Richard Nixon appears to have urged his aide H.R. Haldeman to "discredit one witness" in the My Lai prosecution. Angers argues that Nixon went after Thompson personally.
It wasn't just Nixon. Congressmen, notably F. Edward Hébert (D-La.) and House Armed Service Chairman Mendel Rivers (D-S.C.) joined in the attack According to the chief My Lai prosecutor, Col. William Eckhardt, Hébert and Rivers wanted "to sabotage" the trials. A substantial majority of Americans opposed a life sentence for Lt. Calley, even many of those who agreed his actions were wrong. Calley became a twisted sort of folk hero while Thompson had his loyalty to his country questioned. Many of Thompson's fellow soldiers treated him like a leper.
On top of that, much evidence of the massacre was classified and could not be introduced in court. As a result, the first case—against Sgt. David Mitchell—was dismissed. Others collapsed. Everyone either said they were following orders or swore that they had ordered no such thing.
Eckhardt says he considers any accountability, even having a trial at all, a victory. Medina pled innocent (enough), other higher-ups were dead, still more were already out of the Army and its jurisdiction. Out of 14 people tried, only Calley was convicted, and he only got three years' house arrest—a pitiful punishment for at least 20 murders. "You know, you can blame Richard Nixon, you can do all sorts of things, but it was the country that demanded it," Eckhardt says.
Thompson ended up shutting up about the whole thing for 20 years, while still dutifully flying helicopters for the Army and counseling veterans. Neither he nor Colburn appear to have ever expressed regret or even doubt about their intervention, but it was a long time before they were rewarded for it. Nor were the perps given much punishment.
Thompson and Colburn got some justice eventually. But it wasn't the military or the public who demanded it. After seeing Four Hours in My Lai, a Clemson professor named David Egan was struck by the urge to find out if this soft-spoken Southern man shedding tears onscreen had ever been officially rewarded for putting humanity before country. Thompson had in fact been given and discarded a medal that flat-out lied about what happened at My Lai. Egan thought the man deserved a real one, and he spent the next several years bothering anyone important who would listen about Thompson.
Angers' book details much of the hand-wringing and foot-dragging that took place before Thompson was given the Soldier's Medal. When the medal was dangled in front of him, Thompson demanded that Colburn and Andreotta (posthumously) get one as well, and that the ceremony not be tucked away somewhere quiet. Eckhardt, Angers, and Colburn's widow Lisa all describe the 1998 ceremony at the Vietnam memorial as moving, and as a sort of release.
In the following years, Lawrence Colburn and Hugh Thompson returned to Vietnam several times and were bombarded with letters, praise, and media attention. Lisa Colburn tells Reason that her husband often mentioned the little boy Andreotta had taken from the ditch, wondering how he had fared. The boy, Do Ba, did not have an easy life, and the rest of his family all died at My Lai. But on a 1999 trip to Vietnam, a Quaker group reunited Colburn and Do Ba as a surprise. Lisa recalls that as they drove around on a bus, "Do Ba took Larry's hand, and he held onto [it] the entire day...he wouldn't let go, he held his hand the entire time."
The effects of the men's actions radiated further. Both men were honored to be asked to lecture on military ethics later in life. Says Eckhardt: "You know what the military teaches about My Lai right now?...It says basically, follow Thompson."
Calley and Medina are still alive; the three men who resisted their violent fever are not. But 50 years on, remember these exceptional human beings who did the right thing when they were outnumbered, even if no people in this story got what they deserve. "Most stories, from Greek mythology on, have a hero and a villain," says Eckhardt. "And we know which one's which in this story. And I think we need to concentrate on the hero."
Try and get 40 and 50 year olds to do this shit. Good luck.ReplyDelete
The lesson learned is always the same, the lessons are never learned.ReplyDelete
Vintage Ads from the Heyday of America's Culture
That is the America Deuce pines for - when women were women and men, men.Delete
You always make me long for my emotional support duck, Ash.Delete
Ads from your youth, Quirk.Delete
Say, what advertising were you doing in China ?
You never did say.
I wonder how often My Lai type events happened that we haven't heard anything about ?ReplyDelete
It's a tough way to win hearts and minds.
There were areas we designated 'free fire zones', I recall reading about that.
There wasn't, we should be clear, much virtue on the other side, either.
I think of it as the war nobody won. The Vietnamese got rid of the foreigners but saddled themselves with another totalitarian government.
Perhaps we should have listened to Ho Chi Minh in the beginning, when he offered to work with us if we wouldn't take the place of the French.
The Chinese beings, always, their first concern.
I predict American navy ships with be docked in Vietnamese harbors once again one of these days, this time with the invitation of all the Vietnamese.
A thousand years ago the Chinese were in there on 3 occasions, once for nearly a hundred years, before being pushed out.
At the end of American involvement the Vietnamese and the Chinese had some battles on their mutual border.
Vietnamese primary concern has been their language and group identity. It's why they are still speaking Vietnamese rather than Chinese.
They didn't like the change of the name on the western maps to 'French IndoChina'.
I feel for everyone.
I wouldn't like the maps here to be changed to 'Sino-North America'.ReplyDelete
Neither would you.
Will McCabe be indicted?ReplyDelete
50%-50% I guess.
Flynn being indicted, McCabe certainly should be too.
All hell is going to break loose.
TRUMP WARNS MUELLERDelete
DRUDGE POLL: FIRE HIM?....DRUDGE
Make your opinion felt now, vote in the Drudge poll !
I just did.
81% now voting for Trump to fire Mueller.
9,375 Total Votes so far, poll has been open for a few minutes.Delete
For The Legally Minded Among Us OnlyReplyDelete
Mueller’s Investigation Flouts Justice Department Standards
By ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
March 17, 2018 6:30 AM
Rand Paul Battles The Rise Of Neocons Within The Trump Administration
Promises Made - Promises Broken
For Those With A Mind Like Quirk's OnlyReplyDelete
The Cambridge Analytica Files
‘I created Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower
For more than a year we’ve been investigating Cambridge Analytica and its links to the Brexit Leave campaign in the UK and Team Trump in the US presidential election. Now, 28-year-old Christopher Wylie goes on the record to discuss his role in hijacking the profiles of millions of Facebook users in order to target the US electorate
by Carole Cadwalladr
It's all too much for me.
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The road there, if you'll let a guide direct you....
....This was no playhouse but a house in earnest.
Your destination and your destiny's
A brook that was the water of the house,
Cold as a spring as yet so near its source,
Too lofty and original to rage.
(We know the valley streams that when aroused
Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)
I have kept hidden in the instep arch
Of an old cedar at the waterside
A broken drinking goblet like the Grail
Under a spell so the wrong ones can't find it,
So can't get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn't.
(I stole the goblet from the children's playhouse.)
Here are your waters and your watering place.
Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.
But then, I really never did give a shit about politics.
If there is evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it will be in the platform’s data flows, he says. And Wylie’s revelations only move it on again.ReplyDelete
Exactly what I have often thought.
Millions of people’s personal information was stolen and used to target them in ways they wouldn’t have seen, and couldn’t have known about, by a mercenary outfit, Cambridge Analytica, who, Wylie says, “would work for anyone”. Who would pitch to Russian oil companies. Would they subvert elections abroad on behalf of foreign governments?Delete
It occurs to me to ask Wylie this one night.
Nato or non-Nato?
“Either. I mean they’re mercenaries. They’ll work for pretty much anyone who pays.”
It’s an incredible revelation. It also encapsulates all of the problems of outsourcing – at a global scale, with added cyberweapons. And in the middle of it all are the public – our intimate family connections, our “likes”, our crumbs of personal data, all sucked into a swirling black hole that’s expanding and growing and is now owned by a politically motivated billionaire.
The Facebook data is out in the wild. And for all Wylie’s efforts, there’s no turning the clock back.
Tamsin Shaw, a philosophy professor at New York University, and the author of a recent New York Review of Books article on cyberwar and the Silicon Valley economy, told me that she’d pointed to the possibility of private contractors obtaining cyberweapons that had at least been in part funded by US defence.
She calls Wylie’s disclosures “wild” and points out that “the whole Facebook project” has only been allowed to become as vast and powerful as it has because of the US national security establishment.
“It’s a form of very deep but soft power that’s been seen as an asset for the US. Russia has been so explicit about this, paying for the ads in roubles and so on. It’s making this point, isn’t it? That Silicon Valley is a US national security asset that they’ve turned on itself.”
Or, more simply: blowback.
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA denies sneaking FACEBOOK data for Trump campaign....DRUDGEDelete
Cambridge Analytica denies using Facebook data for Trump campaign, says it's cooperating with the social network
Cambridge Analytica is defending itself from charges that it misused data illicitly obtained from Facebook users.
The social network suspended the firm from its site, accusing Cambridge of holding information it claims to have deleted.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner blasted the dispute as evidence of a 'Wild West' mentality in online political advertising.
More lies from the minions of Cadet Bone Spur
Cambridge Analytica just another coconspirerator in treason
Promises Made - Promises Broken
Congressman offers McCabe temporary job so that he can qualify for his full pension...and it might work.
That's one way of protesting Andrew McCabe's firing as deputy FBI director, roughly a day before he was set to retire: At least one Democratic congressman has offered McCabe a temporary job so he can get full retirement benefits — and McCabe appears to be considering.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) announced Saturday afternoon that he has offered McCabe a job to work on election security in his office, “so that he can reach the needed length of service” to retire.
Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post
“My offer of employment to Mr. McCabe is a legitimate offer to work on election security,” Pocan said in a statement. “Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy and both Republicans and Democrats should be concerned about election integrity.”
A spokeswoman for McCabe, Melissa Schwartz, didn't immediately rule out a job with one of the most liberal members of Congress, which might only need to last for a day or so for him to get his full retirement benefits: “We are considering all options.”
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted that he'd consider hiring McCabe, too.
It's not immediately clear if getting fired from the FBI on a Friday and going to work on Capitol Hill on a Monday would solve McCabe's problems for certain, though at least one former federal official with knowledge of retirement rules says it probably would...
You should bring him into your advertising firm, Quirk.Delete
Demand half his pension payments....
If he accepts, throw A Dinner Party inviting himself, Peter StrzoK and lover Lisa Page, Comey,the corrupt FISA Judge, O'bozo and even Hillary !Delete
Invite Mike Lindell too as The Honored High Priest Of Lifetime Frauds.Delete
Make certain you record the entire event.Delete
(for posterity's sake)Delete
The Coming Collusion BloodbathReplyDelete
Kevin McCullough Kevin McCullough |Posted: Mar 18, 2018 12:01 AM
....There was collusion in the election of 2016. It involved Russians, a British ex-spy, law firms, FBI agents, DOJ attorneys, an FBI director that prejudged evidence, an Attorney General that had an unethical meeting with the spouse of a target, FISA warrants obtained on faulty information that stemmed from political sources, a Deputy Director whose wife received monetary support in an election, an FBI director who lied to Congress, an FBI Deputy Director who lied to the Justice Department’s Inspector General, loads of classified materials that were mishandled and criminally passed to those without clearances, and partisan hacks spearheading inquiries aiming for political outcomes. The scope of this collusion is overwhelming, the attempts are a damning indictment of political operatives that have lost all integrity, and sadly an administration, a major political party, and agents of a deep state that attempted in a wide sweeping number of ways to undo an election that they lost.
Former high-ranking FBI officials (like Chris Swetzer who appeared with Harris Faulkner’s FoxNews broadcast on Friday) believe that the Inspector General’s coming report will be explosive.
For the sake of justice, above all else, I hope it brings clarity to a story our modern media landscape is highly invested in keeping as convoluted as possible.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I had the same reaction.
March 17, 2018ReplyDelete
McCabe waiting for his indictment now
By Thomas Lifson
The odds are high that an indictment will be forthcoming for Andrew McCabe. As the ever alert Sundance of Conservative Treehouse points out, the statement on his firing by A.G. Sessions specifically noted that he "lacked candor" (the FBI's expression for lying) "under oath."
March 18, 2018ReplyDelete
McCabe's firing begins the war on the Deep State
By Richard Jack Rail
We can expect liberaldom to come unglued following the firing of Andrew McCabe, erstwhile second in command at the FBI, just 24 hours before his lucrative government pension kicked in.
McCabe had made "unauthorized disclosures to the news media" (leaked confidential information) and "lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions" (lied to the FBI). For the latter alone, he could have been bankrupted, as Bob Mueller bankrupted Mike Flynn.
No sympathy for you in these precincts, McCabe. You're a bad apple who shielded other bad apples (Strzok and Page, inter alia). Many will be pleased when all those others follow you into shame, humiliation, and joblessness without pension. It's exactly what you deserve. May you also go to prison, something else richly deserved.
With the McCabe firing, the Trump administration declares war on the lawless Deep State. One just hopes there are enough honest, courageous people left in the FBI and the Justice Department to carry through the nasty work ahead. We should in time see virtually the entire cast of lead FBI characters under (and including) James Comey and Robert Mueller in the dock and, we can hope, all of them off to jail.
The Deep State will fight back savagely. The murder of reporter Seth Rich over a year ago is almost certainly an example of what the vicious left does to protect its own. The "war" between left and right is about to move out from under quotation marks and into cold, hard reality.
Interesting times ahead, indeed.
“Reluctantly I have concluded that President Trump is a serious threat to US national security,” General McCaffrey charged. “He is refusing to protect vital US interests from active Russian attacks.”
“It is apparent that he is for some unknown reason under the sway of Mr Putin,” he added.
The MSNBC host asked retired United States Navy Admiral Games Stavridis about McCaffrey’s comments.
“What are your thoughts on this?,” Witt asked.
“I know the general well,” the retired admiral noted. “I have a lot of regard for his opinions, he does not state them loosely.”
“In terms of the current situation with Russia, our president needs to understand that Vladimir Putin is no friend to the United States, that Russia is actively seeking to undermine our nation not only domestically but our foreign policy as well,”
Admiral Stravidis explained.
“I agree with Gen. McCaffrey that our president does not spend enough time focused on the threat that is emanating from Russia today.”
Promises Made - Promises Broken
Jack likes war mongering Generals and Admirals.Delete
The Admiral and the General and Jack seem to have forgotten, conveniently, the large increase in defense spending under The Donald, and that The Donald is now shipping lethal weaponry to Ukraine.ReplyDelete
Selective memory syndrome anyone ?
MPD on Display
Convoluted thinking from 'Stanley' identified in the recent competency hearing as 'Identity 8' in the faux farmer's panoply of 'personalities' by mental health professionals.
The disassociation and bifurcated thinking is strong in the farmer's various personalities but especially so in 'Stanley'. In one instance, he defends Trump against those who argue he is failing to use the full range of diplomatic tools at his disposal to defend against a man and nation that have in the past and continues today to attack the foundations of our democracy. On the other, he cites approvingly Trump's warmongering tendencies as evidenced in his massive arms build-up and his interference in conflicts in Eastern Europe.
You've become unglued, Quirk. Go join with Me-Me. Chill. Join. Become whole again beyond confusion lest you become tragic.Delete
Take a lesson from a Master Joiner -
Joining is a conscious, therapeutic form of empathy used by the analyst. As explained metaphorically by one modern analyst, "[i]n fine woodworking, joinery is used to connect two pieces of wood (e.g., a leg to a table top, a drawer face to its sides) in a way that increases the amount of contact between the two, thereby strengthening the connection. This is precisely what joining in therapeutic pursuits is designed to accomplish: to increase the contact and the connection between two individuals. Joining can be the glue that helps two parties stay together long enough and tightly enough to accomplish something therapeutic."
March 18, 2018
Donald Trump, the Very Stable Genius Psychiatrist
By Deborah C. Tyler
Speaking of mental issues...
A Guide for the Gender Perplexed
As the debate about transgender rights is forced upon one community after another, frequently through the cynical deployment of schoolchildren by professional activists, Anderson’s book serves as a guide for the perplexed. Sharply argued and admirably brief, it offers a compendium of facts and reasoning for parents and anyone else who seeks confirmation of their moral intuition and common sense. How delighted they will be to discover that they’re not crazy after all.
In our transgender moment, as Anderson calls it, bullying is the favored method of advancing the cause. It is, after all, easier than debating a change in government policy. Laymen, ordinary citizens, are generally unaware of the extent to which the vocations of medicine, psychology, and psychiatry have been overrun by cultural warriors, especially through their professional organizations. Politicized psychologists and psychiatrists are quick to flash their guild cards the moment an uncredentialed skeptic questions their “scientific” findings, no matter how implausible...
Metrosexualism is only a very mild version of the above mentioned STD (Socially Transmitted Disease), an indicator and tendency rather than a full blown symptom, a caution and something to be aware of.
NKorea to Meet for Talks With USA, SKorea in Helsinki.... DRUDGEReplyDelete
McCabe's message to Trump that he was keeping notes was not to Trump. It was a warning to all the other rats, all the way to Obama, that he has notes on them. Watch him try to cut a deal.ReplyDelete
Fire that no good SOB Mueller. Trump needs to get out the brass knuckles.
Maria Bartiromo just had an old retired FBI guy on who really gave them all hell.ReplyDelete
He agrees with you about getting Kenyatta.
John Brennan is another Dirty Rat.
He need to build some additional prison space.
We need to build some additional prison space.Delete
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