Sunday, August 05, 2012

My Lai

From a link in Popehat:
“the Lieutenant Colonel started his lecture abruptly. Listen Lieutenants. I want to make one thing clear, William Calley is a convicted MUR-DER-ER!”
Yes, the voice of authority. My understanding is that another colonel had called out the platoon the night before at 2 AM and had them stand at attention. He told them they were to kill everyone in the village. He had been a mortician in civilian life. The platoon had taken casualties approaching the village on foot apparently from female black clad female NVA, Relevant? When they helicoptered in, there was no resistance. Apparently the NVA had pulled out though a machine gun positioned outside the village prevented a counterattack. The platoon stood around. Calley raised his rifle and said he would kill anybody who didn’t start shooting. As the valedictory to historian John Keegan quotes in Volokh today, “Codifications of international law are a useful template for organizing the categories of a soldier’s duties. But, in the end, the culture relevant to respect for inter-national humanitarian law is not the culture of legality and the cult of lawyers, but instead it is the culture of the professional honour of soldiers, and what they are willing or not willing to do on the battlefield.” By the way, the colonel here was shortly shot from the sky in a helicopter, killed.

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