The American Experiance

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The American Experiance

Post by Pconlon on Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:11 am

***** The above named PBS series over a number of years has put out many quality productions ranging from Indian Wars to previous Immigration to Political rivalries to various well known scandals. The narration is always First rate.

****** Two nights ago they ran a compilation of the My Lai saga which was quite informative and in retrospect disturbing. We have just past the 42nd Anniversary of those events and while few ever believed this matter was a microcosm of the overall US involvement it did come along at a very disadvantageous time fot this Country - and those in the then opposition to the US Government readily pounced.

****** While most know the story - I was reinformed of certain specific's and the actual approx. tally of the dead in the area that day.

****** The Peers Commission compiled as much data as was probably possible and did assess proper blame and several had careers diminished or ended. In retrospect a few items do stand out namely that there was an ex post facto coverup . That 11th Brigade Commander Col. Oran Henderson knew from at least one complaining witness that things got way out of hand in Pinkville and that Capt. Ernest Medina was in all probability much more culpable than previously known. He was acquitted in 1971 based on a very good defense by F.Lee Bailey but in retrospect he bore personal responsibility.

***** The one clear factor (never disputed) was that William Calley should never have been Commissioned as an Officer. He personally killed up to a 100 people and if not for divisive politics would probably still be incarcerated. However I know others might differ on this.

****** At the time of My Lai (3/16/68) I was 21 and newly In Country but many miles away . The local population in the Americal area of operations was also always more hostile than in say the BRO areas. This was another Big factor. I have always wondered if I was there in that Company. that platoon , with that much time behind me THEN how I might have conducted myself , or more importantly considered things later and spoke out(???) Obviously most then didn't and those refreshing the memories of others as to that body count according to the PBS documentary got sidelined , or singled out for some hazardous specifics. Medina was a part of this according to the American experience, as some got a lot of "Point" and the residue of the Company was kept away from the Main base camps. Still the word got out and Creighton Abrams in the late summer of 1968 got one letter from an Americal Division individual of which there was little followup on(??)

******* The PBS presentation was sobering and it appears the total tally of Enemy noncombatants that day was possibly close to 500(??) Calley was at one time charged with 102 of them personally. Possibly a few rapes also occured(?)

******** A few years ago on SFTT back channel Roger Charles sent me a compilation of the accountable command individuals and it included 2 Chaplains who also knew more about My Lai but never came forward. Obviously a few of the Men needed to "talk about things"

******* We basically all know that this was an aberration of War and not in keeping with what most would do in normal situations BUT a) things get out of hand b) the wrong guys frequently get to decide andc) few stand up as individuals later on and speak up either out of fear of ostracism or physical safety.

***** Like I said it was disturbing and I cannot Honestly say how then at 21 I would have acted , even in terms of reportage to anyone.


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