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Three Heroes at My Lai

And the price they paid for trying to stop a massacre

SP5 Capezza burning a Vietnamese dwelling. 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."

Photo Credit: Ronald L. Haeberle/Wikimedia Commons

Lucy Steigerwald is a journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as Playboy, The American Conservative, Vice, The Daily Beast, and The Washington Post. Previously, she worked as an associate editor for Reason and as a freelance editor for the New York Observer. She is currently a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.

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  • Sterling Archer||

    Lucy's back?

    Did she bring Dragons and The Unsullied?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Only Lucy could go to My Lai.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Lucy Steigerwoah!

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    No one talks about Lucy!

  • Shirley Knott||

    So we can have either Lucy or links?

    I am disappoint.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Lucy is a rare treat. Links, not so much.

  • Robert||

    No, it's between Lucy & alt-text.

  • vek||

    War is a bitch! This kind of stuff happens all the time, although usually on a smaller scale. I can't honestly say that I wouldn't want to just waste a ton of people from the enemy "team" after watching my friends get their brains blown out, arms blown off, etc. I'd like to think I wouldn't kill women and children, which I think is accurate for me, but I'm pretty sure I'd shoot surrendering soldiers under the right circumstances. That's a suuuuuuper common occurrence.

    This is why we should only go into wars that are truly justified. Nam is one of the ones I have a hard time with. Iraq, and all our more recent middle eastern stupidity is totally uncalled for. But Nam I can almost understand in the context of the time. In hindsight it was a waste, but who knew that at the time? I mean we did save, at great cost, half of Korea from becoming an oppressed communist dictatorship just a few years before... Who knew Vietnam would go soooooo badly? Communism was a global threat, and hell the whole world could get blown up in a nuclear war any minute anyway!

    So it is tough to reconcile.

  • Zeb||

    An uncle of mine was a marine in Vietnam. He never talks about it at all. I don't think I've heard him say a single word about his military experience. The only think I've heard him say that is even vaguely related (I think it was regarding a conversation about some of the things that happened in the first Iraq war) is "war is hell".

    War is pretty much getting people to do horrible things to other people that very few people would ever think they could do under normal conditions. Of course atrocities are going to happen. Which, as you say, is one big reason why you shouldn't get involved in a war unless you really have to.

  • vek||

    Yup. I've known a few people that were just the nicest guys in the world, didn't seem like they'd hurt a fly... Then I found out they were in Vietnam. One guy, a real estate agent, had a good chunk of his wall covered by commendations. I can't remember what all they were, but some of them were pretty high level stuff, because I/my dad actually knew the names of the medals. I found out later that he was a chopper pilot, who got shot down and spend time as a POW. He and several other guys escaped under sketchy circumstances, shooting their way out from many miles behind enemy lines. He went back to flying. Just crazy stuff you'd never expect.

    Another guy I do business with had passingly mentioned being in the army once or twice with no real context. Then one time he just started talking about being over in Vietnam, his buddies getting killed. You could hear the pain in his voice. It was pretty messed up. His exact phrase to sum it all up? "War is hell."

    I also worked with a guy when I was younger who was in Asghanistan as a translator. He is Iranian and spoke Farsi and one or two other languages from over that direction. He had some messed up stories man. Like going into villages with generals, kidnapping, and then torturing village elders for intel. He was pretty messed up in the head by some of the stuff he saw over there.

    It really does push regular guys to do things they NEVER would under other circumstances. Useless wars are the worst thing on earth for 1000 reasons.

  • MoreFreedom||

    This brings to mind the wise words of George Washington: trade with all, ally with none. That ally with none, is what would keep us from getting involved in a lot of killing, which also creates more people who hate the US and want to become terrorists killing innocent Americans.

  • Robert||

    If I conducted war, it'd be nothing but atrocities. That's its purpose: to be as evil as possible, so nobody dares fuck with you.

  • Robert||

    And I'm one of the nicest people I know. If I had to make war, I'd turn all that niceness around completely. So that I could stay nice the rest of the time, which would preferably be forever, once people got my drift.

  • Nige||

    You're nice but you have violent power fantasies of committing horrific atrocities justified by the perception of war as a state of moral vacuum. It's always the quiet ones.

  • vek||

    I somewhat agree with your general position. I kind of feel the same. If you're going to get involved in a war, it should be one worthy of entering, and you should commit total war until you achieve total victory.

    I think our pussy footing around is part of the reason stuff is so messed up now. Look at how Israel handles shit. Waaaay better than us, and they get far more respect IMO.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    A friend was on some mission behind lines, waiting with some buddies, when a 3 year old girl was sent out from a village with a basket of flowers, with a remote controlled bomb in it which killed his buddies. He said from then on, he considered the VC as just pigs to slaughter, that if they could use a 3 year old girl as a weapon, they were not human, and whenever he killed any of them after that, he gutted them like pigs. I know he believes his story, but I don't know any back story, any related happenings. Americans sure didn't belong there. Maybe the girl was from a family who had collaborated with the foreigners. Maybe it wasn't a bomb in the basket, but a mortar shell. No ideas other than a lot of wold speculation.

    War is hell. If you aren't willing to give hell, or accept hell, you shouldn't get involved.

  • vek||

    Yeah, it's messed up stuff. But they really did do stuff like that. Hell the Arabs are doing it now! It would be pretty hard to not go a little overboard after stuff like that. Even in more "honorable wars" like with the Nazis, we shot soldiers who surrendered all the time, and so did they, even on the western front. But I'm inclined to believe his story unless he's a known tall tale teller.

    God that reminded me of a guy my dad knew back in the day. Apparently he was a Green Beret who had some kind of equally messed up thing happen to his buddies, and he snapped. He never took any prisoners after that, just shot them all on site. Killed a bunch of civilians. Then things got real bad... He basically started just gutting people after he killed them, cutting off their heads, putting them on poles... Apparently literally started an ear on a necklace collection. If that isn't the ultimate crazy thing to do I don't know what is... Like he went completely overboard.

  • vek||

    He was so bad that even in an army that tried to cover this massacre up, they gave him a psych evaluation, and transferred him away from combat duty because he was being too crazy. My dad said he believed the guy, because he was kind of a psycho still when he knew him in the 80s. He was still talking about this stuff like it was the most awesome thing ever then. Like he just never came back all the way. Fucked up stuff man.

    P.S. And to any vets reading this, sorry. Not trying to stir anything up, or say you're all like this... Hell even if you did some stuff, it doesn't make you an irredeemable person... I can't even imagine going through these things, so no judgement.

  • gormadoc||

    The Japanese did shit like that in WWII. It's usually blamed on their racism and disdain for non-Japanese, but now I wonder how much of it was from breaking due to the sheer insanity of difficult, protracted, war.

  • EvilWayz||

    As of WWII the Japanese people had been at continuous war since the 12th century. They are a martial people, and it was in their blood. What we consider atrocities and war crimes, they simply thought of as applying Bushido to Allied troops. When you consider that being ordered to commit ritual suicide when you screwed up was part of normal military procedure, combined with the fact that they thought the Japanese race was descended directly from the sun god, you can see why they didn't think what they did was wrong.

  • JoeBlow123||

    This is bollocks. Japanese were no more warlike or martial than anyone else, they just lost the war and tried to establish an empire after the Europeans and Americans decided it was unfashionable. You act like Europeans did not perfect the art of killing other Europeans over the course of centuries.

  • vek||

    The Japanese thought themselves superior to everybody else, like most cultures do, and dehumanized the enemy. But plenty of it was probably just snapping too!

  • silver.||

    Child soldiers, etc are a well-known weakness of American troops. If you can't even trust a 3-year-old non-combatant, you've got to shut down your humanity to survive. I can honestly understand why Calley and Medina acted the way they did. It makes the actions of the three in this article even more remarkable.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    The LA Sheriff's Department used to have a stress test that they put prospective deputies through at the end of their basic training. The deputy is in a cinematic box with street scenes depicted as the deputy "walked" down the street. Deputy dispatches all the bad guys, and the last thing he comes to is some kids playing cowboy with toy guns. Of course he ignores them, and one of the kids shoots him dead. The LASD stopped the program when someone with half a brain convinced them that there is a fine but necessary line between vigilance and paranoia.

  • Robert||

    What if the deputy shot the kids 1st? I mean all the kids? Made him sheriff?

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    In hindsight it was a waste, but who knew that at the time?

    Plenty of people.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    I did.

  • SunkCost||

    McNamara knew. It was in the pentagon papers.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The above message was brought to you by First Responders™ for Genocide. What happened at My Lai was US government employees showing up on orders from looter Kleptocracy politicians like Richard Nixon and finding people unarmed and unable to defend themselves. Vietnam has no Second Amendment...

  • Alan Vanneman||

    As a Vietnam vet, thanks for running this story. I had returned from Vietnam when Calley was convicted and then allowed by Richard Nixon to remain free until his appeal was considered. Never have I felt so ashamed of having been a soldier.

  • H. Farnham||

    You get a lot of shit on these boards, but thank you for your service.

  • vek||

    Gotta have good guys in the military too man to keep things from getting too out of hand. So thanks for being there.

  • Echospinner||

    My dad was there. He was a surgeon in a medevac unit. There were a few things he talked about later. He always mentioned that his unit was the first to treat civilian war casualties and he felt that was a great accomplishment.

    He also talked about the missions he went on to treat people in the Montagnard villages. We know the sorry history of what happened to them later.

    One incident that he mentioned often was when Ted Kennedy showed up at the base. My father approached him and asked him to come visit the wounded. Kennedy refused and my dad never forgave him for that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The consequences of sending young Americans to get maimed for life is too much for most pussy politicians who usually cannot even follow the rules and declare war when the USA needs to fight.

  • hamilton||

    Wait, are we talking about Lucy now?
    Should someone inform Episiarch?

  • JFree||

    Even 50 years later, this sort of event - that challenges the very notion that we Americans are always on the right side - is really uncomfortable to think about. Which is probably exactly why we need to keep remembering.

  • SIV||

    Calley and Medina are still alive

    At least their My Lai commander-in-chief, LBJ, is dead.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    Can recommend: http://historyonfirepodcast.co.....and-my-lai

    Don't know why there is not a direct download like there, but you can find it wherever you usually find your favorite podcast.

  • ||

    I've always wondered why Calley has never spoken up about what happened.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "The exceptions—the morsels of humanity—were three men in a helicopter: Hugh Thompson, 25; Lawrence Coburn, 18; and Glenn Andreotta, 20."

    Was what they Mai Lai guys did right? No. But we were not there. I am not comfortable throwing shade on people who were normal people under normal circumstances but snapped when subjected to never ending shit they were ill trained and ill prepared for.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Is it still considered snapping 4 hours into the slaughter?

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Speaking for myself, I really don't know. I imagine "snapping" is the point where you've reached the end of your ability to cope with the situation and rationality breaks down. I don't know that mere passage of time fixes that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    People have different breaking points.

    Killing innocents is just not very American-like.

  • Kivlor||

    Someone doesn't know their war history that well my dude. Killing innocents is what all sides do in war. Shit, look at how we bombed civilian Germans and Japs intentionally in WWII. How warfare with Indian tribes was handled.

    I've always been amazed--at least since High School--at this whole "We're above that. Americans don't kill innocents but X do" lie. I guess if it helps you sleep at night.

  • JoeBlow123||

    It is war. Yes.

    I cannot pretend I would not do the same thing if I had to deal with what they dealt with. I also understand why Iraqis would pick up guns and smoke Americans or drop IEDs everywhere when they are seeing their neighbors bombed and blown up. And lets be honest here, the Vietcong owned these villagers either through sympathy or violence, few people were truly innocent in any sense of the word. The Vietnamese wanted the foreigners dead, totally understandable, so the men took up arms while the women looked after the farms and families and supplied the men intelligence and food and safe harbor. I actually visited the Iron Triangle area where the Vietcong tunnel complex was, it was like a days walk from downtown Saigon. You can drive their from downtown Saigon in an hour. And this area was never flushed out fully from Vietcong, one hour drive from the South Vietnamese capital. This is because the Vietnamese hated the foreigners and wanted them gone, both men and women and children. I see few of them as innocent of the violence, victims of violence and perpetrators of violence yes, but not innocent of it. You do not need to be an adult man or have a gun to participate in a war.

    I am not really into the lie people tell themselves that they would not do this. I call bullshit. We just are privileged to not live in an environment where the most significant choice we make is which iPhone to buy or if we want Starbucks today.

  • JoeBlow123||

    You want to tell me it was immoral and wrong to start the war? Sure. But it is silly to think war can be waged in some nice manner. You wage a war to end a war. If you have to be nice in the war, if you have to fight the war on the ground and in the airwaves, then it probably was a dumb war to begin with started for stupid reasons that have nothing to do with national security. People are not fools, they know when they are dying and committing atrocities for a dumb reason that has nothing to do with protecting their homes.

    You do not hear to many people raising hell about the massive firebombing campaigns waged against the evil Japs or evil Nazis in WWII do we? I cant say I have heard of many WWII vets wanting to give back their campaign ribbons because of the atrocities they committed during WWII either. Imagine that? Maybe we just were nicer in that war than in Vietnam?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Observe the Gee Oh Pee sockpuppet is making it sound as though the LBJ-Nixon Congress had declared war. War crimes do not make a war... just cowardly murder as described by Lysander Spooner

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Well killing innocent women and children seems like a pretty clear violation of the non aggression principle to me so I'll throw some shade. Kinda baffling to see people who call themselves libertarians defending this shit.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    They killed hundreds of civilians. They deserve all the "shade" they get, and then some. "Just following orders" doesn't work when police do it, and "snapped" won't work in a trial against a U.S. mass murderer. Stop being apologetic.

  • Marshal||

    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.

    Why would you present "country" as the competing loyalty? Nothing about being American requires committing atrocities as the man stopping them demonstrated. Is this some "nationalism is the root of all evil" bullshit? Considering how exacting Reason is on other people's biases you're awfully free with your own.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I was against the Vietnam War when Kennedy was escalating it from Green Berets offering training, through LBJ and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, all the way to the evacuation from Saigon. We had a lot of it right, and some of it wrong.

    One of my good friends was a Green Beret who saw extensive combat. He was appalled by My Lai but told me he understood it. Basically he said that this was a war in which you could not readily tell who the combatants on the other side were, and that My Lai was more or less just an extension of what American soldiers faced and fought every day. That there were no "innocents", and to think there were was just a welcome to an early grave.

    I can't say I agree with that, but I understand it. I never had to carry a weapon (4-A) or do a patrol in the jungle, but I found it hard to argue with my friend without descending into condescending moralism. Without defending this senseless slaughter it's hard to dispute what soldiers there did on a daily basis if you weren't there faced with the same issues.

  • Robert||

    That's not how it's supposed to work. You're supposed to hold the women & children hostage until the men come & surrender. After a while, you start torturing the hostages until you get results. Just slaughtering them gets you nowhere.

  • Chris3125||

    You're a fucking Nazi piece of shit.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Your sarc meter is shooting sparks.

  • Robert||

    Your lai? What about mine?

  • Chris3125||

    I read through the comments and it's apparent most of you are nothing but Nazi apologizing good Germans.

    Your bloody excuses didn't work for the Nazis and they sure do not excuse your war criminals in Vietnam.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    You fail at reading.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Huh. I reached the same conclusion as Chris. Maybe you should work on your reading comprehension.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Gaear Grimsrud | 3.18.18 @ 12:25AM | #

    "No, you fail at reading!"

    How clever.

    Anyway, commenters: BestUsedCarSales, SIV, JFree, loveconstitution1789, Marshal, Unrepentant Curmudgeon, Echospinner, Alan Vanneman, H. Farnham, MoreFreedom, Nige, Marty Feldman's Eyes, Chris3125, Hank Phillips and *you* do not fit your assessment and comprise the majority of present commenters (when added to FoE and the others just here to talk about "Lucy").

    JoeBlow, vek, .silver, Robert, Kivlor, Scarecrow, A Thinking Mind and a few others could technically fit your estimation, but only if you ignore half of what they say or assume the worst possible subtext. And they are still outnumbered by the former regardless.

    Don't get into an argument with someone who has untreated OCD, Mr. Grimsrud.

  • vek||

    Hey man, all I did was admit the truth. I've watched a lot of documentaries about various wars, and one thing that always comes up is that guys never knew what they themselves were capable of in a time of war.

    All I did was admit that I may have the same failings as others often do. This comes from experience of knowing really nice guys who saw some shit overseas. I then said that even for the guys that do snap, I basically forgive them I guess?

    In Vietnam most of those guys didn't even want to be there. If you got drafted, sent over to fight a war, and then watched dozens of the closest friends you ever had in your life get turned into fucking pink mist by enemy mortars, or have their heads blown off 2 feet beside you with an AK, etc...

    How would YOU react buddy?

    I don't know how I would, and I admitted as much. I've never been tested. I like to think I'd stay on the nice side... But I'm man enough to admit maybe I wouldn't, because lots of other good people don't. Killing non combatants, surrendered soldiers etc is incredibly common. It's more common than not historically.

    So take your judgemental bullshit and shove it. I'm not going to judge some guy who went through hell like that. Maybe especially crazy stuff like this I will denounce... But not the one off things that a LOT more people do.

  • Chris3125||

    You stupid fucks - you were invaders in Vietnam. Get that through your thick skulls.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Yeah and the Vietnamese wanted to kill Americans. Understandable, I would do the same unless I thought they could help my side or if accepting subjugation/defeat was less worse than accepting a possible death.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    So what? The locals were just as democidal. Never gets any less odd to me, how the one time leftists are "down" with ethno-nationalism is when we invade some place and the locals send their toddlers out with bombs "because Mother Country!".

  • vek||

    1. I don't endorse foreign interventions in general. WWII is the only war I think we REALLY had a good reason to enter, and that's only after Pearl Harbor.

    2. You forget that a large minority of Vietnamese wanted our help to stop the communists. It wasn't like we engineered the entire thing. This very same thing happened in Korea, but we kinda won there and saved half the country. It failed in Vietnam.

    So while I don't endorse this kind of foreign policy, understand EVERY COUNTRY ON EARTH DOES. Other than the Swiss. So it's not like it's a weird thing.

  • Hank Phillips||

    My Lai? Why do Republican telejournalists keep calling it Aleppo?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It is remarkable to watch self-described libertarians attempt to defend the atrocities at My Lai.

    Until one recalls that most of these folks are just authoritarian conservatives who don't have the courage to be themselves, so they don flimsy libertarian drag and pretend they aren't stale-thinking right-wingers -- without fooling anyone other them perhaps themselves and each other.

    What a bunch of principle- and character-deprived losers.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Anyway, commenters: BestUsedCarSales, SIV, JFree, loveconstitution1789, Marshal, Unrepentant Curmudgeon, Echospinner, Alan Vanneman, H. Farnham, MoreFreedom, Nige, Marty Feldman's Eyes, Chris3125, Hank Phillips, [Gaear Grimsrud] and *you* do not fit your assessment and comprise the majority of present commenters (when added to FoE and the others just here to talk about "Lucy").

    JoeBlow, vek, .silver, Robert, Kivlor, Scarecrow, A Thinking Mind and a few others could technically fit your estimation, but only if you ignore half of what they say or assume the worst possible subtext. And they are still outnumbered by the former regardless.
  • Bongo Supreme||

    Don't forget to talk about the liberal-libertarian alliance and how everyone you don't like is a backwards redneck who's afraid of ~progress~.

    Seriously, you need new talking points.

  • Bongo Supreme||

    A very moving piece.

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