Leitnants Viljams Kalijs izvirzīja apsūdzību par slaktiņu My Lai

Leitnants Viljams Kalijs izvirzīja apsūdzību par slaktiņu My Lai


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Leitnants Kalijs, 23. (amerikāņu) divīzijas 11. kājnieku brigādes (vieglā) Čārlija rotas pulka vadītājs, bija vadījis savus vīrus Vjetnamas civiliedzīvotāju, tostarp sieviešu un bērnu, slaktiņā. , ciematu kopums, kas veidoja Son My ciematu Son Tinh apgabalā Quang Ngai provincē I korpusa taktiskās zonas piekrastes zemienē 1968. gada 16. martā. Uzņēmums visu gadu veica operācijas ietvaros meklēšanas un iznīcināšanas misiju. Wheeler/Wallowa (no 1967. gada novembra līdz 1968. gada novembrim).

Meklējot 48. Viet Kong (VC) vietējo spēku bataljonu, vienība iegāja Son My ciematā, bet atrada tikai sievietes, bērnus un sirmgalvjus. Sarūgtināti par neatbildētajiem zaudējumiem snaiperu un mīnu dēļ, karavīri izsauca dusmas uz ciema iedzīvotājiem, bez izņēmuma šaujot cilvēkus, skrienot no savām būdiņām, un sistemātiski noapaļojot izdzīvojušos, it kā novedot viņus līdz tuvējam grāvim, kur viņi tika izpildīti.

Tiek ziņots, ka slepkavība tika pārtraukta tikai tad, kad virsnieks Hjū Tompsons, aviācijas izlūka helikoptera pilots, nosēdināja savu helikopteru starp amerikāņiem un bēgošajiem dienvidvjetnamiešiem, stājoties pretī karavīriem un neļaujot viņiem turpmāk rīkoties pret ciema iedzīvotājiem. Pēc tam incidents tika slēpts, bet galu galā tas tika atklāts gadu vēlāk.

LASĪT VAIRĀK: Kā armijas aizsegs padarīja My Lai slaktiņu vēl sliktāku

Armijas izmeklēšanas padome ģenerālleitnanta Viljama Pērsa vadībā izmeklēja slaktiņu un sagatavoja sarakstu ar 30 personām, kuras zināja par šo zvērību, bet tikai 14, tostarp Kalliju un viņa rotas komandieri kapteini Ernestu Medinu, apsūdzēja noziegumos. . Visus beidzot apsūdzības noraidīja vai kara tiesa attaisnoja, izņemot Kalliju, kuras pulks esot nogalinājis 200 nevainīgus. Viņš tika atzīts par vainīgu 22 civiliedzīvotāju slepkavībā un viņam tika piespriests mūža ieslodzījums, bet Militāro apelāciju tiesa viņa sodu samazināja līdz 20 gadiem, bet armijas sekretārs vēlāk samazināja līdz 10 gadiem. Liela sabiedrības daļa tika pasludināta par “grēkāzi”, un prezidents Ričards Niksons 1978. gadā atbrīvoja Calley pēc apmēram trešdaļas no 10 gadu soda.


Leitnants Viljams Kallijs apsūdzēja Manas Lai slaktiņā - VĒSTURE

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Šodien, 1969. gadā, Amerikas Savienoto Valstu armijas leitnantam Viljamam Kalijam tika izvirzītas apsūdzības sešās apsūdzībās par slepkavību par viņa lomu slepkavībā My My. Kallija rīcība kā komandierim komandierim Vjetnamas kara laikā palīdzētu aizdedzināt degvielu pretkara ugunsgrēkos, kas dega ASV, un aizdedzinātu daudzu kaislības, kuras pirms tam nebija piedalījušās debatēs par karu.

Mana Lai bija ciemats, kas atrodas Vjetnamas dienvidos, Quang Ngai provincē. Tā bija pazīstama Vjetkongas aktivitāšu perēklis, tik daudz, ka šī teritorija bieži bija uzlidojumu un artilērijas apšaudes mērķis. Teta ofensīvas laikā 1968. gadā Vjetkongs veica vairākas operācijas provincē un pēc tam pazuda, šķietami gaisā. ASV armijas izlūkošana uzskatīja, ka Vjetkongas spēki ir patvērušies My Lai un vairākos citos tuvējos ciematos, un tāpēc armija plānoja 16. marta ofensīvu šajā teritorijā.

Čārlija rota, 1. bataljons, 20. kājnieku pulks, 11. brigāde, Amerikāņu divīzija bija viena no vienībām, kurai bija paredzēts piedalīties ofensīvā. Vienu no kompānijas grupējumiem vadīja leitnants Viljams Kalijs, kuram tika dots rīkojums iznīcināt ciematu, kad tas tika atbrīvots no Vjetkongas karavīriem un līdzjūtīgajiem. Tika uzskatīts, ka visi nevainīgie civiliedzīvotāji izbrauks no ciemata līdz pulksten 7:00.

Calley un viņa vīri 1968. gada 16. marta rītā My Lai neatrada vietkongu. Būdami neapmierināti ar vietējo iedzīvotāju piedāvātās sadarbības trūkumu un līdzgaitnieku zaudējumu VC darbībai šajā apgabalā, daži karavīri sāka nogalinot ikvienu, ko viņi varētu atrast ciematā: vīriešus, sievietes un bērnus. Daži tika ievesti tuvējos ierakumos un apšaudīti ar automātiskajiem ieročiem. Lai gan precīzs upuru skaits nekad nebūs zināms, avoti norāda, ka to skaits ir no 347 līdz 504.

Garantijas virsnieks Hjū Tompsons lidoja virs ciemata armijas helikopterā OH-23, kur redzēja slaktiņu ar savām acīm. Viņš piezemējās starp amerikāņu karavīru un civiliedzīvotāju grupu un klātesošajiem virsniekiem teica, ka apšaudīs jebkuru amerikāni, kurš uzbruka civiliedzīvotājam. Pēc tam viņš ziņoja par notikušo, pēc tam kājnieki saņēma pavēli pārtraukt apšaudi šajā teritorijā.

Slaktiņš My Lai, visticamāk, būtu bijis nepaziņots un nesodīts, ja nebūtu vēstules, ko 1969. gada martā, veselu gadu pēc incidenta, saņēmis prezidents Niksons, Apvienoto štābu priekšnieki un Kongresa locekļi. Vēstuli uzrakstīja Rons Ridenhours, kurš Vjetnamā pavadītajā laikā bija uzzinājis par My Lai. Viņš runāja ar Čārlija kompānijas biedriem, no kuriem daži viegli atzina, ka piedalās šīs dienas notikumos.

Un tā 1969. gada 5. septembrī leitnantam Kalejam tika izvirzītas apsūdzības sešās apsūdzībās par slepkavību. Vēl 25 virsniekiem un iesauktajiem vīriešiem galu galā tiks izvirzītas apsūdzības dažādos noziegumos, lielākā daļa apsūdzību tiks atceltas. Kalijs bija vienīgais karavīrs, kurš notiesāts par noziegumu saistībā ar My Lai. Viņš trīsarpus gadus pavadīja mājas arestā virsnieku telpās Fortbenningā, Džordžijā, un pēc tam federālais tiesnesis lika viņu atbrīvot.

Kalija aizstāvība balstījās uz viņa pārliecību, ka viņš pilda tiešā priekšnieka kapteiņa Ernesta Medina pavēles. Medina tika attaisnota par jebkādiem pārkāpumiem viņa paša tiesas procesā, taču šie divi tiesas spriedumi radīja to, kas mūsdienās ir pazīstams kā Medina standarts, kas nosaka, ka komandieris, kurš nerīkojas, lai apturētu cilvēktiesību pārkāpumus vai kara noziegumus, ir kriminālatbildīgs. .

Viljams Kalijs šodien dzīvo Kolumbā, Džordžijas štatā. Hjū Tompsons, helikoptera pilots, kurš palīdzēja izbeigt slaktiņu, šā gada janvārī nomira un tika apglabāts ar pilnu militāro apbalvojumu. 2004. gadā viņš tika intervēts ziņu raidījumam "60 minūtes". Jautāts par savām izjūtām pret vīriešiem, kuri 1968. gadā izdarīja slaktiņu, viņš atbildēja:

"Es gribētu būt pietiekami liels cilvēks, lai teiktu, ka es viņiem piedodu, bet es zvēru Dievam, ka nevaru."


Mans Lai slaktiņš

Frāze "meklēt un iznīcināt" pēdējos gados ir ieguvusi tādu kā popkultūras valūtu, bet Vjetnamā aptuveni 1968. gadā tā bija nekas cits kā glīza klišeja. Tas bija pavēle, un dzīve varētu būt atkarīga no tā veiksmīgas izpildes.

Bet, kad 1968. gada 16. martā pavēle ​​tika izdota ārpus neliela ciema Vjetnamas dienvidos, ko plaši sauca par "My Lai" (tā patiesais nosaukums ir "Son My"), rezultāts bija daudz "iznīcināšanas" un ļoti maz "meklēšanas". " Rezultātā notikušie slaktiņi ir viens no zemākajiem punktiem Amerikas vēsturē, turpat augšā, kad Džordžs Vašingtons vietējiem iedzīvotājiem izsniedza ar bakām inficētas segas (izņemot slepkavīgākus nekā genocīdus).

Vjetnamas karš noritēja, ne visai patīkami, pat salīdzinājumā ar to, kā parasti mēdz notikt karš. Pēc īpaši karstām un bīstamām pāris nedēļām Čārlija kompānijas karavīri uzgāja My Lai. Čārlija kompānija bija uzņēmusi upurus, un vienība bija pazīstama ar vardarbīgu taktiku.

Pēc leitnanta Viljama Kalija pavēles divi platoņi iegāja My Lai, meklējot Viet Cong kaujiniekus. Saskaņā ar dažādiem stāstiem, karavīriem tika sniegti noteikti pretrunīgi ziņojumi par to, ko gaidīt. Viena virsnieka kara liecības liecināja, ka karavīriem visiem ciemata iedzīvotājiem ir teikts, ka viņi ir VC karavīri vai līdzjūtēji, un ka civiliedzīvotāji ir pametuši pilsētu.

Lai gan par precīziem apstākļiem, kas noveda pie uzbrukuma, joprojām strīdas, neapšaubāms ir militārā manevra rezultāts. Iebraucot ciematā, karavīri sāka šaut neapbruņotus civiliedzīvotājus. Tika dots rīkojums izpostīt būdiņas, kurās dzīvoja ciema iedzīvotāji.

Pat ņemot vērā ultravioleto un paranoisko cīņas atmosfēru Vjetnamā, varētu domāt, ka pēc pāris desmitu neapbruņotu civiliedzīvotāju nogalināšanas bez pretestības uzņēmums, iespējams, būtu apstājies, lai pārvērtētu savu stratēģiju nogalināt visus, kas pārvietojās. Nesanāca.

Sekojošajā slaktiņā tika nogalināti vīrieši, sievietes un bērni, tostarp mazuļi. Lūgšanas bērni tika sašauti pakausī, vecāka gadagājuma vīrieši ar durtiņiem tika uzlauzti līdz nāvei. Cilvēki tika nošauti ceļos, mugurā, rokas gaisā.

Ne visi kompānijas dalībnieki piedalījās slaktiņā, taču pietiekami daudzi no viņiem to veica, un to vadīja Kallijs, kurš, kā ziņots, pats grāvī nopļāva 60 sagūstītos civiliedzīvotājus pēc tam, kad viņa karavīri noraidīja pavēli. Lai gan armijas oficiālais ziņojums noteica, ka slaktiņu faktiski veica tikai aptuveni 10 karavīri, ir grūti noticēt galu galā nodarīto postījumu gaismai.

Tikai dažu stundu laikā tika nogalināti vairāk nekā 500 cilvēku. Daži līķi tika sakropļoti. Dažas sievietes, kuras netika nogalinātas, tika izvarotas grupās. Citi ciema iedzīvotāji tika sisti un spīdzināti. Un pierādījumus par slaktiņu filmēja armijas fotogrāfs, kurš pavadīja vienību ar nosaukumu Ron Haeberle.

Tuvojoties slaktiņa beigām, ciema iedzīvotājiem palīdzēja helikoptera šautene. Armijas pilots Hjū Tompsons nosēdināja savu kuģi starp ciema iedzīvotājiem un trakojošajiem karavīriem, pavēlot viņa ložmetējam Lorensam Kolbērnam apšaudīt jebkuru karavīru, kurš turpināja vajāt bēgošos ciema iedzīvotājus. Tompsons un Kolbērns uz notikuma vietu radio raidīja vēl divus helikopterus un ar gaisa transportu nogādāja duci ciema iedzīvotāju drošībā. Viņi tika apbalvoti par drosmi. trīsdesmit gadus vēlāk. Helikoptera apkalpes priekšnieks Glens Andreotta tika atzīts arī par drosmi, bet pēcnāves laikā. Pirms kara beigām viņš kļuva par vēl vienu Vjetnamas upuri.

Pēc slaktiņa notikuma vietā esošie karavīri centās slēpt slepkavības, samazinot civiliedzīvotāju upuru skaitu līdz pāris desmitiem, kas tika atkārtots vairākos turpmākajos oficiālajos ziņojumos. Un ar to, visticamāk, viss būtu beidzies, izņemot bijušo ĢI vārdā Ronu Ridenhuuru, kurš praktizēja zaudēto mākslu rakstīt savam kongresmenim pēc tam, kad no saviem kolēģiem karavīriem bija dzirdējis draudīgas pasakas par briesmīgo slaktiņu:

"Es vairākas reizes jautāju" Butch ", vai visi cilvēki ir nogalināti. Viņš teica, ka domā, ka tie ir vīrieši, sievietes un bērni. Viņš atcerējās, ka redzējis mazu, apmēram trīs vai četrus gadus vecu zēnu, stāvot pie takas ar šautu brūci vienā rokā. Zēns ar otru roku satvēra savu ievainoto roku, kamēr starp pirkstiem tecēja asinis. Viņš šokēti un neticīgi lūkojās apkārt, ko redzēja. ”Viņš vienkārši stāvēja ar lielām acīm, skatīdamies apkārt, kā viņš to nedarīja. "Es nesaprotu, ka viņš neticēja notiekošajam. Tad kapteiņa RTO (radio operators) viņā uzliesmoja 16 (M-16 šautenes) uguns." Tas bija tik slikti, sacīja Gruvers, ka viens no viņa komandas vīriem iešāva sev kājā, lai viņu varētu izkļūt no apkārtnes, lai viņam nebūtu jāpiedalās kaušanā. Lai gan viņš to nebija redzējis, Cilvēki, kurus viņš uzskatīja par uzticamiem, bija teikuši, ka viens no uzņēmuma virsniekiem, 2. leitnants Kallijs (šis rakstījums var būt nepareizs), ir noapaļojis vairākas ciema iedzīvotāju grupas (katrā grupā ir vismaz 20 abu dzimumu un visu vecumu personas). Saskaņā ar stāstu Kallija pēc tam ložmetēja katru grupu. Gruvers lēsa, ka ciema iedzīvotāju skaits ir bijis no 300 līdz 400 cilvēkiem un ļoti maz, ja tādi ir, izbēguši. (.)

"Tieši tas, kas patiesībā notika" Pinkville "ciematā 1968. gada martā, es nezinu, bet esmu pārliecināts, ka tas tiešām bija kaut kas ļoti melns. Es neatgriezeniski esmu pārliecināts, ka, ja jūs un es patiesi darām ticēt principiem, taisnīgumam un ikviena cilvēka vienlīdzībai, lai arī kāds būtu pazemīgs, likuma priekšā, kas ir šīs valsts pamatu pamats, tad mums ir jāturpina šī jautājuma plaša un publiska izmeklēšana kopā ar visiem mūsu līdzekļiem Es domāju, ka tas bija Vinstons Čērčils, kurš reiz teica: "Valsts bez sirdsapziņas ir valsts bez dvēseles un valsts bez dvēseles ir valsts, kas nevar izdzīvot." Es uzskatu, ka man ir jārīkojas pozitīvi šajā jautājumā. Es ceru, ka jūs nekavējoties sāksit izmeklēšanu un informēsit mani par savu progresu. Ja jūs to nevarat, tad es nezinu, kā rīkoties citādi.

Tuvojoties 1969. gada beigām, pētnieciskais žurnālists Seimurs Heršs atklāja stāstu publiskajā telpā. Amerikāņu sabiedrībā, kas jau bija nogurusi no kara, pieauga šausmu pamats. Tika izsaukti simtiem liecinieku. Apsūdzības ietvēra slepkavību, izvarošanu, sodomiju un haosu. Sākotnējie izmeklētāji ieteica 30 kriminālvajāšanas par zvērībām un vēl 30 par slēpšanu.

Armija, kas jau bija pakļauta intensīvam spiedienam par savu rīcību Vjetnamā, par šiem skaitļiem nerūpējās. Tikai ceturtā daļa no viņiem redzētu tiesu. Tikai viens vīrietis tika notiesāts par savu rīcību uzņēmumā My Lai, vienības komandieris Viljams Kalijs. Viņam tika piespriests mūža ieslodzījums ar smagu darbu, bet lielais humānisms Ričards M. Niksons piešķīra Kalijam daudz vairāk žēlastības, kādu leitnants bija piešķīris My Lai ciema iedzīvotājiem, un mainīja sodu.

Manas Lai attēli un stāsts bija nozīmīgs pagrieziena punkts sabiedrības attieksmē pret Vjetnamu. Papildus šausmām par faktisko slaktiņu kriminālvajāšanas vadīšana sacēla amerikāņus no gandrīz visām politiskā spektra daļām.

Kalijs ne tikai kalpoja par grēkāzi savas vienības darbībās, bet viņa sods pat ne tuvu neatbilda nozieguma apjomam. Armija mēģināja mazināt notikumu, turpinot par gadiem novērtēt upurus un vardarbību. Amerikas valdība diplomātiskajās apmaiņās atteicās atzīt šo notikumu.

Bija vajadzīgi 30 gadi, lai daži karavīri, kas aizstāvēja nevainīgas dzīvības, iegūtu medaļas no Kongresa, un pat tad, cīņa starp armijas misiņu padarīja Tompsona un Kolbērna atzīšanas procesu mokošu ilgi pēc tam, kad ASV bija izkļuvušas no elles no Vjetnamas.

Bija tik daudz šausmu par notikumiem My Lai un armijas rīcību pēc tās, lielākajai daļai cilvēku bija grūti saprast, kur sākt niknumu.


Kalijs tika atzīts par vainīgu 22 slepkavībās

Leitnants Viljams L. Kalijs vakar vakarā tika notiesāts par 22 cilvēku slepkavību Dienvidvjetnamas ciematā My Lai, civiliedzīvotāju slaktiņa laikā, ko veica amerikāņu karavīri.

Kailija (27) tika apsūdzēta 102 cilvēku slepkavībā. Viņu apsūdzēja slepkavībā vai pavēlēšanā nogalināt 30 cilvēkus My Lai, 70 cilvēku nogalināšanu vai pavēli nogalināt grāvī, vecāka gadagājuma mūka nogalināšanu un mazuļa nogalināšanu.

Žūrija apsūdzēja Kaliju par apzinātu slepkavību pirmajos trīs apsūdzībās un uzbrukumā ar nodomu nogalināt ceturtajā. Tā atzina viņu par vainīgu vienā no 30 nāves gadījumiem ciematā un 20 no 70 nāves gadījumiem grāvī. Viņš tika notiesāts par mūka slepkavību un par uzbrukumu mazulim ar nodomu nogalināt.

Žūrija spriedumu pieņems vēlāk šodien. Maksimālais sods pirmajās trīs apsūdzībās ir nāvessods, bet minimālais - mūža ieslodzījums. Viņam varētu piespriest mūža ieslodzījumu, apsūdzot par uzbrukumu mazulim ar nodomu nogalināt. Nāvessodam ir nepieciešams vienbalsīgs žūrijas sešu armijas virsnieku balsojums.

Kallija no Maiami, Floridā, šķiet, mierīgi pieņēma spriedumu. Kad žūrija iegāja mazajā tiesas zālē, Keilija stāvēja un gudri apsveica priekšnieku pulkvedi Kliffordu H. Fordu, kurš tūlīt nolasīja spriedumu.

Pēc sprieduma Kailija vēlreiz salutēja un izgāja no tiesas zāles starp diviem no saviem četriem advokātiem.

Žūrija apspriedās 79 dienas un 58 minūtes 13 dienu laikā. Tiesas process ilga četrus mēnešus. Keilija atpūtās savā armijas bāzes dzīvoklī, kad no advokāta kapteiņa Brūksa Doila uzzināja, ka spriedums ir pieņemts. Keilija pārģērbās uniformā, un kapteinis Doils aizveda viņu uz tiesas zāli.

Pēc sprieduma viņu aizveda militārā policija un ieslodzīja virsnieka kamerā, kas sastāv no divām nelielām istabām. Kapelāns parasti izmanto kameru kā biroju, ja to neaizņem ieslodzītais. Sargs paliks kopā ar Kalliju vienā no istabām, ja vien viņš nekonsultējas ar saviem advokātiem vai viņu neapmeklē viņa ģimenes locekļi.

Lieta joprojām var turpināties gadiem. Kalijam ir vismaz trīs iespējas pārsūdzēt, kas varētu ietekmēt spriedumu. Viņa pirmā iespēja atcelt vai samazināt notiesājošā sprieduma nopietnību nāktu no "vadošās iestādes", kas automātiski izskatīs lietu. Parasti tas būtu bijis ģenerālmajors Orvins Talbots, Beninga forta komandieris, kur notika tiesa, kurš 1969. gada septembrī oficiāli pavēlēja Kalija kara tiesai. Bet viņš tiek diskvalificēts, jo viņš piedalījās dažās administratīvās lietās kara tiesas laikā.

Armija, iespējams, lūgs kādam Talbotam līdzīgā komandā veikt pārskatīšanu apmēram divu mēnešu laikā. Ja viņš apstiprinātu spriedumu, tā tiktu automātiski pārsūdzēta Vašingtonas tiesā.

Ja Keilija zaudēja, viņš varēja vērsties Militāro apelāciju tiesā, kas ir pēdējais līdzeklis militārajās lietās. Viens no viņa advokātiem Džordžs Latimers tiek uzskatīts par apelāciju ekspertu. Viņš jau teica, ka pēc militāro kustību izsīkšanas viņš pārcelsies uz Vašingtonas apgabala līmeņa federālajām civilajām tiesām un nepieciešamības gadījumā cīnīsies līdz ASV Augstākajai tiesai.

Spriedums tika pieņemts četras stundas pēc tam, kad tiesnesis pulkvedis Rīds Kenedijs rīkoja uzklausīšanu, lai noskaidrotu, vai viņam vajadzētu mudināt sešu armijas virsnieku žūriju paātrināt apspriešanos, jo spriedze ir smaga.

Calley pārliecība, iespējams, izraisīs sabiedrības sašutumu gandrīz visur ASV, izņemot pārsteidzoši pašu armiju.

Liberāļi un konservatīvie dažādu iemeslu dēļ ir vienoti šajā jautājumā. Konservatīvie - piemēram, Alabamas gubernators - uzskata, ka amerikāņu karavīrs ir sašutis, riskējot ar dzīvību cīņā un pēc tam atnākot mājās tiesāties. Liberāļi, piemēram, bijušais kongresmenis no Gruzijas Čārlzs Velkners, uzskata, ka ir nepareizi izcelt vienu vīrieti par sodu, vienlaikus atlaižot visus pārējos My Lai slaktiņā iesaistītos.

Latimers saka, ka Keilija ir saņēmusi tūkstošiem atbalsta vēstuļu un tikai aptuveni 10 uzbrūk viņam. Vietējie iedzīvotāji ir satraukti par tiesas procesu. "Viņiem vajadzētu dot viņam medaļu," viesmīle sacīja: "Es domāju, ka viņi iet pārāk tālu." Restorāni, kuros pusdieno Calley, atsakās ļaut viņam maksāt par maltītēm. Ja viņš apstājas pie alus glāzes, par viņu parasti maksā klients.

Bet armijas virsnieki, īpaši jaunie, šķiet, cerēja, ka žūrija atradīs pret viņu. Divi jauni kapteiņi iebruka preses telpā Kalija tiesas prāvā, lai sodītu vietējo televīzijas reportieri. Viņi teica, ka viņa stāsti ir neobjektīvi par labu Kallijam, kurš atzina vismaz dažu civiliedzīvotāju nogalināšanu Manā Lai.

"Jūs nerādāt sabiedrībai godīgu ainu," sacīja viens. "Ir svarīgi, lai mēs zinātu prokuratūras stāstu. Ja viņš tiks atlaists, tas dos atļauju ikvienam, kurš iziet no Virsnieku skolas, lai dotos uz Vjetnamu un nogalinātu ikvienu, kas viņiem šķiet."

Jauns kapteinis, kurš, tāpat kā Keilija, bija vadījis Vjetnamu, teica, kad taka sākās novembrī:

"Ja viņš darīja to, ko viņi teica, viņiem vajadzētu viņu pakārt. Es tur astoņus mēnešus rāpoju pa vēderu, un es nevienu neizvaroju, un arī nešauju, ja vien viņi nešauj uz mani. "


Kalleja leitnanta kara tiesa: Aizkulišu juridiskās manevri

Leitnants Viljams Kalijs ar savu civilo un militāro padomnieku dodas uz pirmstiesas sēdi Fortbenningā, Džordžijā, 1970. gada 20. janvārī. Kad tiesa sākās 17. novembrī, tā bija kulminācija tiesvedībai, kas sākās 1969. gada 5. septembrī.

Savā ziņā kara tiesa gada 1. leitnanta Viljama Lavsa Kalija jaunākā sāka darboties pie mana galda kājnieku zālē, ASV armijas kājnieku skolas galvenajā mītnē un akadēmiskajā centrā Fortbenningā, Džordžijā. Tas bija trešdienas vēlā rītā, 1969. gada 5. septembrī. Pulkvedis Ērls C. Akufs, skolas komandiera palīga vietnieks un vīrietis, kurš bija atbildīgs par ikdienas darbību vadīšanu, pēc straujas nolaišanās pa kāpnēm no elpas bija elpas trūkums. skolas komandiera ģenerālmajora Orvina C. Talbota birojs, vienu stāvu augstāk.

Nebija tā, ka Acuff būtu dusmīgs un bez elpas. Izpletņlēcēja meistars, viņš nēsāja kaujas kājnieka zīmi ar divām zvaigznēm, kas apzīmēja kā kājnieka dienestu Otrajā pasaules karā, Korejā un Vjetnamā. Korejas kara laikā ROTC absolvents Aidaho universitātē vadīja 7. kājnieku divīzijas 1. bataljonu, 17. kājnieku pulku Pork Chop Hill un Old Baldy. Vjetnamā viņš komandēja 1. kājnieku divīzijas 3. brigādi. Kad Acuffam 1965. gadā tika uzdots novērtēt Ranger apmācības programmu Beningā, viņš izgāja kursu, 47 gadu vecumā kļūstot par vecāko karavīru, kurš jebkad ir beidzis stingro programmu un nopelnījis cilni Ranger.

Es biju kājnieku skolas sekretāra vietnieks. Stāvot pie mana galda, Acuff ātri nonāca pie lietas: "Kurš ir labākais rakstnieks, kāds mums ir skolā?"

Es biju pieradusi izskatīt visdažādākos informācijas pieprasījumus, taču šis mani pārsteidza. - Kādu rakstnieku jūs meklējat, kungs? ES jautāju. "Kāda veida projekts tas ir?"

"Es nezinu visas detaļas," paskaidroja Acuff. "Acīmredzot tas ir kaut kāds kara noziegums. Tas ir ieinteresēts līdz Baltajam namam un Pentagonam. Kā es saprotu, Skolas brigādē ir iecelts virsleitnants, kurš rīt tiks atbrīvots no aktīvā dienesta. Mums šodien ir jāatzīmē viņa ieraksti, lai viņu nevarētu izrakstīt, un man jāieceļ 32. panta izmeklētājs un šodien jāsamazina rīkojumi. ”

Saskaņā ar Vienotā kodeksa 32. pantu Saskaņā ar militārā taisnīguma principu, pirms "vispārējās kara tiesas", ir iespējams sasaukt militāras tiesas termiņu, kas saistīts ar vissmagākajiem noziegumiem, ir nepieciešama pirmstiesas izmeklēšana. 32. panta izmeklēšana ir līdzīga žūrijas izmeklēšanai civilajā dzīvē. Ņemot vērā iespējamo apsūdzību-kara noziegumu-nopietnību un lielo interesi par Vašingtonu, Akufam bija vajadzīgs nobriedis, prasmīgs rakstnieks, kurš spētu veikt rūpīgu pirmstiesas izmeklēšanu un sagatavot skaidru, kodolīgu ziņojumu par to, vai kara tiesa ir pamatota. .

Es sastādīju garīgo kontrolsarakstu ar desmitiem kvalificētu virsnieku, kas pēc tam strādāja kājnieku skolas personālā un fakultātē, un analizēju iespējamos vārdus, kamēr Acuff gaidīja. Pēkšņi man bija vārds, ko viņam piedāvāt.

"Dewey Cameron," es teicu. Loģiskais kandidāts bija Līderības departamenta priekšsēdētājs pulkvežleitnants Duane “Dewey Cameron”. Viņa nodaļa ne tikai mācīja vadību, bet arī uzraudzīja mācību programmas militārajā rakstībā. Viņš bija augsti novērtēts virsnieks, Pensilvānijas pilsonis, kurš tika pasūtīts no Ohaio universitātes ROTC programmas. Kamerons uzrakstīja labāko prozu skolā. Viņš bija nobriedis, neapgāžams, pieredzējis virsnieks, kurš spēja tikt galā ar visām izmeklēšanas jūtībām.

Acuff atkārtoja vārdu. “Dewey Cameron. Protams, tas tā ir. ” Viņš pasmaidīja, zinot, ka ir izdarīta pareizā izvēle. Viņš atkārtoja vārdu, tad pagriezās un skrēja augšup pa kāpnēm, lai informētu Talbotu par izmeklēšanas virsnieka kandidātu.

Tajā pēcpusdienā Kamerons tika iecelts, lai saskaņā ar 32. panta noteikumiem veiktu izmeklēšanu par apstākļiem, kas saistīti ar iespējamām nesaistītām slepkavībām My Lai 4 ciematā Vjetnamas ziemeļos, Kvangajas provincē, 1968. gada 16. martā, ko veica toreizējais loceklis Kalijs. 23. kājnieku divīzija (amerikāņu).

Kamerona 32. panta izmeklēšana, kas ilga vairākus mēnešus, noveda pie Kalija kara tiesas. Tiesas process sākās 1970. gada 17. novembrī un beidzās ar notiesāšanu 1971. gada 29. martā. Ilgais process piesaistīja sabiedrības uzmanību un izraisīja plašu armijas un tās personāla nosodīšanu, vēl vairāk palielinot antipātijas pret karu Vjetnamā. Lai gan Kalijam personīgi tika izvirzītas apsūdzības par 22 Dienvidvjetnamas civiliedzīvotāju slepkavību, iespējams, ka 504 viņa grupējuma dalībnieki ir nogalinājuši.

Gadā atvaļinātais četrzvaigžņu ģenerālis Metjū B. Ridgvejs, publicējot viedokļa rakstu The New York Times 1971. gada 2. aprīlī My Lai kara tiesas atklāsmes nosauca par “smagiem sitieniem”.

Bija notikusi organizēta slēpšanās amerikāņu divīzijas ietvaros, domājams, līdz pat divīzijas komandierim ģenerālmajoram Semjuelam V. Kosteram, liecina ģenerālleitnanta Viljama R. Pērsa vadītās komisijas secinājumi.

Aizsegšana sākās gandrīz uzreiz. Slaktiņa dienā, 1968. gada 16. martā, žurnālistiem ASV armijas ikdienas preses brīfingā Saigonā tika teikts: “Šodienas akcijā Amerikas divīzijas spēki nogalināja 128 ienaidniekus netālu no Kvangajas pilsētas. Helikopteru šautenes un artilērijas misijas visas dienas garumā atbalstīja zemes elementus. ” Tā kā karjera bija vērsta uz amerikāņu līderiem divīzijas, brigādes, darba grupu un uzņēmumu līmenī, netika pieminēti šausminošie civiliedzīvotāju upuri. Tā vietā tika pieprasīti ienaidnieka upuri.

Vienādrangu komisijas ziņojumā secināts, ka nogalināti vismaz 175 līdz 200 Dienvidvjetnamas vīrieši, sievietes un bērni, tostarp, iespējams, trīs vai četri apstiprināti Vjetkongas karavīri, lai gan “starp tiem neapšaubāmi bija vairāki neapbruņoti karavīri (vīrieši, sievietes un bērni) un daudz vairāk aktīvu atbalstītāju un līdzjutēju. ”

Komisija izmeklēja 14 virsniekus, kas bija tieši vai netieši iesaistīti operācijā, tostarp Kosteru un viņa divīzijas komandiera palīgu brig. Ģenerālis Džordžs H. Jangs jaunākais Bataljona lieluma darba grupas, kurā bija Kallija kompānija, komandieris pulkvežleitnants Frenks Bārkers tika nogalināts helikoptera avārijā pirms izmeklēšanas.

Līdz 1969. gada septembra pirmajai nedēļai, kad Kalijs gatavojās atbrīvošanai no aktīvā dienesta, armijai bija skaidrs, ka viņš kaut kādā veidā ir piedalījies slepkavībās My Lai. Attiecīgi armijas štāba priekšnieka ģenerālis Viljams Vestmolends, iepriekš Vjetnamas augstākais komandieris, uzdeva Fortbenningam sākt 32. panta izmeklēšanu, lai Kalliju varētu saglabāt aktīvajā dienestā, ja kara tiesa būtu pamatota.

Ar Kamerona iecelšanu būdams 32. panta izmeklētājs 1969. gada 5. septembrī, Fortbenningas sabiedriskās informācijas birojs izdeva miglainu preses relīzi par armijas virsleitnanta izmeklēšanu par viņa darbībām Vjetnamā. Ziņu mediji šo atbrīvošanu lielā mērā ignorēja.

Kad izmeklēšanas reportieris Seimurs Heršs 1969. gada 12. novembrī izklāstīja pilnu slaktiņa stāstu un tas parādījās 30 laikrakstos visā valstī, amerikāņu sabiedrība bija sašutusi par zvērību. Žurnāli “Time” un “Life” 1969. gada novembra beigās un decembra sākumā veica detalizētus ziņojumus ar fotogrāfijām. Liela daļa amerikāņu sabiedrības, kas jau bija samazinājušās, atbalstīja Vjetnamas karu.

Līdz tam laikam ASV karaspēka spēks Vjetnamā, kas 1969. gada aprīlī sasniedza 543.400, samazinājās saskaņā ar prezidenta Ričarda Niksona pakāpenisko izvešanas programmu. 1971. gadā karavīru skaits Vjetnamā samazinājās līdz 156 800.

Neviens no palikušajiem nevēlējās būt pēdējais upuris arvien nepopulārākajā karā. Armiju skāra sadrumstalotības gadījumi, atteikšanās pakļauties pavēlēm, narkotiku lietošana un dezertēšana. Amerikas Savienoto Valstu kontinentālajā daļā kādreiz lepnas vienības, piemēram, 1. kājnieku divīzija Fort Riley, Kanzasa, un 5. kājnieku divīzija (mehanizētā) Fort Karsonā, Kolorādo, kļuva par īstermiņa darbinieku aizturēšanas vietām no Vjetnamas. militārās disciplīnas sabrukums.

Tāpēc bija neliels brīnums, ko Ridgvejs varēja piedāvāt The New York Times bēdas, kas atklāja Amerikas armijas bēdīgo stāvokli 1971. gadā, un apstākļi My Lai bija “viskaitīgākie”. V

Bobs Orkands, atvaļināts pulkvežleitnants, 1967.-68. Gadā Vjetnamā pildīja 1. bataljona (Airmobile) 7. kavalērijas 1. kavalērijas divīzijas (Airmobile) izpilddirektora un operāciju virsnieka pienākumus. Viņš komandēja mehanizēto kājnieku bataljonu pie Benningas forta 1972. kājnieku brigādē 1972.-1973. Gadā-brīvprātīgo armijas prototipu. 1974. gadā viņš bija Pentagona brīvprātīgo armijas pārstāvis. Viņš ir līdzautors pētījumam par M16 šautenes trūkumiem, Misfire: M16 traģiskā kļūme Vjetnamā (2019). Orkands dzīvo Hantsvilā, Teksasā.

Lai iegūtu vairāk stāstu no Vjetnama žurnāls, abonējiet šeit un apmeklējiet mūs Facebook:


Mana Lai: Kur bija līderi?

Leitnantam Viljamam Kalijam blakus atrodas neidentificēts civilprokurora palīgs (L) un neidentificēts armijas eskorta virsnieks, kad viņš atstāj slēgto durvju sākotnējo kara tiesas sēdi.

Ja būtu pastiprinājies viens spēcīgs līderis, būtu iespējams novērst zvērību, kas tik ļoti aptraipīja Ameriku.

Kopš šī 1968. gada rīta ir pagājušas vairāk nekā četras desmitgades, un tomēr armijas virsnieki gandrīz vienam cilvēkam joprojām jautā sev, kā varēja notikt slaktiņš My Lai. Kas bija noticis ar pavēles ķēdi, kad notika viens no vissliktākajiem traipiem, kas jebkad ir notraipījis ASV armijas formas tērpu tās divu gadsimtu vēsturē? Kur bija vadītāji 1968. gada 16. martā?

To, kas notika My Lai, ir vairāk nekā pienācīgi izpētījusi vienaudžu izmeklēšana un 2. leitnanta Viljama Kalija, kapteiņa Ernesta Medina un vairāku citu virsnieku un iesaukto vīriešu tiesas procesi, kas tajā rītā bija klāt slepkavību laikā. Kopumā apsūdzības tika izvirzītas 14 virsniekiem un iesauktajiem vīriešiem, daži slaktiņa rezultātā, bet citi par sekojošo piesegšanu. Grāmatu par My Lai un sekām ir pārāk daudz, lai tās uzskaitītu, un daži jautājumi par to, kas patiesībā notika uz zemes, paliek neatbildēti. Bet tas, kas paliek atklāts jautājums - un vētrainākais rēta Vjetnamas karā, kas vēl nav sadzijis - ir tas, kā vadība vai tās trūkums ļāva notikt šādai zvērībai.

Slaktiņa sekas pārsniedza tā necilvēcību un šausmas. Tas veicināja spēcīgu pretkara noskaņojumu amerikāņu sabiedrībā un veicināja politiķu un Pentagona amatpersonu domās mazināto uzvaru atbalstu.

KARA LAIKĀ viena no lielākajām komandķēdes vājībām - no Aizsardzības departamenta augstākajiem līmeņiem līdz ģenerālim Viljamam Vestmolendam līdz pat pulka līmenim - bija atkarība no statistikas kā uzvaras mērs. Sliktākais no tiem bija ķermeņa skaits. Šī statistika veicināja vidējā GI un viņa vadītāju domāšanas veidu, kas pārvērta visus mirušos vjetnamiešus par mirušu Vjetkongu (VC). Un vairāk mirušu VC, kas atrasti pēc ugunsgrēka, radīja labvēlīgāku nogalināšanas koeficientu, tādējādi vienai vienībai bija labāks sniegums ugunsgrēkā nekā kādai citai vienībai. Komandieri tika salīdzināti un novērtēti par viņu sešu mēnešu “biļešu štancēšanas” komandām, un panākumi komandēšanā gandrīz vienmēr garantēja virsniekam, ka viņš tiks paaugstināts nākamajā augstākajā līmenī. Low body counts and unfavorable kill ratios, by contrast, tended to ensure that a commander would be passed over for his next promotion. The body count became the Vietnam War’s Holy Grail.

The rotational policy of the Army undermined command effectiveness. As someone once said, “The Americans don’t have 10 years experience in Vietnam they have one year’s experience repeated 10 times over.” Many battalion and brigade commanders were rotated into and out of command positions every six months so that everyone would have an opportunity to command. The effectiveness of the chain of command was diminished each time a new commander came in for his six-month tour.

During Tet in 1968, the U.S. military was shocked by the extent of the attacks on its bases. Normally there is a truce during the celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, but the North Vietnamese Army violated that truce with largescale assaults. The reality suddenly changed from what most Americans believed to be a winning strategy to growing doubt about the conduct of the war. Although Tet was a tactical failure militarily for the Communists, it was a dramatic success for them psychologically.

In I Corps, north of My Lai, Hue was overrun and seized by the NVA in the early days of February 1968. It took weeks of counterattacks and desperate fighting by the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and the U.S. Marines to free the ancient city. When, on February 25, Hue was finally cleared of enemy troops, mass graves were discovered that contained thousands of Hue citizens who had been murdered by the NVA or VC. As these reports filtered down to the units in the southern portion of I Corps, the fear of the NVA and loathing for the VC grew to extremes. It was in this environment that the plan to attack and eliminate the Viet Cong’s 48th Main Force Battalion was hatched.

No written plan exists for the My Lai operation—at least, none has ever been found. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker, the task force commander, was well known for his disjointed briefings. Evidence from testimony at the trials leads one to believe that Barker made a plan, albeit a poor tactical plan. He was unclear on what was expected of his company commanders, and failed to explain the specific mission of each unit or how they would support each other during the combat operation. Barker never had an opportunity to shed light on the mission himself, as he was killed in a helicopter crash just weeks after My Lai.

As George Latimer, Calley’s chief defense lawyer, said: “Company C should never have been sent on this kind of mission, with a state of training woefully inadequate…. You can’t go in like a gang of isolationists, each man for himself and let the devil take care of the others. It is a hornbook principle that fear and stark terror is present in a unit on its first combat assault, and when raw troops are used disaster is the result.”

What is known is that Barker sent his weakest company against what was believed to be the enemy’s strongest point. My Lai was supposedly the headquarters of the 48th Main Force Battalion and guarded by a well-trained enemy unit of as many as 280 soldiers. Clearly this was a major tactical error. No competent commander would ever send a weak unit to attack a numerically superior, well-entrenched enemy unit—let alone an attacking unit that had little or no real combat experience. Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment (1-20th Infantry), commanded by Captain Medina, had suffered 25 percent casualties in its 90 days in country, and it had never been in a real firefight. Lieutenant Calley’s platoon alone had lost 18 soldiers—one killed and 17 wounded. Yet, at no time had the platoon actually engaged the enemy in a straight-up firefight. All Calley’s casualties had come from snipers, mines or booby traps. By March 16, this normally 45-man-strong platoon was reduced to only 27. An understrength green platoon led by an inept second lieutenant was now going to charge directly into the lion’s den, with no consideration of a flank attack or an encircling envelopment. This was to be the Charge of the Light Brigade redux, but in the rice paddies of Vietnam and with only 27 soldiers in lieu of 600.

Normally, for the attacking force to have any opportunity for success, it must have a combat advantage of at least three-to-one, especially when attacking a well-trained unit. In this instance, the formula was exactly the reverse. How could Barker have made such a decision? If he believed the intelligence, which turned out to be wrong, Barker was either one of the most incompetent comanders in Vietnam…or simply one of the stupidest.

From testimony given at the trials, it was determined that Barker had placed one of his rifle companies, A Company, 3-1st Infantry, north of the Diem Diem River, more than 1,500 meters away from My Lai and the other company, Bravo, 4-3rd Infantry, east of My Lai by approximately the same distance. Their initial mission was to block, followed by a task to sweep southward along the coast of the South China Sea. C Company, 1-20th Infantry, Captain Medina’s command, was to sweep the village of My Lai. Because of the distances and terrain involved, in these locations none of the companies could be mutually supporting. Certainly, this was a disaster in the making if Task Force Barker was to be attacking a 250-man-strong Main Force Viet Cong battalion dug in at My Lai. Fortunately for Barker’s men, it was not.

Captain Medina compounded this bad situation by sending Lieutenant Calley’s platoon into this so-called Viet Cong stronghold first. Medina had little respect for Calley and stated so on several occasions. Plus, the backbone of Calley’s platoon, Sergeant George Cox, who was well respected by the men, had been killed only two days earlier. It was a macabre scene as Cox was mortally wounded by a booby trap that went off directly between his legs, splitting his insides open. The entire platoon watched in horror as he lay dying, screaming for relief from the excruciating pain.

At the briefing the night prior to the attack on My Lai, Medina and Calley encouraged a pep-rally-like atmosphere, suggesting that they were going to get “those bastards” who killed Sergeant Cox. The air assault was scheduled for 0730. Based on what he believed to be accurate intelligence, Medina told his company that there would be few, if any, noncombatants left in My Lai by that time, as they would have departed for the market by 0700.

This was yet another intelligence error coming from the Task Force Headquarters, added to the poor preparation by the leaders of Medina’s company—who by this time had completely misunderstood the true situation in My Lai. In fact, some intelligence officers at 23rd (“Americal”) Infantry Division headquarters knew that the 48th Viet Cong Battalion was far from My Lai, but classifications on the use of radio intercepts would not allow them to divulge its location to Task Force Barker. The 48th was actually resting in the mountains west of Quang Ngai, licking its wounds from battles fought in the Tet Offensive.

The normal organization of infantry maneuver units consists of brigades commanded by colonels, battalions commanded by lieutenant colonels, companies commanded by captains and platoons led by lieutenants. In the case of the Americal Division, prior to Colonel Oran K. Henderson’s assumption of command on March 15 and for reasons that are not entirely clear, the 11th Light Infantry Brigade had formed a special unit. Its purpose was to conduct search-and-destroy missions in the area north and east of Quang Ngai city. This task force was composed of units that would normally have been assigned to different battalions and would have been accustomed to the operating procedures of those respective commanders. However, these separate units were joined under the command of Lt. Col. Barker. This ad hoc organization was born as Task Force Barker about two months prior to the massacre.

Having assumed command of the 11th Brigade the day prior to the My Lai massacre, Colonel Henderson obviously did not know the strengths or weaknesses of the leaders within his brigade. He had never met them, had never seen their performance under fire and had no knowledge about his subordinate leaders’ abilities under stress. Nevertheless, whether in command for a day or for a year, a commander is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do.

Up until March 16, Task Force Barker had little direct contact with the enemy. It was the tactic of the 48th Battalion to avoid a firefight with American forces. The VC knew that the massive firepower of an American infantry battalion, plus its supporting artillery and helicopter gunships, could rain devastation down on them. Tet was the only time the 48th came out into open combat, and then it was severely wounded and probably would have been destroyed had its men not slipped into the outskirts of Quang Ngai city. The American forces were unable to get clearance to fire with their heavy weapons while the 48th hid in the coastal lowlands, heavily populated by rice farmers and where free-fire zones were few and far between. The 48th was then able to escape to the mountains, most likely marching down Highway 516 through the Viet Cong–friendly Nghia Hanh District.

Although Captain Medina lacked experience, he had responded well when his company was trapped in a minefield on February 25. Charlie Company suffered three killed and 12 wounded that day, but Medina was able to lead his troops out and was decorated for his actions.

Lieutenant Calley, up to this point in his life, had hardly been successful at anything. Standing only 5 feet 3 inches tall, the 24-year-old was unemployed when he entered the Army. He was selected for Officer Candidate School and graduated 127th out of 156 in his class. Calley had been in Vietnam just 90 days prior to March 16, and during that time the diminutive lieutenant had not gained the respect of his men on the contrary, they regarded him as a joke and made snide comments behind his back. The men often did not follow his instructions and sometimes directly disobeyed his orders. In spite of this, Calley saw himself as a tough, hard-core infantry leader.

This was an extremely weak chain of command.

On the morning of March 16, an understrength American infantry rifle company air assaulted into a rice paddy just west of My Lai, expecting to confront a combat-hardened enemy battalion of 250 Viet Cong. Captain Medina’s company was going to attack the dug-in enemy battalion while the two other rifle companies of Task Force Barker lay waiting in blocking positions to blast away at the fleeing Viet Cong—like quail flushed from a grain field.

Fear was uppermost in the minds of these men as the helicopter rotors slapped the air en route to My Lai and to what would be their first close combat with the enemy. Some said silent prayers. Others simply cursed and shivered.

At 0730 the helicopters of the 174th Assault Helicopter Company dropped Calley’s platoon into the wet rice paddy. As they delivered their troops, the gunships fired away with machine guns to provide them with cover. As soon as the choppers pulled up and were gone, quiet descended upon the soldiers left lurking behind rice paddy dikes.

Return fire should have been intense, but not a single enemy shot was heard. The silence—the lack of that unmistakable crack of rifle fire—was overwhelming, and unnerving. Where was the 48th Battalion? Had the Viet Cong somehow mysteriously disappeared? Were they waiting in ambush?

After a short delay, Calley ordered his men to move out toward My Lai. The fear turned into hate as the soldiers waded through the mud, closing on the first huts of the village. There the horror began.

The law of unintended consequences seems always to rear its head when given the opportunity. This was just such a case. But, when Murphy’s Law comes into play, it is the leaders who must correct the situation—the strong leaders for whom the U.S. Army is so well known. Were there none on the ground at My Lai? Or overhead?

Flying above My Lai in their command and control (C&C) helicopters were the commanders and their staffs. Crammed with radios, bristling with antennae and M-60 machine guns, the C&Cs orbited in slow counterclockwise circles. The airborne staff personnel shuffled maps covered with multicolored grease pencil marks while they listened to every transmission from the ground below. Nestled in their armor-plated seats, the commanders looked down from an altitude of 1,000 to 2,500 feet. What were they seeing?

It appears that these commanders and their flying staffs were turning a blind eye to the bloody scene below. At 0930 Colonel Henderson did report to the Americal Division commander, Maj. Gen. Samuel W. Koster, that he saw 10 or so dead. If he could see 10, how could he have failed to see the rest of the carnage exposed to aerial view in drainage ditches around the village? It was reported that more than 100 old men, women and children had been killed by their men in the vicinity of My Lai by this time. What were the commanders of these men doing while orbiting over the village?

Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, his door gunner and his crew chief from the 123rd Aviation Battalion did see the horror unfolding below. Thompson took immediate action and landed his helicopter to rescue some wounded women and children from the scene of terror. In order to accomplish this heroic mission, Thompson ordered his gunner, Laurence Colburn, and his crew chief, Glenn Andreotta, to threaten members of Calley’s platoon if they wouldn’t allow him to fly the women and children away to safety. Thompson immediately reported what he had witnessed to his chain of command: first his platoon leader, then his operations officer and finally to Major Frederic Watkes, who then alerted Lt. Col. Barker.

The commander on the ground, Captain Medina, was now far in the rear, while Calley was personally killing old men, women and children in a ditch on the east side of the village. Photos taken by Army photographer Ron Haeberle captured the stark terror in the victims’ faces moments before they were killed by Calley’s automatic rifle.

The laws of land warfare explicitly protect noncombatants. When captured, they must be treated as prisoners of war or detainees. In any case they may not be executed.

Is it believable that among all the commanders and their airborne staff members who flew above My Lai on that fateful morning, not a single one of them saw the death and destruction that was being inflicted on the villagers? From 1,000 feet it is easy to distinguish an American soldier in his green jungle fatigues from a black pajama–clad Vietnamese. One could not fail to recognize the tangled corpses, heaped on both the south and east sides of this village.

The entire chain of command failed in its duty.

My Lai was a horrific outcome of failed leadership. A leader would have taken immediate disciplinary action against any soldier or officer who violated the universal law for protection of noncombatants. Had there been a single strong leader in the chain of command from General Koster to Lieutenant Calley, the massacre might have been stopped in its initial phase, saving dozens of old men, women and children from death. Instead, today visitors can read the names of 504 civilian victims on a memorial erected at My Lai.

Precisely because no battle plan survives the first shot, it is the unequivocal responsibility of leaders to be prepared for unusual contingencies—to go to the sound of firing so as to lead their men.

At My Lai on March 16, 1968, there were no leaders.

Ben G. Crosby was operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry in Vietnam and also served in the 82nd Airborne, 1st Cavalry, 25th Infantry and 101st Air Assault. Crosby was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and four Bronze Star Medals.

Originally published in the April 2009 issue of Žurnāls Vjetnama. Lai abonētu, noklikšķiniet šeit.


Lt. William Calley charged for My Lai massacre - HISTORY

On March 16, 1968 the angry and frustrated men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division entered the Vietnamese village of My Lai. "This is what you've been waiting for -- search and destroy -- and you've got it," said their superior officers. A short time later the killing began. When news of the atrocities surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the U.S. political establishment, the military's chain of command, and an already divided American public.

Poised for Conflict
My Lai lay in the South Vietnamese district of Son My, a heavily mined area where the Vietcong were deeply entrenched. Numerous members of Charlie Company had been maimed or killed in the area during the preceding weeks. The agitated troops, under the command of Lt. William Calley, entered the village poised for engagement with their elusive enemy.

Massacre
As the "search and destroy" mission unfolded, it soon degenerated into the massacre of over 300 apparently unarmed civilians including women, children, and the elderly. Calley ordered his men to enter the village firing, though there had been no report of opposing fire. According to eyewitness reports offered after the event, several old men were bayoneted, praying women and children were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped and then killed. For his part, Calley was said to have rounded up a group of the villagers, ordered them into a ditch, and mowed them down in a fury of machine gun fire.

Call for Investigation
Word of the atrocities did not reach the American public until November 1969, when journalist Seymour Hersh published a story detailing his conversations with a Vietnam veteran, Ron Ridenhour. Ridenhour learned of the events at My Lai from members of Charlie Company who had been there. Before speaking with Hersh, he had appealed to Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon to investigate the matter. The military investigation resulted in Calley's being charged with murder in September 1969 -- a full two months before the Hersh story hit the streets.

Questions About Soldiers' Conduct
As the gruesome details of My Lai reached the American public, serious questions arose concerning the conduct of American soldiers in Vietnam. A military commission investigating the massacre found widespread failures of leadership, discipline, and morale among the Army's fighting units. As the war progressed, many "career" soldiers had either been rotated out or retired. Many more had died. In their place were scores of draftees whose fitness for leadership in the field of battle was questionable at best. Military officials blamed inequities in the draft policy for the often slim talent pool from which they were forced to choose leaders. Many maintained that if the educated middle class ("the Harvards," as they were called) had joined in the fight, a man of Lt. William Calley's emotional and intellectual stature would never have been issuing orders.

Orders from Above?
Calley, an unemployed college dropout, had managed to graduate from Officer's Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1967. At his trial, Calley testified that he was ordered by Captain Ernest Medina to kill everyone in the village of My Lai. Still, there was only enough photographic and recorded evidence to convict Calley, alone, of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was released in 1974, following many appeals. After being issued a dishonorable discharge, Calley entered the insurance business.


Agrīna dzīve

Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr. was born on April 15, 1943, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, to Wessie and Hugh Clowers Thompson. Hugh Clowers Thompson Sr. was an electrician and served in the United States Navy during the Second World War. Thompson’s father played the main role in his children’s education. He educated his children to act with discipline and integrity.

Hugh Thompson Jr. in South Vietnam, 1968 (Photo: U.S. Army)

Hugh Thompson Jr. graduated from Stone Mountain High School on June 5, 1961. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served in a naval mobile construction battalion at Naval Air Station Atlanta, Georgia, as a heavy equipment operator. In 1964, Thompson received an honorable discharge from the Navy and returned to Stone Mountain to live a quiet life and raise a family with his wife. He studied mortuary science and became a licensed funeral director.

When the Vietnam War began, Thompson felt obliged to return to military service. In 1966, Thompson enlisted in the United States Army and completed the Warrant Officer Flight Program training at Fort Wolters, Texas, and Fort Rucker, Alabama. In late-December 1967, at the age of 25, Hugh Thompson was ordered to Vietnam and assigned to Company B, 123rd Aviation Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Division.


The Shameful History of the My Lai Massacre

What was the My Lai Massacre?

The My Lai Massacre was a brutal event in the Vietnam War where 347-504 unarmed citizens (mostly women and children) in South Vietnam were savagely murdered. The My Lai Massacre was conducted by a unit of the United States Army on March 16, 1968.

A number of the victims of the My Lai massacre were beaten, raped, tortured and some of the bodies were mutilated post mortem. The My Lai Massacre occurred in the hamlets of My Lai and the My Khe village during the Vietnam War. Originally 26 soldiers of the United States armed forces unit were initially charged for these criminal offenses, only soldier William Calley was convicted. Calley, who was convicted with the killing of 22 civilians during the My Lai massacre, was originally given a life sentence however, the soldier only served three years under house arrest.’

When the My Lai Massacre tragedy went public, the news prompted widespread outrage throughout the globe. The My Lai Massacre also augmented the domestic opposition towards the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

On the morning of March 16, 1968 Charlie Company landed in the hamlets of My Lai where they found no enemy resistance. The troops initially figured that the opposition was hiding underground in their family’s homes a belief that prompted the American soldiers to enter homes and start shooting. Once the first civilians were killed by indiscriminate fire, the soldiers went on attack, shooting at humans and animals of the village with heavy firearms, bayonets and grenades.

Large groups of villagers were rounded up by the 1st Platoon and executed via orders given by Second Lieutenant William Calley. In addition to these egregious orders, Calley also shot two other groups of civilians with a weapon he took form a soldier who had refused to participate in further killings.

After the initial killing executed by the 1st and 2nd Platoons, a 3rd platoon entered to deal with any “remaining resistance.” Over the next two days, the battalions were involved in additional destructions as well as the mistreatment of prisoners of war. While the majority of soldiers had not participated in these crimes, they neither protested nor complained to their superiors to halt the brutal killings.

The total body count of the May Lai massacre was never made tangible the memorial at the site lists 504 names, but the United States’ investigation revealed 347 deaths. The first reports of the May Lai massacre, in an effort to cover-up the savage slayings, claimed that “128 Viet Cong and 22 Civilians” were killed in the village during a fire fight.

On November 17, 1970 the United States Army charged 14 officers involved in the May Lai massacre with suppressing information related to the incident. The majority of these were later dropped only a Bridge commander stood trial relating to the cover-up.

Captain Medina William Calley was convicted for his chief role in the May Lai Massacre on March 29, 1971. Calley was charged with premeditated murder for ordering his troops to execute the civilians. Although calley was initially sentenced to life in prison, President Richard Nixon released him from prison, pending an appeal of his sentence.


He was America’s most notorious war criminal, but Nixon helped him anyway

On the morning of March 16, 1968, William L. Calley Jr., a 24-year-old Army lieutenant, woke up in Vietnam and prepared for an attack that would end in a slaughter.

The former insurance investigator was about to become the most notorious war criminal in U.S. history. He shaved. He combed his hair. He ate scrambled eggs and a creamed hamburger, downed some coffee and poured himself six canteens of water, according to his memoir.

He gathered his ammunition, his rifle and a cartridge belt. Then he and his fellow platoon members headed in helicopters for the hamlets of My Lai in the eastern part of South Vietnam. As his chopper hovered five feet above the ground, Calley jumped out and laid down fire before entering the village. There, he and other soldiers began massacring unarmed civilians.

“The fear: nearly everyone had it. And everyone had to destroy it: My Lai, the source of it,” Calley said of that moment in his 1971 memoir, “Lieutenant Calley: His Own Story.” “And everyone moved into My Lai firing automatic. And went rapidly, and the GIs shot people rapidly. Or grenaded them. Or just bayoneted them: to stab, to throw someone aside, to go on.”

Despite a lengthy coverup, Calley was eventually charged, court-martialed at Fort Benning, Ga., convicted of murdering at least 22 people and sentenced in 1971 to life in prison. But President Richard Nixon intervened on his behalf, sparing him from severe penalty. Nixon refused to allow Calley’s transfer to the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., then sprung him from Fort Benning’s stockade and ordered him placed under house arrest at his apartment on base. The president also announced he would personally review Calley’s case before any sentence took effect.

Prosecutor Aubrey M. Daniel was so livid that he wrote a letter to Nixon blasting his decision.

“Sir: It is very difficult for me to know where to begin this letter as I am not accustomed to writing letters of protest,” he said in his statement. “I have been particularly shocked and dismayed at your decision to intervene in these proceedings in the midst of public clamor. . . . Your intervention has, in my opinion, damaged the military judicial system and lessened any respect it may have gained as a result of the proceedings. . . . I would expect the President of the United States . . . would stand fully behind the law of this land on a moral issue which is so clear and about which there can be no compromise.”

As Calley appealed, the military justice system reduced his sentence to 20 years, then 10. By late 1974, he was free on bail. Two years later, he was paroled. In all, he spent just a few months behind bars at Fort Leavenworth.

Now, President Trump is considering granting pardons to servicemen accused of war crimes in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported on May 18 that the president planned to issue them over Memorial Day weekend. But Trump backed away from the plan Friday, acknowledging that pardoning men accused or convicted of war crimes is “a little bit controversial” and needed more consideration.

Military veterans and some Republicans have condemned Trump’s interest in pardoning Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher, who is charged with shooting unarmed civilians and killing a teenage Islamic State detainee in Iraq, then holding his reenlistment ceremony with the corpse Nicholas A. Slatten, a former Blackwater security contractor convicted of first-degree murder for his role in killing an unarmed civilian in Iraq in 2007 a group of Marine Corps snipers charged with urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters and Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, who faces a murder charge in the death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker.

Trump already has pardoned Michael Behenna, an Army Ranger who served five years after he stripped an al-Qaeda detainee naked, interrogated him, then shot him to death in the middle of the Iraqi desert in 2008.

On Twitter, the president also called Golsteyn a “military hero” and ordered Gallagher to “less restrictive confinement” in “honor of his past service to our Country” as he awaits trial.

However, in 1971, when Nixon intervened in Calley’s case, the commander in chief’s actions appeared to contradict his earlier leanings.

In 1969, shortly after Calley was charged, Nixon released a statement calling the My Lai Massacre “a direct violation” of U.S. military policy, “abhorrent to the conscience of all the American people.” The perpetrators, he said, would be “dealt with in accordance with the strict rules of military justice.”

Later that year, he doubled down, saying “under no circumstances” was the atrocity justified.

But by the time of Calley’s conviction, public sentiment had tilted so much in his favor that Nixon had to make a huge pivot he could not afford to risk alienating himself from Calley, whose cause was uniting the left and the right.

Veterans and supporters of the Vietnam War believed Calley was simply carrying out orders and doing all he could to protect himself and the country. American Legion posts, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other groups organized rallies demanding presidential clemency.

In Oklahoma, a 20-car rush-hour parade carried signs that read, “Free Calley!”

“Calley’s name became a rallying cry for some hawkish soldiers, and one artillery battalion painted across one of its big guns the legend, ‘Calley’s Avenger,’” wrote New York Times journalist Richard Hammer in his 1971 book, “The Court-Martial of Lt. Calley.”

The left had his back, too, including the pediatrician Benjamin Spock, who himself beat back criminal charges that he conspired with others to persuade men to violate their draft orders. After Nixon ordered Calley released from the stockade at Fort Benning, Spock denounced his conviction: “[I]t’s too bad that one man is being made to pay for the brutality of the whole war.”

A song, “Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley,” sold 200,000 copies. One passage goes like this: “My name is William Calley, I’m a soldier of this land/ I’ve tried to do my duty and to gain the upper hand/ But they’ve made me out a villain, they have stamped me with a brand/ As we go marching on/ I’m just another soldier from the shores of U.S.A./ Forgotten on the battlefield 10,000 miles away.”

Perhaps more than anything, people felt sorry for Calley. How was it that so many Vietnamese civilians could be slaughtered — at least 504 were killed — but only one person convicted of playing a direct role in the killings?

Eleven other men were charged with murder, maiming or assault with the intent to commit murder, but their cases were abandoned before trial or they were acquitted. To many, Calley was no villain. In fact, according to polls at the time of his conviction, a majority of Americans regarded him as a scapegoat.

“We as a nation cannot wipe away this blemish from the national conscience by finding one man guilty,” Sen. Frank Moss (D-Utah) and Rep. Richard Fulton (D-Tenn.) said at the time, according to Hammer’s book. “We all share the guilt.”

So who was this man who would go down as one of America’s worst war criminals?

Calley was born in June 1943, the second oldest of four children and the only boy. He grew up in a middle-class household in Miami, where his father, a World War II Navy veteran, ran a company that sold heavy construction equipment.

In school, he performed poorly and was caught cheating in seventh grade. He dropped out of his high school, joined the Florida Military Academy in Fort Lauderdale, but quit before transferring to another military academy in Georgia. He quit that academy, too, before finally settling on Miami Edison Senior High School. He graduated in 1962, ranking 666th out of 731 students.

That fall, he enrolled at Palm Beach Junior College and worked side gigs as a busboy, dishwasher, bellman, short-order cook and carwash attendant, according to Hammer’s book. At school, he flunked most of his courses. He tried to enlist in the Army in 1964, but was rejected.

He worked as a railway switchman and then as an insurance investigator. He was in San Francisco when he received word that his draft board in Miami was looking for him. He enlisted instead.

His Army superiors, apparently impressed with his military school experience, believed he should attend Officer Candidate School (OCS). In March 1967, he was sent to Fort Benning, where — again — he graduated near the bottom of his class. Calley deployed to Vietnam as a member of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade and a platoon leader in Charlie Company.

“One thing at OCS was nobody said, ‘Now, there will be innocent civilians there,’” Calley wrote in his memoir. “It was drummed into us, ‘Be sharp! On guard! As soon as you think these people won’t kill you, ZAP! In combat, you haven’t friends! You have enemies!’ Over and over at OCS we heard this and I told myself, I’ll act as if I’m never secure. As if everyone in Vietnam would do me in. As if everyone’s bad.”

After additional training in Hawaii, Calley and his fellow soldiers took a Pan Am flight to Vietnam, landing on Dec. 1, 1967. Three and a half months later, Calley and his comrades would open fire on My Lai.


Quotations: My Lai massacre

A selection of Vietnam War quotations pertaining to the My Lai massacre of March 1968. These quotations have been researched, selected and compiled by Alpha History authors. If you would like to suggest a quotation for this collection, please contact us.

“I’m going to go over and get them out of the bunker myself. If the squad opens up on them, shoot ’em.”
Hugh Thompson, Jr., US pilot, to his crew at My Lai, March 1968

“[Hugh] Thompson landed again… walked over to this lieutenant, and I could tell they were in a shouting match. I thought they were going to get in a fistfight. He told me later what they said. Thompson: ‘Let’s get these people out of this bunker and get ’em out of here.’ Brooks: ‘We’ll get ’em out with hand grenades.’ Thompson: ‘I can do better than that. Keep your people in place. My guns are on you.’ Hugh was outranked, so this was not good to do, but that’s how committed he was to stopping it.”
Lawrence Colburn, a member of Thompson’s helicopter crew

“The most disturbing thing I saw [at My Lai] was one boy – and this is what haunts me – a boy with his arms shot off, shot up and hanging on, and he just had this bewildered look on his face, like ‘What did I do?’… He couldn’t comprehend.”
Fred Wilmer, ‘C’ Company

“He just stood there with big eyes staring around like he didn’t understand. He didn’t believe what was happening. Then the captain’s RTO (radio operator) put a burst of M-16 fire into him.”
‘Butch’ Gruver, ‘C’ Company

“It was terrible. They were slaughtering villagers like so many sheep.”
Sergeant Larry La Croix, June 1968

“I feel that they were able to carry out the assigned task, the orders that meant killing small kids, killing women, because they were trained that way. They were trained that when you get into combat, it’s either you or the enemy.”
Kenneth Hodges, ‘C’ company sergeant

“A sweep operation was conducted recently… Crazy American enemy used light machine guns and all kinds of weapons to kill our innocent civilian people in [My Lai]. Most of them were women, kids, just born babies and pregnant women. They shot everything they saw. They killed all domestic animals. They burned all people’s houses. There were 26 families killed completely – no survivors… The American wolf forgot its good sheep’s appearance. They opened mouth to eat, to drink our people blood with all their animal barbarity. Our people have only one way: it is to kill them so they can not bite anymore.”
Viet Cong radio broadcast on My Lai, 1968

“There may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs [by US military personnel] but this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the division… In direct refutation of this [Tom Glen’s] portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”
Colin Powell, US Army major, 1968

“Exactly what did occur in the village of Pinkville in March 1968 I do not know for certain, but I am convinced that it was something very black indeed… I feel that I must take some positive action on this matter. I hope that you will launch an investigation immediately and keep me informed of your progress. If you cannot, then I don’t know what other course of action to take.”
Ron Ridenhour, March 1969

“I have considered sending this to newspapers, magazines and broadcasting companies, but I somehow feel that investigation and action by the Congress of the United States is the appropriate procedure… As a conscientious citizen, I have no desire to further besmirch the image of the American serviceman in the eyes of the world.”
Ron Ridenhour, March 1969

“It is concluded that during the period March 16th-19th 1968, troops of Task Force Barker massacred a large number of Vietnamese nationals in the village of Son My. Knowledge as to the extent of the incident existed at company level… Efforts at division command level to conceal information concerning what was probably believed to be the killing of 20-28 civilians actually resulted in the suppression of a war crime of far greater magnitude. The commander of the 11th Brigade, upon learning that a war crime had probably been committed, deliberately set out to conceal the fact from proper authority and to deceive his commander concerning the matter.”
Summary of findings of the Peers Commission, 1970

“The only crime I have committed is in judgement of my values. Apparently, I valued my troops’ lives more than I did the lives of the enemy.”
William Calley, ‘C’ Company lieutenant

“It’s why I’m old before my time. I remember it all the time. I’m all alone and life is hard. Thinking about it has made me old… I won’t forgive as long as I live. Think of the babies being killed, then ask me why I hate them.”
A Vietnamese survivor of the My Lai massacre


Skatīties video: The My Lai Massacre: History, Lessons, and Legacy