…good mourning, vietnam! no lie…

…as the past just keeps interrupting and correcting the us narrative, from asia to america…

This week we have the awkward commemoration of yet another event of so many for which the US has gained additional infamy.

This is the My Lai Massacre, which never took place, and which, when revealed to have indeed taken place, was declared to have been the ‘actions of a few bad apples’, ‘rogue soldiers’. The US military officer in the field, not those culpable in the headquarters, responsible for the atrocities would be much later convicted and sentenced to jail but serve a mere few months – proof of the US system of justice.

For a quick read with reference to a commemorative article written by the journalist, Seymour Hersch, who originally broke the story, we have, We Forgive But We Do Not Forget: There Were Many My Lais

As the article by Abby Zimet over at common dreams reminds us My Lai was not just a one-off event in Vietnam, some aberration. An excerpt,

On the morning of March 16, 1968, about a hundred U.S. soldiers known as Charlie Company arrived at My Lai, having received faulty intelligence that it held Vietcong troops. When they found “only a peaceful village at breakfast,” they slaughtered all its inhabitants anyway. A museum now at the site – there are also “memory day trips” there – lists the grisly statistics: 504 victims, including 182 women, seventeen of them pregnant, and 173 children. The numbers include 97 people killed the same day in another nearby village by members of Bravo Company. The rule of the day was famously articulated by Lieut. William Calley, Charlie’s commander and the only person ever convicted of any crime; his order, used by Nick Turse as the title for his harrowing book on Vietnam, was “Kill Anything That Moves.”

To highlight cruel irony one commenter on the post mentions that much revered Vietnam Wall that graces the Mall in Washington, DC. The Wall is to honour the fallen US heroes who fought gallantly and died gallantly for freedom and justice and the ‘American Way’ in a Vietnam that posed an existential threat to the ‘free world’, a Vietnam that then would deny US citizens (and those of ‘the civilised nations of the world’) such good things. Today US businesses hustle business in a Vietnam that still suffers from the consequences of Agent Orange and other chemicals, like the bombs, that the US so lavishly dumped on the country.

…yes, in those days, there did exist US reporters and journalists who refused to shrink from their professional duties and obligations, from reporting on the misdeeds, the destructive and deadly brutality of the us in its misadventures…