“There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai, ”  William Calley told members of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus today.  His voice started to break when he added, “I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed,  for their families,  for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.”

William Calley, Jr., speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus, Columbus, GA

William Calley, Jr., speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus, Columbus, GA

 The former Army lieutenant, a Fort Benning OCS graduate, who was convicted for his part in the mass murders of between a reported 300 and 500 civilians at My Lai,  Vietnam, who refused to do interviews with the top network reporters, reporters like Mike Wallace who wanted him to appear on CBS’ Sixty Minutes,  gave an interview to Kiwanians and guests, including me.   When TV commentator and former newsman Al Fleming introduced him, he said, “We are going to do this like a news conference.  Rusty is going to make a brief statement and then he’ll take your questions.”  

William Calley, Jr

William Calley, Jr

In answering those questions, he did not try to deny what had happened on that March 16th, 1968, but did repeatedly make the point, which he has made before, that he was following orders.  It is well known that the officer accused of issuing those orders, Captain Ernest Medina, was also tried and found not guilty.  His attorney was the famous defense attorney F. Lee Bailey. 

Calley also pointed out that when the Army photographer who brought about the investigation into the incident – he sent information and pictures to New York Senator Jacob Javits – the Army denied that it happened.     When the Inspector General conducted an inquiry into the incident,  Calley, when questioned, did not deny that it happened. 

I asked him for his reaction to the notion that a soldier does not have to obey an unlawful order.  In fact, to obey an unlawful order is to be unlawful yourself.  He said,  “I believe that is true.  If you are asking why I did not stand up to them when I was given the orders,  I will have to say that I was a 2nd Lieutenant getting orders from my commander and I followed them –  foolishly, I guess.”  He said that was no excuse, just what happened.

His sentence was commuted to time served, which was three years under house arrest at Fort Benning,  and a short time at the disciplinary barracks at  Fort Leavenworth.  While at Fort Leavenworth he was paroled,  but  his civil rights have not been restored.  “No, I still cannot vote,” he said. “In fact,  I’m not even suppose to go into the post office, I guess.”

 Many Americans, including a lot of Columbus people, thought that Calley was a scapegoat,  forced to take the fall for those above him.   That sentiment had been very strong when the late federal Judge J. Robert Elliot released Calley from custody after a habeas corpushearing.  An appeals court reversed Elliot’s ruling and Calley was retuned to Army custody,  but the Army soon paroled him.

Calley marrried Penny Vick of Columbus and worked in her father’s jewelry store in Columbus for many years.  He lives in Atlanta with his 28-year-old son, Laws,  who is on the verge of getting his PhD in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech.

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  1. Angie Says:

    I am appalled, at best, at your sensational treatment of this story. To use the whole front page which you usually reserve for sports or other non-news is scandalous!! I don’t know if you have any military experience yourself, Dick, but your judgmental, sanctimonious tone thruout the whole story is a real disservice to all who have served their country. Is your journalistic vocabulary so limited that you could not find other words to describe him than “Convicted killer” in your headline. Would not “Lt Calley” have served as well. The “yippee, yappy and yahoooooey – I got the story no one else could get!!!!” comes through loud and clear. Mr. Calley made one serious mistake in his life. He has paid for it dearly! Granting you this “interview” may be his second. Since you were not there and have no idea what you would have done in his shoes, I suggest the next apology should come from you.!!!!!

    • dicksworld Says:

      I am a veteran and supporter of the United States Army. I have to say that I don’t agree with your remarks that I was judgemental. I was simply reporting what he said.

      • sam Says:

        I’m a veteran too and have to say that I thought this was a very calm, even-toned report of what seems to be a scoop. I don’t believe Lt. Calley has apologized in public before. I may be wrong, but it was interesting to get a taste of the remorse he has been dealing with all these years. Good job.

    • American Patriot Says:

      Son of Sam’s not a serial killer monster.

      Son of Sam was just following orders (just like Calley). His neighbor’s dog told him to shoot those people in the head.

      Son of Sam only shot a few (six) (just like Calley, who only shot a few hundred.)

      Son of Sam had a really rough life with a lot of stress (just like Calley and his serial killer colleagues, who all had one heck of a time in ‘nam.)

      Son of Sam is sorry for killing those six people (just like Calley, who is sorry for killing those few hundred people.)

      Son of Sam should be free (just like Calley).

    • Really? Says:

      He PAID DEARLY?! He murdered over 30 innocent civilians himself and ordered the deaths of, by the lowest death count somewhere around 150, and by the highest over 500 people consisting mostly of elderly, women, and children. He did not receive any form of legitimate punishment that he should of, he was convicted to life in prison by a jury of military staff in a fair trial, but Nixon released him two days later. His argument of following orders is also bullshit, if you’ve read the Peers report issued by General Peers in regard to the incident, there was significant evidence that Medina issued an order at around 0920 the day of the massacre to cease combat after realizing the 48th VC LF battalion was not in fact in My Lai-4, but he went on to order his platoon to continue killing the entire village for two more hours, after they had swept through the entire town.

    • Dave Says:

      His murder victims included little children, INFANTS.

      “He paid dearly?” – 3 years house arrest in a comfortable flat with conjugal visits? Is that your idea of justice? You make me sick.

  2. William Jones Says:

    “Paid for it dearly?” This was murder, he should have gotten life. This was a war crime.

    Dick does not “disgrace” this country, Lt. Calley did that.

  3. suzanne Says:

    I submitted a paper in a religion class in 1971 at the University of Alabama regarding the Calley courtmarshall. I am a member of the Kiwanis Club at which Mr. Calley spoke on Wednesday and was in attendance. It was moving. It was honest. I do not pass judgement. I feel priviledged to have witnessed Mr. Calley’s public appearance and to have heard his comments. It was an experience I will not forget.

    • Dave Says:

      Why doesn’t he go and apologize to his victims face to face? Or does his act of contrition draw the line at actually facing what he did? Some courage!

      • Bob Ford Says:

        He did try to apologize by getting paid $25000 for his side of the story
        vis a vis Mail paper and going on a college tour reporting about his version of the massacre. In that sense he reminds me of Eichmann and dr Mengele except those characters did not have the business acumen of our leutenant.
        If this is not the worst kind of Porn I don’t know..

  4. Rick boyette Says:

    You had to be there to understand the duress we were under.. We were sick and tired of being mortared,, grenaded, and shot at by the civilians who worked on the base. It is disheartening to have a young child come up to you with a picnic basket only to have a live grenade with the pin pulled as a present. It hurt terribly to take a woman’s son away for questioning, watching her cry and try to follow us onto the boat. It killed something in me the day my best friend died, shot in the chest by a vietcong sniper. In fact, from that day on, I quit wearing a flak jacket, helment ,and quit taking anti-malarial drugs. I survived, but many more did not, and they died for NOTHING! Calley was just following orders, leave him alone.

  5. john clark Says:

    Lt. Calley should have been given a medal for killing the enemy. It was war. Who and where was the enemy, no one knew. Unfortunately Hanoi Jane wasn’t one of the KIA along with all the other do- gooders in this country.

    • dave swann Says:

      To John Clark who seems to see Calley as a hero – yeah, a medal for killing “the enemy” – I guess the “enemy” included infants – some “hero” ya got there John, and some moral courage you have…

      • David Black Says:

        dave swann: Blame the VC for conscripting civilians in the first place. Blame the VC for turning a village into a base of operation from which missions to kill Americans and ARVN and therefore, placing villagers in harm’s way.

        You wasted a whole village to send a message to the VC. A soldier didn’t have time to check the loyalties of every individual living in a village. Doing so would get yourself killed.

        Tell me dave swann, you’ve never had to live where your ability to survive changed from moment to moment, have you?

        I think I already know the answer. You can’t judge soldiers in battle by conventional society standards. It’s impossible.

    • joe L Says:

      Ok, David. so let’s say what you said is right “killing women and children is neccessary, because they are working for the VC”. However, was the part about torturing and raping neccessary too?

      • David Black Says:

        What does that question have to do with the incident at My Lai? People like you look for any way to impugn warriors in the arena of battle.

      • Mark B. Says:

        Get an encyclopedia, David. I’ve read plenty of reputable accounts that that sort of thing happened at My Lai. Its unbelievable that you think this man is worth defending.

        I’m not a soldier myself, and don’t presume to understand the “standards” you judge this man by. But I believe that whatever I do in life, I take personal responsibility for my actions. Saying something is acceptable simply because it happened on a battlefield is is, frankly, childish.

        Clearly the Viet Cong were at fault. They deserved to be hated. Thats not what we’re discussing here. We’re discussing how to treat a situation where innocent people were killed. Casualties happen. But this is something different. If you can’t get over YOUR bias and see that, I really feel sorry for you.

        To purposely and unnecessarily kill hundreds of civilians requires a person to be either very mentally unstable, or just plain evil. Again, I realize I have no idea what things were like in Vietnam, as I wasn’t there. But guys like William Calley obviously couldn’t handle it.

        I’m proud to be an American because of the courage and MORAL INTEGRITY of soldiers like Hugh Thompson.

      • David Kessler Says:

        There’s no need to concede that killing women and children was necessary, at least not in this context. This wasn’t a shell fired from a distance at an enemy position that exploded and killed nearby civilians. This was a massacre. Calley and the other murderers knew what they were doing: killing innocent, unarmed civilians. If the Civilians were to be treated as guilty, then what was the purpose of being there at all? Who were the Americans there to protect and defend?

        The Vietcong were no threat to America. They didn’t operate on American soil or attack American civilians. And if they had done would not some American civilians fight them? And if that happened, then would they have been justified in killing other American civilians on the grounds that they didn’t know which ones were the enemy?

  6. C.J. Says:

    There can be no double standard: we still actively prosecute, or deport for justice, Nazi murderers of non-combatants. I believe that if any Japanese murderer of American civilians or servicemen came to light today, nobody on these boards would say “forgive and forget”.

    The fact that one of our own did it was deplorable, is deplorable, and should always be deplorable. Nobody who participated in the massacre received justice; anyone who says that just because the perpetrators were American soldiers, they should be given a free pass, should be ashamed. America will lose its greatness by not holding itself to a higher standard.

  7. John Says:

    If situations had been reversed, the Vietnamese would have been war-criminals. And Calley saying he`s sorry is just rubbish. I remember him saying, “I`ll be extremely proud if Pinkville shows the world what war is.” If the Communists in Malaya, had chopped our heads off they`d be war-criminals. But we won-so there not.

  8. Mike Almer Says:

    I don’t care what kind of stress Mr. Boyette was under during his Vietnam tour, it doesn’t explain or excuse in the least why My Lai happened. I was also stressed when I served as an infantryman with the 25th Division in 1968, but I never understood how an American soldier could have participated in the large scale killings than occurred that day in My Lai. Awful things occur during battle, of course. But for me, I would have rather put a bullet in my own head than push dozens women and children into a ditch and shooting them. Calley, his chain of command, and the others responsible should have paid for their crimes.

    • David Black Says:

      I’m not buying it, Mike, especially when you knew those women and children were being used by the VC as enemy combatants.

      You would have actually put their lives before yours?

      No wonder we couldn’t achieve victory decisively in SE Asia. Some of my fellow baby boomers weren’t possessed with a killer’s instinct. What a difference between those who lived through the Depression and fought and those brought up in the comfort of post-WW2 America.

      I’m not saying ALL baby boomers turned out that way, but a lot did, and a lot turned out to be sniveling ingrates who smoked dope, joined the counterculture, turned against their country, and spit on its traditions.

      • Jeremy Reese Says:

        I’m not buying it, David. Those women and children were not enemy combantants. That’s just a cowardly excuse used to justify murder. Killing unarmed people is not combat. Period. Get over yourself.

      • David Kessler Says:

        David, if the women and children murdered at My Lai were being used as enemy combatants at My Lai, then why did Chief Warrant Officer Hugh C. Thompson (who unlike Calley really was a hero) risk his life saving some of them from Calley and his gang?

  9. clifford Says:

    Really Rick boyette? So killing women and children and elderly was the only way to deal with the “duress”?

    We’re all in moral outrage over Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi release and yet he was only responsible for 270 deaths!

    John Clark, My Lai was not in enemy territory. All the victims were women and children and elderly.

  10. Jake Says:

    “I believe that if any Japanese murderer of American civilians or servicemen came to light today, nobody on these boards would say “forgive and forget”.

    Piffle. You Leftists always prattle that silly line – right up until the time an actual criminal terrorist more in sympathy with your ideological biases is released, pardoned, and praised in the media for his “activism.” Nelson Mandela comes to mind. So does Billy Ayers. Spare us.

    • C.J. Says:

      Piffle? Don’t make me laugh.

      I have no doubt that if your son had been killed at Malmedy, you’d have hung the perpetrator yourself; and if your son had been the shooter…? Let me guess.

      Why do so many people on the Right only stand up for “right” when it’s in their self-interest to do so?

      • Jake Says:

        Yeah, it’s piflle alrighty – which is why you can only respond with an smarmy hypothetical heavily larded with the ad hominem instead of actually replying to my post. Please try again.

    • C.J. Says:

      > instead of actually replying to my post. Please try again.

      O.K. I will.

      > You Leftists always prattle that silly line

      Really? I don’t think so.

      > right up until the time an actual criminal terrorist more in sympathy with your ideological biases is released, pardoned, and praised in the media for his “activism.”

      Really? I don’t think so.

      > Nelson Mandela comes to mind.


      > So does Billy Ayers.

      Had to Google this one. Oh yeah. Him. Naah – I’m not into terrorists. Never have been.

      > Spare us.

      Nope. I don’t think I will. That’s the point of my whole original post.

  11. David Says:

    Duch, Pol Pot`s torturer, who personally killed and tortured 15,000 people is a war-criminal, for waterboarding people, yet the CIA do the same thing, and there not. Calley slaughters Vietnamese in the same way Japan did Chinese, and he`s not. American double standards again.

    • JB1969 Says:

      Be glad the US has those standards, or you wouldn’t be able to run your mouth on this board

    • William Bell Says:

      Pol Pot’s minions tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people for no legitimate reason. Anyone who can’t see a moral difference between that and waterboarding captured terrorists to obtain information to foil further terrorist schemes and save innocent lives is just plain stupid.

  12. James68 Says:

    I have much respect for our veterans, especially those who fought in Vietnam. However, what Calley did is NO different that what the Nazi’s did in WWII. They also stated they were just following orders. There is no excuse for what he did. He should be serving life without parole in federal prison.

    (ps. No, I’m not some left winger, I’m a Conservative Christian)

    • AJ Says:

      Do two wrongs make a right? Nobody is disrespecting veterans, but there are good soldiers and there are bad soldiers. As a ‘Christian’, you should be able to see that very clearly! What were we doing in Vietnam?
      I cannot believe that there are people who actually condone Calley’s behavior!

  13. Devin Says:

    I try not to judge harshly those who had to be on the ground in combat, I do reserve judgment for the higher up brass and the respective administrations involved in Vietnam and other wars. They should be held to a higher standard and a stiffer punishment. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat argument Jake … it’s really a moral argument if America should be involved in the systematic killing of non-combatant women and/or children. Of course we killed hundreds of thousands of women and children during bombing raids in WW II, the supposed ‘good war’ and people rarely talk about that.

    We have been involved in ‘war crimes’ since the before the founding of our republic, just as most countries have at one time or another.

  14. Stella Johnson Says:

    Sure, in many ways, each of us could argue Calley deserved a life sentence, but I must admit his regret seems genuine. I am, however, sick and damn tired of people comparing every wrong they perceive as “Nazism.” That is not an apt comparison, but hyperbole, especially in this case.

    Jamie68 states the same, tired Nazi allegory again, denying being a leftist and proclaiming he’s a Conservative Christian. If so, where is your belief in forgiveness? “Judge ye not” is a part of Christian beliefs, and yet you judge. Although the Nazi soldiers claim they were “just following orders,” Viet Nam was an entirely different situation.

    Anyone who believes that strongly progressive people do not understand Calley’s situation in Viet Nam are in error. My Lai was a horror–I place more blame on the DoJ, which issued the orders. I agree that Calley was a scapegoat. May I remind you that both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were part of the Nixon Administration when this horror occurred? How much culpability exists among them and Nixon? What of the DOJ, other members of the Executive Branch, and Congress?

    If Calley truly believes what he says, and I’m not sure, I can at least respect his remorse and understanding that “…to obey an unlawful order is to be unlawful yourself. He said, “I believe that is true. If you are asking why I did not stand up to them when I was given the orders. ” His comment echoes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s statement: “One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.” Would that Calley considered King’s words. I am struck by the close comparison of these statements.

    Angie points out “Since you were not there and have no idea what you would have done in his shoes,” Even as a strong progressive, I respect her comment. Read Rick Boyette’s comment. C.J., I do not stand up for my rights when it’s in my (personal) interest to do so. As a fellow progressive I fight like hell to support policies in which I believe, even those which do not affect me personally. I do not subscribe the LaRochefaucalt’s precept that “When deciding what to do, [people] will follow their own ends.” As a fellow progressive, please do not speak for me.

    Devin, your statement resonates with me most of all: “…try not to judge harshly those who had to be on the ground in combat, I do reserve judgment for the higher up brass and the respective administrations involved in Vietnam and other wars. They should be held to a higher standard and a stiffer punishment. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat argument Jake … it’s really a moral argument.” Right. If you weren’t there, then you cannot judge the situation. In North Viet Nam, women and children were strapped to bombs to kill enemies and conduct suicide missions. Was this part of the reason for My Lai?

    Sorry, I have no answer and refuse to speculate.

    The My Lai massacre and Iraq, among many others around the world, strongly demonstrates that dialog among people is a critical component of ending the carnage. Did the soldiers who participated in My Lai have foreknowledge of the horror they caused? Without full knowledge of the situation, I cannot answer the question.

    As a felon, and I agree he earned his status, he cannot vote; he cannot go to the post office. Is that not punishment, also? Consider Calley’s comment: “Calley also pointed out that when the Army photographer who brought about the investigation into the incident – he sent information and pictures to New York Senator Jacob Javits – the Army denied that it happened. When the Inspector General conducted an inquiry into the incident, Calley, when questioned, did not deny that it happened.”

    I don’t know if Calley should be in jail for the rest of his life, but AM vehemently against war. Based on what we’ve learned at My Lai alone, we are all clear that military mistakes cost innocent lives. I never supported Viet Nam, and felt Johnson and Nixon were too close to believing in the Cold War mentality, which caused them to deploy troops.

    I grew up in a politically involved family and know first-hand that knee-jerk responses to difficult questions do not always lead to the correct answers. My opinion? I both understand and cannot answer for Calley’s actions or meet out the appropriate punishment.

    Each of you must come to your own conclusions; however, I strongly believe there’s always more complexity to a situation such as My Lai than we know.

    • Jim Patton Says:

      Wow, Stella. He cannot vote or go to the post office? When will this travesty end?! That poor man. Please explain to me then, with all of your windy prose, the moral “complexities” associated with machine gunning an infant? Explain the mystery to me that would justify mowing down a peasant mother holding her 2yr old (I guess in your opinion somehow dangerous) baby? I can only imagine how incredibly objective you would be if it was your family being massacred by a band of soldiers led by a man like Calley. I’m sure you’d be all logic and compassion, right? Right…

  15. Gary Farber Says:

    Thanks muchly for your extremely newsworthy post; I’ve blogged about it here, if you’re interested.

  16. tompain Says:

    Much of the condemnation of Calley is based on contentions that “I would never do such a horrible thing.” No sane person argues that what Calley did was wrong, but in contemplating the degree of condemnation and punishment Calley’s actions merit, we ought to keep in mind that he was a young man sent by us to do horrible things in our name in a miserable and terrifying place. People that we told him to listen to told him to do things he should not have done, and all around him a mob was doing the same thing. Should he have stood up and refused? Yes. But can we not acknowledge the incredible difficulty of making a decision to do so at that particular moment in that particular place? I would like to think I’d have had the courage to act differently. Maybe at my age now I would. But in my early 20’s? A few years out of high school? I just don’t know.

    I remember reading about Lt Calley years ago in a class on leadership and ethics. Back then I thought he was a monster. With another 15-20 years of life experience under my belt, I am inclined to think he has been punished enough for doing an evil deed that he’d never have been put in a position to do if he were born in a different time or place, in circumstances most of us cannot begin to imagine.

  17. tompain Says:

    sorry, I meant that no sane person argues that what Calley did was NOT wrong.

  18. Steve Says:

    I forgive you. Those were crazed times for our country, and you were singled out. Thank you for the apology.

    • Dave Says:

      It’s really not your place to forgive him. Perhaps if he were genuinely apologetic and had the courage to face his victims and ask for their forgiveness, as they once begged mercy for their loved ones, then maybe he would be starting on a path of redemption. As it is, these are crocodile tears.

  19. bupalos Says:

    What these soldiers did, and what many of the Vietnamese did too, was simply temporary insanity. There is no other way to put it, and there is nothing else that the majority of humans would do put in that situation. There are some extraordinary humans who can stay sane while the world goes mad, but most cannot. I can’t blame him.

    Can we blame people who come on here 40 years later from the comfort of their desks and spew insanely about how killing babies, children, and mothers is a good idea and deserves commendation– still stewing in their hatred for those who ultimately were significantly more correct, and infinitely more human than they were and are? I’d say yes, but then I don’t know the life circumstances of these people…maybe they were raped as infants or something. Something has to be terribly wrong with them, almost chemically wrong, not to recognize basic tenants of humanity in calm and comfortable circumstances.

  20. Bus Plunge Says:

    I have linked to this post also.

    Rusty Calley has showed more honor and love of his country and sincere regrets than Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolten and the whole dang lot of them.

    Lt. Calley, your apology is accepted.

    Jim Lee

    • Dave Says:

      Again, not your place to accept his apology, sincere or not.

    • Jim Patton Says:

      I don’t think saying (allow me to paraphrase), “yeah, I murdered a bunch of kids and women and old people, guess I feel kinda bad, but hey, I was following orders, you know?” Qualifies in any sane person’s mind as an apology. So, NO, “Bus”… apology NOT accepted. Shame on you.

  21. Gary Farber Says:

    I think it’s pretty much up to Vietnamese people to accept, or not, William Calley’s apology, more than it is for Americans to.

    I believe Mr. Calley is sincere, but what I think is really neither here nor there.

    But the point of my post was that he was, certainly, a scapegoat, regardless of his personal responsibillities or acts. Johnson, McNamara, Nixon, Kissinger, Westmoreland, and the other people who set policy were the ones truly responsible for America’s war in, and crimes in, Vietnam; not the grunts on the ground who carried out their duties, whether responsibly, or irresponsibly, or whathaveyou.

    American soldiers ended up as much victims as the Vietnamese were, of an unnecessary, terribly wasteful, horrific, war.

    None of it should have ever happened. America should have abided by the Geneva Accords of 1954. Instead: millions dead to no end.

    The only point that could ever still come out of that wrong would be if Americans might learn something from it.

  22. Marilyn Says:

    Very distressing to read justifications for this massacre of women, children and the aged of Mai Lai.

    Mr. Calley has had the opportunity to live out his life and as it comes to an end he gives an apology which only reminds me of the atrocity. I don’t care much about him.

    His very late apology also makes me recall that the US Army
    1. ordered this atrocity
    2. attempted to cover-it up
    3. did NOT hold those who ordered it accountable

    We need an apology and accountability from the US Army.

  23. aleks Says:

    Without excusing the finger that pulls the trigger, the ultimate guilt belongs to those who cause wars, of which tragedy and atrocity are reliable and inescapable features.

  24. AJ Says:

    Judging from the comments from a lot of people on this site, it is evident that some have missed the real issue.

    Yes, it is commendable that Lt. Calley apologized and it is the start of the healing process, however, an apology alone does not make up for the terrible acts. I’ve no doubt that he was made an escapegoat and I’m not sure what I would have done if I were him. He disobeys the order, gets court martialed and ends up in a Military Prison, he obeys then he is wrong. I too, would like to think I would have done the right thing, but can’t say for sure since, I’ve not been in that position.

    Just because people question his actions does not mean they’re not patriotic. Shortly after our troops went to Afghanistan and Iraq, I heard a lot of comments from people at work (intelligent, literate people), who made statements like I have to support the war, because I support our troops. It is possible to not support the war, but support the troops.
    We should always support our troops!

    The 6 Uzbeki’s that were found innocent – It turns out they were right, they were trying to get away from the Chinese govt. and had paid tribal lords in Pakistan to get out of the country and into Pakistan or whatever. My question here is: When we found them innocent, no apology was given to them by our govt. and since we did them wrong, why would we not let them stay here in our country. Now Obama’s admin. was looking pay a country a lot of money to let these men immigrate to their country, because if they went back to Uzbekistan, they would most definately be tortured by ‘our’ friends the Chinese. I’m sure these men were tortured, and yet they were innocent.

    If I was innocent and captured by troops of a foreign govt., all because of my color and ethnic origin, I’m not sure I would be that forgiving.

    Every day the newspapers our full of stories of horrible acts commited by our troops or ex troops (Blackwater et al.), at the end of the day Americans!!!

    All our troops who have died are all from small towns. We pay our troops less than what we have paid these contractors. Our papers state that some of the ex soldiers are physically, mentally, emotionally handicapped and are in VA hospitals far way from their families. Who here has let down our veterans? This same scenario applied to Vietnam troops.

    Not that I for one minute condone, the German actions in WW2, but as I read we are not so forgiving of the soldiers who apparently now are very, very old men, and came to the US and lived under false pretenses. Is that not hypocracy? The top Nazi officials, got away – the likes of Mengele etc., how did they get to S. America? Surely they did not swim? Someone form the Allied party helped them.

    Please enlighten me?

  25. AJ Says:

    Stella Johnson:
    How is the action of our troops at Mai Lai differnt from the actions of the Nazi Troops? Not senior officers just the same rank at Lt. Calley. Dov Hikind and the likes of him, do not want the word Holocaust associated with anyone but the Jews! What about all the service man of the world – the Allied troops who died rescuing the Jews. Soldiers from the British Empire who fought for a war, that was not even theirs. I have read arguments, that Indian troops fought because the Japanese would have invaded the country – What is the difference between ruled by the English or Japanese? none, they are both invaders and both treated and would have treated (in this case Japanese) the natives (Indian people) cruelly. Poor dark skinned Indians had no rights, the Maharaja’s and the rich all had rights, attended Govt. Parties, invited to the Coronations (la di da) etc.

    Going back to Dov Hikind, what about the Polish Elite Army who were massacred or the gypsies and homosexuals etc. Was it not a holocaust for them?

  26. AJ Says:

    Sorry for ranting, but why did black americans serve in these wars? They were not even treated as humans, segregation, no rights at all.
    Did Muhammad Ali not go to prison, because he refused to go to Vietnam. I’m sure if he had, he would not have gotten a lush assignment, like Elvis did.

  27. Larry Jackson Says:

    How many so called women and children and innocent people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    Some of these responses of negative comments toward Mr. Calley make me want to barf. God forgive those who speak against Mr. Calley. No apology needed!

    Have a Blessed day Mr. Calley.

    • Dave Says:

      Yes, bless the baby murderers! I’m sure God has a special place in store for those poor misunderstood souls!

  28. Marty Gitlin Says:

    That was a disgusting comparison, Larry Jackson. The Americans dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because an invasion of Japan would have cost an estimated one million lives.

    The mass murder at My Lai was done by soldiers firing point-blank at 500 victims, including hundreds of women and children and even infants. There is no comparison.

  29. Larry Jackson Says:

    There isn’t? You have your opinion. I have mine. Mine overrides yours.

    Have a good day.

  30. David Black Says:

    I cannot view this whole tragic event through any other perspective but through that of the fighting soldier in the field, who day after day, fought (and STILL fights) for their country and for the survival of themselves and their fellow soldiers.

    I, personally, was caught up in Arab/Israeli engagement in the 1970s as an involuntary combatant, so know something about the battlefield dynamic.

    Over the years, I have interviewed soldiers involved in many wars and military operations where they were placed in harm’s way. Guerrilla warfare tactics used in Vietnam created a circumstance where the enemy usually did not appear in uniform. It is well known that the Viet Cong conscripted civilians from villages (often in return for food or security) to carry out their treachery. The person trying to kill you could have been a child, a elderly person, a woman, or someone you’d never suspect would be carrying a live grenade or would be wired with an explosive device. Whole villages were set up as VC base camps from which missions against American forces would be carried out.

    One of the unspoken rules of the battlefield is “kill or be killed.” Yes, it’s a brutal way to go, but it was reality. Handwringing and bleeding heart civilians judging how soldiers should operate in the field just have no clue about the necessity of distilling your entire ability to survive on a minute to minute basis. A soldier didn’t have the luxury in Viet Nam to thoroughly vet (by the book) every civilian’s loyalties. Going by the book would often put you in a body bag.

    I’m reminded of the quote from Apocalypse Now that goes “charging people with murder (in Viet Nam) was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500.”

    Calley was a scapegoat to hasten the peace process and any apologies should be forwarded to him. He was a soldier doing his duty to kill the enemy.

    Stand proud, Mr. Calley, you are a hero, not a criminal. The criminals were the ones who placed you on trial and nearly ruined your life completely.

    • Ronnie Says:

      David, I understand or think I do where you’re coming from. I only argue with one point…..”Mr. Calley, you are a hero……” Hardly so. Scapegoat, dummy (as referenced by his evaluations), youthful inexperienced….etc., yes. Hero…..Nope. Oh, by the way, I flew Dustoff in ‘Nam.

    • Ronnie Says:

      know, not do.

  31. David Black Says:

    Let me add that this the same sick situation going on in the West Bank, where Hezbollah and Hamas conscript civilians to help them attack Israelis, using their homes as bases of operations.

    It’s wasn’t America’s fault that the Viet Cong put civilians in harm’s way. It’s not Israel’s fault that Islamofascist terrorists put civilians in harm’s way, either.

  32. Andrew Wiggin Says:

    I think it is clear that soldiers are always put under extreme duress, but the massacre at My Lai was not just the killing of civilians, it was the torture, rape, and grotesque execution of women and children. Whether or not their village was being used by the VC as a base of operations does not seem to be the issue. What is the issue is that children were violently beaten, tortured and executed. Women were violently raped, tortured and executed; accounts even speak of a woman killed by an M-16 rifle after it had been rammed up her vagina.

    Say what you want about the duress of soldiers, but how can such actions be excused? What is the point of having justice if you are not willing to subject yourself to the same standards as others?

  33. David Black Says:

    And guess what, Andrew, our boys held captive by the Viet Cong were also tortured and killed. Just ask anyone who survived their stay the Hanoi Hilton, for starters. You’re all hung up on this “innocent women and children” nonsense. Let me tell you, THERE WERE NO INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN VC CONTROLLED VILLAGES. THEY WERE ALL ENEMY COMBATANTS!

    What part of “war is hell” don’t you get?

    You make the same mistake as so many others. You cannot ascribe ethics related to normal society to soldiers in the field. It’s impossible.

  34. C.J. Says:

    Rubbish and shameful nonsense.

    “Over the years, I have interviewed soldiers involved in many wars and military operations where they were placed in harm’s way. Guerrilla warfare tactics used in Vietnam created a circumstance where the enemy usually did not appear in uniform.”

    Yes indeed. That is why our professional military has ROE – Rules of Engagement. Civilian approaches your checkpoint and won’t stop: that’s an unfortunate kill of a civilian. Legal, and morally supportable.

    Civilian women and children huddled in a ditch? Labeling that a “guerrilla tactic”? What? Were they about to counterattack with their chopsticks? Rubbish.

    “Handwringing and bleeding heart civilians judging how soldiers should operate in the field just have no clue about the necessity of distilling your entire ability to survive on a minute to minute basis.”

    Well then we don’t need the Uniform Code of Military Justice, do we? And all those German and Japanese soldiers operating in the field, who executed their captives: they weren’t war criminals, then, right? They were all unfairly prosecuted by the bleeding heart, handwringing U.S. military and civil authorities, correct? So every uniformed AG prosector serving his country who put one of those soldiers in prison or on the execution dock was… what, exactly, in your warped view of the world?

    “You cannot ascribe ethics related to normal society to soldiers in the field. It’s impossible.”

    But that’s exactly what our country and its laws, both military and civil, stand for, and that’s what every soldier swears an oath to uphold.

    It’s attitudes like yours that are the problem.

  35. David Black Says:

    “But that’s exactly what our country and its laws, both military and civil, stand for, and that’s what every soldier swears an oath to uphold.”

    That doesn’t mean much when your survival is based on a minute by minute prospect. I know, I’ve been in that situation.

    I don’t know why we bothered prosecuting Germans and Japanese after WW2. They both represented completely insane military cultures and should have simply been executed swiftly upon surrender.

    You don’t defeat a snarling dog by being fair. You kill it without haste with whatever means you have.

    “Civilian women and children huddled in a ditch? Labeling that a “guerrilla tactic”? What? Were they about to counterattack with their chopsticks?”

    How do you know they didn’t have a live grenade ready to throw in your path and blow your legs off?

    American laws apply should apply to Americans only, not the enemy.

    • Jeremy Reese Says:

      Coming up with hyperbolic and irrelevant situations doesn’t change the crimes committed at My Lai.

      • David Black Says:

        You’ve never been placed in a life and death scenario, have you, Jeremy? Be honest. It’s easy to second guess the motives of men in combat from the comfort of your own secure environment.

        The reason I know that is because you could not answer the simple question posed to you in my last post entry. You wrote them off as irrelevant because you are incapable of distilling life down to its most brutal essence. You are too conditioned by the norms of regular society.

        The battlefield has its own rules, my friend. What part of “kill or be killed” don’t you understand?

      • Ronnie Says:

        David, I don’t mean to single you out, but your posts beg for responses. Do people make on the spot rapid decisions in war? You bet your sweet ass they do. However, killing one or two people in error due to the heat of battle is one thing. Ordering a bunch to be lined up and shot….further shooting them yourself… not a spur of the moment life or death decision.

  36. Larry Jackson Says:

    William Calley, Jr should not have gotten life. Those who stand in judgement of this man are the ones who should get a life sentence for treason.

    God Bless you William Calley, Jr

    America loves you.

    • brazzy Says:

      No, it doesn’t. Anyone in America with even the tiniest shred of a moral conscience is deeply ashamed of what he and other American soldiers did on that day. Anyone else is a disgusting piece of subhuman s….

    • forshame Says:


  37. Mike Says:

    I beklieve David Black has it right when he says:
    “What part of ‘kill or be killed’ don’t you understand?”

    While Lt. Calley was being troed I was in Chu Lai (Division HQ. of the Americal Division in which he served) and know something of the horrors he faced. I don’t excise what he dod, but I thonk I somewhat understand it. There were herps at My Lai and we tend to forget them. They were not those on Lt. Calley’s chain of command who covered it (and many more incidents) up through deliberate obfuscations.

    I would hope that if I had been in his situation I would have resisted obeying that order. But none of us truly know exacltly what atrocities by both sides he had witnessed and how numbed he was by them. He seems remorseful. I like the fact that he mentions not only the Vietnamese victims and their families, but the other Americans who were there and their families. I think he knows the nightmares they have from his own experience. He seems to take responsibility for how he let his men down, even while he thought he was pretecting them. That shows more character to me than the others who have escaped any legal sanction for their acts. The pictures seem to show a man who has been broken. He did it all in our name, following orders which in hindsigt he can see he shouldn’t have followed. Who can honestly say they wouldn’t have done the same. Fear can transform what appears to be a non-threatening situation into something that in hindsight we cannot understand. I have no doubt he had constant fear when he entered into that area.
    Thank you Lt. Calley for speaking out. Thank you for acknowledging the unbelievable pain your actions caused. Thank you for reminding us that the Viet Nam was wasn’t conceived, planned, supported by and prolonged by 2nd Lietenants and enlisted men. It came from above, and it came in all our names, and you happened to be put in a horrible dilemna. May you find God’s peace. May some of those higher ranking officers, politicians and ordinary citizens wwho alklowed this war to go on killing thousands more after My Lai, have half the strength and courage that you have displayed by making your statement.

  38. John C Says:

    I just found this tonight, I didn’t know Calley had come out and spoken recently until seeing this. It’s always been of interest to me because my father knew the man; he was one of Calley’s MP guards when he was under house arrest. He was never too sympathetic to Calley, but thought that his superiors should have been punished.

    When I was in high school, I read a book Calley wrote telling his side of the story, shortly after his release. Calley said, in so many words, that his men had been sent into combat many times (this is established) and often attacked and ambushed by Viet Cong forces in a manner not consistent with the laws of warfare, and that they had been psychologically damaged by the experience. In spite of this, they were sent into another supposed VC stronghold with orders that basically told them to shoot anything that moved.

    Looking back on it so many years later, Calley knows he made a mistake. But I put myself in the shoes of a 24-year-old Second Lieutenant entrusted with the lives of a bunch of kids who’d been attacked by women and children carrying grenades, men fighting out of uniform, who’d seen their comrades killed by these people, and I ask myself if I might not have made the same mistake, under that kind of duress. And the answer is that I don’t know. I do know I’m glad I never was put in the situation Calley was in that day 42 years ago.

  39. David Black Says:

    Calley DID NOT make a mistake! It was considered a mistake by a civilian world that doesn’t understand the warrior mentality or the brutality that’s necessary to execute a war.

    • Rikki Says:

      DAVID BLACK – Are you for real???
      NO -ONE can justify the killing of innocent UNARMED people in any conflict. The civilian population in My Lai were not the Enemy. They were NOT legitimate targets. You have to remember – this was their country not America’s. What happended in My Lai is no better that than what the Nazi’s and the Russian’s did in WW2. If the American Army teach their young officers to obey orders without questioning the legality of them then we are doomed – DO you really train Non-thinking officers to lead your armed forces? I am amazed that your soldiers would blindly follow orders without thinking and then justify it by saying ‘it was an order- I had to obey it’. Unbelievable!! Several soldiers and Heli-crew were brave that day – BY NOT following orders and preventing the murder of civilians. I am also amazed that the President then released Calley from his house arrest – He should have served life. David – How do you justify rape, torture and mutilation of innocent civilians – Is that OK in war too?
      What you have to accept is that this was murder, pure murder by soldiers who thought they could get away with it. Murderous Pack mentality set in and the brutality increased. nothing more, nothing less. I know Americans are patriotic and I admire that but you cannot under any circumstances justify this. That would be similar to justifying the murder of innocent civilians in Israel, Northern Ireland, 9/11 by terrorists – Those murderers could say they were following orders from thier superiors – Does that make it all OK? And don’t give me any – You wouldn’t know what it was like – I DON’T CARE – That can’t justify it.
      If America had more soldiers like Hugh Thompson and his crew then you would be a lot better off in your current war zones. Hearts and Minds wins wars. Not brute force and murder.
      “All it takes for evil to succeed, is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke.

      • David Black Says:

        Rikki: what part of “kill or be killed” don’t you understand?

        You also haven’t read a thing about the realities of battle in Vietnam and how civilians were conscripted to kill American soldiers.

        People like you would have checked every person first before issuing judgment on whether or not they lived or died. Doing it your way would have been a sure way to die.

        But to people like you, being humane trumps personal survival. You haven’t a clue.

    • David Kessler Says:

      You’re right that Calley didn’t “make a mistake”: he committed a crime. It was a crime under military as well as civilian law. There is not a shred of evidence that any of the people whom Calley killed or ordered killed had committed any action against them. There is not a shred of evidence that it was a kill or be killed situation. The victims were not armed. They were not resisting and they were in their own country (and village) when armed strangers entered the village and murdered them. Attaching the label “war” does not justify this. It was murder – and every civilized human being – soldier and civilian – knows this

  40. stan Says:

    ….How would we feel if that happened in Indiana in a farming town?

  41. David Black Says:

    “How would we feel if that happened in Indiana in a farming town?”

    Strawman argument. Try again.

  42. Jy Says:

    hmmm. Ask a Vietnamese person if they would forgive him. Better yet, try the same apology in Son My.

    Yet, and still, this must take great strength. But it is not only the American media that he needs to answer to.

  43. Rikki Says:

    David – I am seriously concerned that all you seem to be thinking of, is ‘kill or be killed’. You have mentioned it several times in these rants. You are obviously so demented by hatred (or affected by PTSD that you cannot see the wood for the trees).

    I understand the difficulties of fighting in a war and the stresses involved on soldiers employed in theatre. (I’ve done it). I understand the difficulties of waging a war on terrorism and the legal issues that always seem to favour the terrorist (I’m still doing it) – but that is the civilised world we live in.
    We cannot lower our standards to win at all costs. That’s why we have the Geneva Convention governing the limitations of actions that can be taken during war – If your master plan is to kill everyone to win the war – IT DIDN’T WORK IN VIETNAM DID IT? And don’t embarass yourself by saying that the US soldiers won the Vietnam War – The Politicians lost it. YOU LOST – Because the local population favoured their countrymen and women.

    Yes, I consider myself humane – That’s not so bad. What would the world be like if we all thought like you. You cannot enter a theatre of war where civilians are present and treat them all like the enemy. Collateral damage is inevitable in war but it must be minimised – It cannot be acceptable in modern times to state they are all the enemy and must be killed.

    Ask yourself this? You mention in an earlier rant – “THERE WERE NO INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN VC CONTROLLED VILLAGES. THEY WERE ALL ENEMY COMBATANTS” -The babies and young children seen amongst the photos of the murdered people in My Lai were not combatants – They were babies!!. Maybe if more of your enemy combatants were unarmed civilians then you would have a better success rate in your battles. Then again, maybe not.

    William Calley was the typical underachiever who in war saw an opportunity to have the power of life and death over some unarmed civilians thinking it would never come back to haunt him and it did. His subordinated thought it too. Shame on them.

    Please get some help David. I’m worried for you. Good luck

  44. S.S. Says:

    First off, I was NOT in vietnam but I have been to Afghanistan twice now.

    The bottom line is this man is showing remorse, whether real or fake, at least he is doing that much. Nothing that he can say or do will ever justify what happened there because it can’t. He is guilty of murder just like everyone else that participated in the massacre, to include his Commanders who were hovering in helicopters watching what was going on. They will have to live with that for the rest of their lives as they have for the last 30+ years.

    I would like to put this out as a side note to this article: When Abu Ghraib happened, there was the same (though less) national and international outrage. From that investigation everyone from the Commander of the Prison itself (BG Karpinski) to the Battalion Commander (LTC Jordan) was relieved of command and well investigated for parts in the scandal, not to mention the charges on a slough of other personnel from that unit who were convited of countless crimes. I do not believe that this kind of response would have been possible if the example of My Lai was not so pervalent in the military mindset.

    Before both of my deployments we have had training classes for EVERY soldier about ROE, the Geneva Convention and Ethics in Combat. These were taught by the commanders and officers of the unit and it was made extremely clear to all of the soldiers that My Lai was not acceptable and nothing like it will ever be acceptable. My Lai changed the Army and the world for the better, and it is because of My Lai that most of our soldiers are better educated and more ethical now than they have ever been before.

    It was a horrible time for our country and it’s armed forces, no one can say otherwise. Many horrible things happened to our troops over there and alot of them are still dealing with it, but just the same as if someone had done something like My Lai today, it is WRONG and their is no excuse for it.

    Just my $.02

    • Rikki Says:

      S.S – Well written article. Good to see that there are honourable servicemen (and women) out there who are well trained and intelligent enough to accept that all people have Human Rights regardless of where they come from. Reassuring also that the military have taken cognizance of what has happened in the past and are taking steps (training, etc) to ensure it never happens again. Incidents like those that happened at My Lai and Abu Ghraib only darken and diminish the courageous, brave work carried out by the vast majority of service personnel, many of whom have paid the ultimate price.
      S.S. Good luck in your military service and any future deployments. In fact, good luck to all those in the Services – You are doing an honourable job. Hold your heads high.

  45. C.J. Says:

    Well said! And thank you for your service!

  46. Bean Says:

    He will have to face God and the souls that he murdered.

  47. Chun Park Says:

    First of all, it is quite embarassing to hear David Black’s comments as a two time combat veteran. Oh and yes David, I have been in near death experiences. I would think that I have been in enough fire fights to rate some comments to this issue. Some people have stronger mind and will to discern what is ethical and not ethical. This is called moral courage. Some possess it, some don’t. Unfortunately, as advanced and powerful as our military is, there is still no screening process to weed out the less ethical characters from serving on the front lines. Civilian casualties are a part of war that we as Marines and service members try to minimize at all cost. As mentioned before by others, there are ROE’s in place for just that reason. Killing of non-combatants are wrong. All that “war is hell” crap is all b.s. excuse to free yourself from ethical obligations in combat. Have you ever heard of winning their hearts and minds? How do you do that when you slaughter non-combatants? Have you ever thought to yourself that maybe that’s the reason why civilians grow hostile towards us? Do you think you are helping our side or their side by killing non-combatants?

  48. joe Says:

    Lt. Calley was just following orders. The Viet Cong committed more atrocities than the US army did. just ask calley himself.

  49. Jerry Says:

    I found this on another website –

    The director of the My Lai Museum, Mr Pham Thanh Cong – who lost his mother and three siblings but escaped with bullet wounds – even extended an olive branch to Calley.
    “If the government will allow it, I invite him here, not to scold him or reprimand him, but to try and understand why he ordered the killing,” Mr Cong said. “If he comes here, he and I could become friends. We could confide and talk to each other. We really want him to come back and see the truth.”

  50. Greg Says:

    “Meet me in the lobby with 25K”.
    Some hero.

  51. Vietnam Vet Says:

    Even after 40 plus years, what Calley did was criminal, and he never paid for his crimes. He disgraced every solider, sailor, and airman who seved in Vietnam with his self serving, dishonorable conduct.

  52. siuhungcho Says:

    oh don’t worry. Calley will get what’s coming to him. if not in this life for sure next.

  53. Justice Says:

    it just sucks. in America if you kill One or Two people ( OR EVEN GET CAUGHT WITH A BAG OF GRASS) you can end up in jail for yeaaaaaaars.

    this guy killed over 100 INNOCENT vietnamese? and he gets house arrest?

    he should be in jail for life.


  54. poopon registration Says:

    Calley is a murderer. Forget all wartime stresses and other bullshit excuses. As a civilian mass murderer he should be in jail for life. As a military murderer he should be executed. Instead he got 3 years of house arrest??

    And yes, I’ve served, and lost friends, and been under fire. I’ve only shot at the enemy. The real enemy, not women and children. If I or anyone in my unit killed innocent civilians I’d either report it, or kill myself. Maybe both.

  55. carmel Says:

    But they didn’t “just shoot people” point blank. I might understand that – l might accept a “just get rid of the lot of them” mentality under extreme duress. What l don’t, and hope l never understand, is the rape, torture, and beating prior to murdering them. That is just to cruel to comprehend.
    The other thing l don’t understand,is why an invading soldier wouldn’t expect those they’re invading, to fight them any way possible.Wouldn’t you?
    What those soldiers did, and l’m sure My Lai is only different in its photographic evidence, was horrendous.It doesn’t matter what the other guys did or do. The US tells us that they hold themselves to a higher standard, and therefore should hold all those involved in war atrocities, accountable, including themselves.

  56. Firepower Says:

    Hmmm, interesting responses. I flew Dustoff in ‘Nam, so my experiences are different from those ground pounders that were closer to the action all the time. Though we were taught the proper care and handling of patients, after transporting hundreds and hundreds of wounded and dead, we often became callous to those patients we were carrying. Much the same way most medical personnel do. Getting caught up in the pain of the patient is not condusive to good mental health on the part of the provider. We had to often remind ourselves of the job we were performing and re-assure ourselves that what we were doing was the correct manner in which to act. However, at no time did we lose sight of what our job was…to provide immediate medical care to all (ALL) that we transported, which included US, Vietnamese soldiers, Vietnamese civilians, children, Aussies, Koreans, and enemy wounded.
    I cannot buy into the notion that, orders or not, non-threatening personnel could simply be wasted. The arguments that women and children were in some cases actual enemy participants. That’s well documented. But, not 300+ and certainly not when they were not making threatening moves or gestures. We see women, children and other civilians blowing themselves up in the name of SOMETHING every day, it seems. So, I can see some of the argument, but not 300+.
    Calley was a scapegoat. His highers were responsible. His weak actions were well noted prior to My Lai. Medina had no confidence in Calley and treated him badly in front of his men, which has been documented. So, for Medina to turn someone of this caliber loose was a travesty in and of itself.
    Hero? Naw, can’t buy that. Soldier caught up in war and following orders? I can buy some of it, but not totally.
    We have to remember, too, that when something of this magnitude gets started, it’s extremely difficult to stop. I applaud Thompson for his actions.
    I guess what I’m saying, long way around the bush, is that things do happen in combat that are distasteful to civilians and those that haven’t been there. But, killing without thought and/or taking of trophies (heads, ears, etc.) is not the same as getting caught up in the heat of the moment.

  57. Says:

    Yeah: “Just following orders”…hmmm.. where have I heard that before?
    Yes, this same defense was rejected by the Allies prosecuting Nazi war criminals.

    If you are ordered to kill women and chidren you say : NO. And whatever the consequences are is what they are.

  58. J Ley Says:

    Thank you for finally addressing the issue Mr. Calley. I can not even fathom being in Vietnam. My girlfriends father was a medic and I can assure you he would take it back in a second.

    I think there are many that would have handled things the exact way you did. We ordered furniture online a few weeks ago, the side of the box said made in Vietnam when it arrived.

    Very sad, it all seems like it was for no reason.

    I respect your service. I will also say I have no idea how I would have handled Me Lai. Unfortunately, many Monday morning quarterbacks on here don’t either.

  59. Gardy Seidel Says:

    I just watched the story of Lt. Calley and C Company and Me Lai, on Oregon Public T.V. I was a young nun in the convent, and not allowed to see T.V. or read newspapers during that time of 4 yrs. as a Postulant, Novice and 2 yr. Professed young nun. I do recall we did pray for the Vietnam War ending. But until tonite, I had never heard the story of Lt. Calley.

    While I am sure that some soldiers are psychopaths or sociopaths, I do not feel that Lt. Calley was. He was a scared young man following orders of those above him.

    I feel the real WAR CRIMINALS are the Congress’ and President’s who send young men to WAR.

    The Vietnam War was begun while President Eisenhower was in office for OIL, and I am sure President Kennedy was murdered because he was wanting to pull out troops who were in Vietnam. And President Johnson and President Nixon both continued this WAR….for OIL.

    President Bush 1 and 2 have done the same with the Gulf War, Iraq War and Afganistan Wars……well need I say anything more?

    WAR IS EVIL and any Leader and Congress who promotes it ….are War Criminals.

    WAR IS EVIL!!!!!!!!!

    • Firepower Says:

      With all due respect, Sister, just because someone is given an order doesn’t mean they have to follow it if it is blatantly wrong. In this case, in a short period of time, all involved knew it was wrong. Calley, I don’t believe either, was not a sociopath. He was a weak leader to say the least as is documented. He was lucky his own men had not already fragged him, which was done during this conflict.

      Was our involvement in Vietnam correct or not? I don’t have the answer to that. I know that one of the reasons we were there was to stop an unfair aggression on the part of the North Vietnamese.

      Oil? I dare say oil had anything to do with it. What oil? Do you know of vast oil fields in Vietnam? I’ve never seen one or heard of one. You mention oil being the reason for our involvement in Iraq. That’s probably true, but not for the reasons you imply. If you take a look at what a small increase in the price of oil does to our economy, what do you think would happen if the supply was completely cut off? We also are trying to keep the region somewhat stable. The first Gulf War was completely caused by Hussein. We, the US, were not going to standby and allow him to take over another country. He was warned. What did he do? He snubbed his nose at the warning and invaded Kuwait, anyway.

      Yes, just as with Vietnam, people on both sides of the opinion can express their opinion.

      War Criminals? I think not. Like it or not, the US has tried to play big brother in a lot of countries that cannot take care of themselves.

      If we’re going to disavow this attitude, let’s also eliminate aid to any country that needs help as well. Isolationism has been tried before…it doesn’t work.

      • Gardy Seidel Says:

        Thank you for your comments, Firepower. And yes just because someone is given a command during War that is immoral, does not mean they must do it. That point was well made in the T.V. Program I watched last night. So many men who did not participate in the murder of innocents, knew they might well be killed for not obeying orders and they choose that high moral ground, willing to die. I cannot tell you how deeply I feel for young kids really being sent off to War. Having never been sent to such, I know my comments are so limited in the horrors of war. I would only hope I would have had the courage to be killed for taking the high moral ground.

        About Oil and Vietnam: I quote someone. “. Many claim it was an attempt to stop the spread of Communism from China. That seems naive, however, given the long history of oil corporations controlling governments and fabricating “reasons” for War. Specific to Vietnam was the study in the 1920’s by future U.S. president Herbert Hoover in which one of the world’s largest oil fields was discovered off the coast of what was then known as French Indo-China. General MacArthur supplied weapons to Ho Chi Minh in order to drive out the French, not the Chinese, and the war was just a coverup for a massive oil survey conducted by Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company. After the war was over, various worldwide companies won bids for drilling, but Standard was the only one that actually struck oil. Only a deluded person would believe that was a coincidence.

        During the Vietnam War I worked for a company that did seismic studies, worldwide, and sold their data to oil exploration companies like Exxon and Standard Oil. (We also sold military electronics and equipment.) When I mentioned the war, my boss told me “oil is synonymous with national defense” and told me that the data our marine crews had gathered indicated an enormous oil deposit off the Vietnam coastline. Today there are derricks pumping that oil.”

        I do understand the complex decisions that Presidents and Congress do have to make regarding going to war.

        I know the human condition infects many with GREED and that GREED often leads to War’s; and the women, girls, are raped, and children and elderly are totured and killed.

        I had nothing but compassion for “C Company” that committed the atrosities of Me Lai. These young kids, yes 18 yr. olds or younger had been terrified by the North Vietnamese and it was after that experience that some of the men lost their moral values out of FEAR. They were pained and enraged having seen their buddies killed by the North Vietnamese attacks.

        My point remains that the young men who are sent off to War or who volunteer to go, are the victims of war just as much as the innocent citizens. That is why I think the RESPONSIBILITY FOR WARS, that decline into immoral actions brings me to the conclusion that such immoral actions are the RESPONSIBILITY of the LEADERS who send these youths off to Wars and they must be held responsible for War Crimes against Humanity.

        Perhaps if that were to happen, there would be no more WARS, as in boots on the ground, and instead Evil persons like Osama bin Laden and Ghadafi are taken out without a disruptive War upon innocent Citizens.

        I do appreciate your comments Firepower. And I sincerely hope you never had to serve in a war, and if you did you have my utmost appreciation. Each time I see a service person, I go up and shake their hand and tell them of my prayers for them.

        The individuals who fight the wars are as much victims as are innocent citizens who are murdered in the cross fire. Collateral Damage…….so terriby sad.

        And I realize Isolationism is not an option. However, our decision to assist other Nations should be out of true compassion for those citizens, not for the Oil, or precious minerals those Nations possess.

        And at this time, I feel that we must stop attempting to BUY OUR FRIENDS and instead we need to help the poor, elderly, disabled, homeless and hungry and those in need of health care in our own crumbling Nation at this time.

        Let us take care of our own first….and what we can then share do so.

        Gardy A former nun of 15 years. I have many friends who served in Vietnam, and the Gulf War, Iraq and Afganistan Wars…and I know what they have suffered with PTSD and missing limbs.

  60. Firepower Says:

    Right wrong or indifferent, wars will happen as long as there is some idiot or group of idiots that want to impose their will on others.

    I see a lot of blaming of Bush for IRAQ, rightfully so, since he ordered it. But, let’s not forget that during the first gulf war, IRAQ attacked a country that was one of our allies who couldn’t defend itself. Hussein did that even after he was warned. Then Hussein, who hadn’t learned anything, continued to treat and kill his own people. Regardless of what may be thought now, it was a good move, as far as I’m concerned.

    Did I have to fight? Yes, ma’am. I flew Medical Evacuation helicopters (Dustoff) in ’70 and ’71. I, too, saw the horrors of war, every day. Our job was to carry the dead and wounded; and, we did that job very well. I only know of a few of us that had PTSD, though some may have had it and didn’t know it.

    One last time and I’m through. If one were to watch what a small increase in the price of oil does to our economy, there might be a guess as to what happens if the supply is cut off entirely. Would they do that? Sure, if they really knew just how bad our economy would falter. We didn’t enter IRAQ for their oil……if that were the case why aren’t we bathing in it now? Our oil interest is to make sure the reegion remains stable, if that’s possible.

  61. Cliff Says:

    I haven’t had time to read the entire list of comments, so please forgive me if I am stating the obvious.
    Governments insist on going to war and placing men and women in extremely abnormal circumstances and then expect them to behave normally …. a crazy expectation.

  62. Will Wilhite Says:

    Most of the soldiers at My Lai did not shoot or harm the people. Unfortunately, not enough good men there did anything; perhaps they were afraid to intervene or they weren’t fully aware of the true nature of the situation, but one murder should’ve been enough to act. The only thing necessary to stop it was a lone voice of reason as exemplified by Warrant Officer Thompson. It was a psychotic few who committed the crimes. They and their officers, from Calley on up, should’ve been court martialed and sentenced to death or imprisoned, like any other war criminals. You can’t have it both ways. If you intend to condemn the enemy for their atrocities, then you must own up to your own. Otherwise, there’s no such thing as a war crime. Anything is permissible. And that includes any future Holocaust that you can justify, no different than the Einsatzgruppen. As for those of you here who can somehow justify mass killing… you’re not in battle right now, are you? You’re rational now, right? Yet your defense is insane. There can be no defense of mass murder. Your attempts at justification reveal that you have no honor or morality whatsoever.

  63. Tracey and TeAorangi Says:

    i think he is highly diguisting , he did not have to obey those orders. he had a choice unlike those civilians. and to think he continued on to kill more than later on deny his actions.

  64. Alia Washington Says:

    As a combat veteran, and having served 20 years with the Marines, I’m confident in saying that Mr. Calley’s actions were illegal, immoral and despicable.

    And if you ask what I would have done if I had been in exactly their shoes, I beg God for forgiveness of my fellow man because I know exactly what I would have done if I were there. I only wish I had the opportunity.

    Small children, frail women…….never never never unless that woman is holding a weapon and engaging you. By the way, which is exactly what happened to my unit in one firefight.

    And we never shot un-armed civilians before, or after.

  65. Sandra Says:

    The soldier reportedly left his base in the early hours Sunday and went to two villages just a few hundred yards away. He then opened fire on Afghan civilians sleeping in their homes.

    “kill or be killed” David Black ?

  66. Sheryl Roberts Says:

    My heart still breaks at seeing the pictures of the murdered at My Lai. Every soldier follows orders. There is a moral question, who should die? Not children, not the old, Not the mothers of children. You always can say NO! Yes, I sound like a bleeding heart, I know. I love my country. My son serves in our Air Force. My father served for 20 yrs in our Air Force. My older brother served for 4 yrs in our Navy. One of my sisters served in our Army for 24 yrs, and my youngest brother served for 4 yrs in the U.S. Army. Doing the right thing is usually the hardest. God bless our service members!

  67. Douglas Haney Says:

    God allowed our Country to become the greatest nation on Earth, and God is the only ultimate judge of our deeds in life. William Calley, Jr. will face his final trial once he has retired from this life and moves into eternity. As a decorated U.S. Army Vietnam Sr. Combat Medic having fought the NVA and Viet Cong, I can certainly understand and identify with certain factors behind the Mi Lai attrocity, but I have a very hard time in being an American first and a soldier second in condoning it. I was basically understanding of the mindset of that moment swirling within Capt. Calley, especially with the translation of orders as understood from higher levels. I absolutely believe what he has stated to that regard. Believe me when I say that no one dares act alone in such an undertaking as was My Lai (unless they are completely out of their rightful mind), without a full and precise set of regimented directives from their direct superiors all the way to the top of their command). I was tourmented as I read about the incident whereby he, Capt. Calley, caught a baby escaping a death pile and shot it to death; point blank, and callously. This is not for me to condem him for doing. This is not for me to forgive or even understand what motivated him to do it. This one, is strictly between Capt. William Calley, Jr. and his God of understanding, and assuredly it is a true test of God’s divine mercy of this man. Knowing of how the Vietnam War has adversely intruded upon my life as a former fighting soldier in the field many years after the fact, I am absolutely sure that nearly 400 dead souls are confined tightly to Mr. Calley’s mind as well. Believe me, when I say that behind the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., listing 58,279 deceased war casualties, there are at least six other invisible walls the visitor never observes. But, these walls ARE there. They consist of veterans still living, or since deceased, who have commited suicide; those existing in VA hospitals or care homes who will never walk again; those who are physically and/or severely mentally impaired who will never be able to be actively involved with life again; and, at the far back nearly forgotten wall, there are those such as Capt. Calley, Jr., who have been so damaged by war that their true judgement is being played and replayed daily in the molecules of their burdened minds, where souls are lost and life is not truly ever lived ever again as once was in the enrichment of their lost youth. These simply exist, no matter how successful in life awaiting their true fate, while trying desperately trying to forget their past.

    Former Sp-5/E-5 Douglas R. (Doc) Haney
    Vietnam (1968-69, 1st Inf. Div. and 5th Mech. Inf. Div.)

  68. 24601 Says:

    He shows no remorse, William Calley is a psychopathic nationalist who has never been punished because of his race and military background

  69. Bill Butler Says:

    It is once again that we, the Vietnam vet, is being called a baby killer. Thank you so much for your manufactured support. Why don’t you just go and kiss Hanoi Jane? All is forgiven where she is concerned, am I right? I don’t care one dam what you think about what we did in Vietnam. The vets that were there know the real deal, but you cannot or will not believe it. Support the troops today and at least try to look like you are being honest in your thank you’s to these brave young people.! Vietnam was a one year tour. Some served more, many served less. The troops today keep going back and forth to the combat zones. From an old 100% disabled Vietnam Vet, thank you brothers for your service so people can be stupid if they wish!

    • Noah Says:

      Hey, now that you are disabled and defenseless, you think it would be all right if a company of Chinese soldiers showed up in your town and murdered everyone you know in front of you? All your kids, your brothers and sisters, your mom and dad, your neighbors. Would it be all right if they blew their brains out in front of you, even as those you loved tried to shield YOU from harm with their own bodies? How about if you were trying to surrender? It would be OK, right? They are only soldiers, following orders.

  70. Tran Van Duc Says:

    William Calley!
    He and his comrades use collective massacre in machine gun Thap Canh (Xom Lang),
    Me and my sister 14 months old were injured but still alive, but my mother, my sister and a younger sister he shot dead along with more than 100 civilians (the elderly, woman and children).
    Then he used the gun to shoot into the crowd below the drain Channel(Ditch). 170 people were shot dead this place.
    He backed out I don’t know! I myself whether 44 years but, then a horrible obsession, I see all the people my mom and how loved … never have I been living with peace in mind April!!!
    Tran Van Duc

  71. brandon Says:

    This article sickens me. I cannot believe people would cheer a mass murdering coward who should have been hang from the gallows for he did that day. Would you have done the same for an SS officer who served in a Nazi death camp? I actually believe you would, Dick.

    Kiwanis Club is a hideous joke if these are the kind of people they let speak. You people are monsters.

    • Says:

      I was there to hear and report what he said, not cheer him. A lot of people were interested in what he had to say because the story was carried in newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcasts, and on websites all over the world. Such publicity once again reminded people of the horrible, inhuman actions that are committed during wars. Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. Just observe what is happening in Syria right now.

      Even though I find your comments insulting, I let them run because I support the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Allowing someone to speak does not necessarily mean that one agrees with what he or she says.

  72. t.williams Says:

    Can’t we all just get along?

    • Ronald Says:

      Can’t we just get along? NO! The world has never been that way and will probably never be that way. As long as there are opinions, there will be differences and people will voice them.
      Can’t we all get along without hurting someone else? Maybe.
      Now, if you were be facetious, I didn’t catch it.

  73. t.williams Says:

    No, I’m sorry. Seriously folks……….I spent 12 yrs in the military and I never had to feel the fire that William Calley did. And neither did most of you.

    What William Calley did……..was it wrong? Of course it was wrong. I don’t think any right thinking person would say otherwise. Was William Calley a right thinking person when he did it? Indubitably he was not. Would I have done what he did? How can I say I would not? I haven’t felt the fire. And neither have most of you. I like to think not, but who the hell knows? Not me, not you. William Calley didn’t know until the ungodly moment he was in the fire.

    He was a scapegoat, pure and simple. Many people, other than the men, women and children at My Lai, should have suffered the consequences of his actions. It sickens me to think of the leaders that skated out of that one. Something like that should never be allowed to happen!! From Richard Milhous on down, many should have stood with him, taking their fair share of responsibility .

    Was that fact on Nixon’s mind, when he issued his “limited pardon”? Did he feel some responsibility for what happened? We’ll never know that. What we do know is that William Calley served the time he was given. Would any single one of you say to the world when pardoned…….”No, please keep me here. I want to spend the rest of my life in prison”……..would you, really?

    He did his time. It was mercifully short. He has spent the rest of his life trying to be a decent human being. I don’t know why he apologized when he did on the platform he did. He is an American. His offense was not just to the people of My Lai. He was an officer of the United States Army and as such represented us all whether we recognize that or not. I think William Calley recognizes that. Don’t convict the man for apologizing in Columbus instead of My Lai. He apologized to everyone he hurt. He did it loud and clear. It was publicized widely. Yes, even in Vietnam, I am sure.

    Or who knows? Maybe he is just older now and trying to get into heaven. It doesn’t really matter. He did it. It’s done. Leave him be.

  74. colleen Says:

    So let me see if this is the just of it……. This man shot all these people all by himself?? Every last one of them fell from the bullets of this one man’s gun?? I find that hard to believe…..the man that gave him the orders is not at fault nor the men whom he intern gave the orders he had been given? Sounds like its a lot of people that are at fault. Why are we so easily willing to make one man pay for the mistake of many? Shame on him and all you who judge him. Don’t any of you have anything better to do?? Or does judging and putting someone else make you feel better about yourself??

    • Rikki Says:

      You are missing the point here. He is guilty of this crime, as are all others who stood with him and murdered innocent civilians…men, women and children. Remember there were other crimes that were committed other than cold-blooded murder. Yes, they are all as guilty as Calley! You are wrong to say shame on all you who judge him… That is the basis of a justice system in a democratic world: to be tried by your peers (your equals) on the basis of the Law of that country. We are here to judge, we have the right to speak up and be heard.

    • Noah Says:

      No Colleen, Shame on all those who committed this massacre and never went to trial. Shame on all the American service men who ever killed innocent people. Shame on their commanders for allowing it to happen, and covering it up afterwards, and shame on the American public for not demanding a full and complete investigation and trial of all those responsible for this tragedy.

  75. John Says:

    Lord Jesus come soon- the minds of men is deeply perverted. To the ones who commit and take part in such atrocious acts to the ones who find justification in them. God save us from this evil generation!

  76. Sgt.Jacko Says:

    Quote: “Many Americans, including a lot of Columbus people, thought that Calley was a scapegoat, forced to take the fall…” As an ex-Aussie Digger, I was appalled that such a thing could happen… then I realised that my own cousin had been sent home with “WAR NEUROSIS” – meaning he wanted to kill any “Noggo” he found… and that was unacceptable to the Australian Armed Forces. We were there tO HELP the Viets in any way we could, and fight off any attackers (Rem: My Lai). I think Calley was set up by antagonists, I think Calley was a bit stupid like so many US Servicemen at that age back then (Noisy Charlie Attracting Goofs), But I felt sorry for their lack of training and ability which got so many killed and wounded. My guess is that Calley had some WAR NEUROSIS, and the ratbags up above him used that to have a bit of “Fun” at Viet expense. Here, Calley would be entitled to vote again, having done his time (if he actually would have been given a sentence… instead more likely ended up in Hospital for Psyche treatment, and then discharged honourably with a pension on war-caused allowances…. In other words, Calley became Psych. ILL under war stress, and may have been a great person if he had never been sent in or fooled ariound with by idiots who KNEW his mental disposition was damaged by war) WAR IS HELL ON EARTH! – Civvies, REMEMBER THAT! THINK! – Could YOU DO BETTER… under such conditions?

  77. KPman1 Says:

    As a Veitnam vet (1968) I would like to say ,just get over it .IT’s history and by the way none of you really know whats in his heart only God does.

  78. Mr.Parks Says:

    Mr.Calley and every other soldier who were sent into that hellhole called Vietnam will always be hero’s to me.I watched and read as a kid the way they were treated during the war(in the Press)and when they came back home,and I will never forget it.I’ve spent a lifetime getting to know many Vietnam Vets since then and they will always be some of the greatest Americans I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.Their stories and what they experienced deserves our understanding.God Bless them all!

  79. Noah Says:

    Warrant Officer One Hugh Thompson, Jr.,Specialist Four Glenn Andreotta, Specialist Four Lawrence Colburn. These are the names of an Army Helicopter crew who landed in a combat zone to prevent William Calley from killing a group of unarmed civilians. These are the heroes of Vietnam, not Calley. They were the only servicemen who reported the massacre to their commander. It is too bad that Dick didn’t talk about them in his article, but that is OK. These men make me proud to be an American.

  80. Bob Says:

    “…and the news just repeats itself, like some broken dream, like we’ve both seen..”. John Prine.

    Let the polticians put their kids on the front lines and we’ll see an end to war soon enough.

  81. Bob Burdick Says:

    I was in a Tank unit in Nam. I know for a FACT that the Army does NOT always tell the truth. So unless you know the FACTS, PLEASE don’t condemn Calley !!!
    You were not there walking in his shoes at the time.
    Yes, I agree that the killing of incent people is wrong, but I think Calley took more of the blame than he should have. One more thing I was wondering how it feels to be so righteous as some of you who wrote some of these comments.

  82. Maggie Says:

    Calley did what he was Ordered to do. If he had refused he would have been court marshaled anyway. Can you say Scape Goat? On top of that he was just a young scared Kid,

    • David Kessler Says:

      I’m sorry Maggie, but you are wrong. Even if Colonel Medina had ordered Calley to do what he did (and I am not ruling that out) it was an illegal order. They could not have court-martialled him for refusing to kill unarmed civilians because (a) they would then have had to admit that he had been GIVEN such an order and (b) he would have a valid defense that the order was ultra vires. If he was prosecuted under Article 92 of the UCMJ he would have had a valid defense that the order was not a lawful order, according to Article 118.

    • Del Says:

      Maggie, you believe it’s better to machine gun babies rather than be court marshaled.

  83. Tran Anh Phuong Says:

    Just following orders? Countless atrocities have been done by weaklings just following orders. Calley’s sorry excuse of an apology showed no repentance. It, along with the disgustingly high rate of blind obedience to immoral authorities in the Milgram experiment, showed exactly one thing. And that is the disgrace which mankind is.
    When the Calley showered in attention, Hugh Thompson, Jr., the real hero, had been long dead and forgotten. When the coward was busy getting patted on the back, the hero was systematically defecated on.

    To old man Calley, I have only disdain. Enjoy the PTSD.

  84. Doc Haley Says:

    There seems to be many ignorant people out there and on this blog. There was no WAR IN Vietnam. War was never declared, it was a military invasion, occupation and nothing else. We should have had a declaration of war but not against the North Vietnamese but against Cambodia and Pol Pot. Don’t any of you know anything?

  85. ray Says:

    Let’s see does any one remember the term Carpet Bombing ?? Of course no colaterial damage or innocents killed there at all.

    • Mr.Parks Says:

      No doubt about it,Ray.Killing people and breaking things..War is can’t always pick and choose.Those orders to ‘Carpet Bomb’ came from someone.It wasn’t Calley.Calley himself has to live with what happened that day in My Lai.Other than the Vietnam Vets who were sent over there,the rest of us can only comment and I hope God forgives us all of our past transgressions someday.

  86. Scott Steele Says:

    The reality is that the Americans were an invading force in VN. What dumb fool would expect the Vietnamese people not to resist? Calley would have never been an officer, but for the desperate need to fill slots at the time. Even if there was an order, Calley didn’t have the nerve or intelligence to refuse that unlawful order. As for any Vietnam vets who defend him, you should have been wasted there; somebody worth something died in your place. As for any other fat couch potatoes that never served, or read a book on the war, any one of those murdered villagers, who were living in their country, were worth more as a human being than all of you combined.

  87. Carsten Nielsen Says:

    “Serving the children of the world.”
    A baby murderer like Calley shouldn’t be allowed to put his feet at Kiwanis.

  88. Nathan Says:

    your all running your mouths off at Calley when you should be looking at the man who gave him the orders. im not saying what calley did was ok but come on? the picture is bigger than that

  89. David Kessler Says:

    Ronnie, while I agree with you that a lot of what Del said was rubbish, I also disagree with one of the things you said: ‘There’s only one reason why WE (US) have the freedoms we have and that’s “a soldier with a gun”.’

    ONLY one reason? The Freedom Riders didn’t have guns. Rosa Parks didn’t have a gun. Martin Luther King didn’t have a gun. Susan B Anthony didn’t have a gun, Clarence Earl Gideon didn’t have a gun, Allan Bakke, when he petitioned the Supreme Court (as distinct from when he served in the marines) did not have a gun.

    I’ll admit that George Washington DID have a gun.

  90. Ronnie Says:

    David, no doubt what you say is true. Those are internal and there were already rights for them all……they just weren’t being enforced. The soldier keeps others from taking those rights from us. And, while you’re talking of some of these events, who gets called out everytime some large event happens? Remember Ole Miss? Soldier with a gun to protect those trying to exercise those rights. Little Rock, AR ring a bell. No, all those you named didn’t accomplish it all without help.

  91. David Kessler Says:

    Ronnie, it’s interesting that even in those instances where the army was called out, the violations of rights were – as you say – internal. American soliers have died bravely in defence of others. But the USA itself has not faced any challenge to its physical security for over a 100 years. (Even in WW2, the threat of west coast invasion was a myth.) The reality is that the main threat to the rights of Americans has come not from foreign enemies but domestic ones. And the main method of defending them was by invoking those rights that, as you say, already existed on paper – i.e. the constitution, via the courts. The Arkansas standoff was an exception – most of the battles were settled in the courts, Congress and in some cases – e.g. the bus boycott – by economcs.

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