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The My Lai Massacre

Monday, April 26, 2010

Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Barak Goodman discusses his documentary, “My Lai,” about the 1968 My Lai massacre, its subsequent cover-up, and the heroic efforts of the soldiers who broke ranks to try to halt the atrocities and then bring them to light. “My Lai” airs on PBS’s “American Experience” April 26 at 9:00 pm.

Guests:

Barak Goodman

Comments [9]

Rob Schoenbaum from Stockholm, Sweden

... resorted to as them a tried to wage war with waning American popular support.

Apr. 29 2010 05:30 AM
Rob Schoenbaum from Stockholm, Sweden

One friend of mine who had served in Vietnam with Special Forces pointed out that the Americal division of which Charlie Company was a part was the only US Army division created in-country. Orders were sent around to all other divisions and filtered down to the squad level that each had to cough up a soldier who would then be transfered to this new division. In the words of my good friend, "So who are you going to give up, your best guy?" In this way the Americal division had a special composition. In the days prior to the massacre at My Lai, for example, the men of Charlie Company had been driven to their wits end by land mines and booby traps. By comparison my friend says throughout his almost 4 years in Vietnam his squads had suffered not one fatality from booby traps. I'm not subscribing to the military's then explanation for the massacre that Charlie Company was a special case. It was, certainly, but not because it is just one example of a measure our military ...

Apr. 29 2010 05:27 AM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

The only solution to the problems of war is not to start them. The responsibility for all death and destruction on both sides has to fall on those who start wars. In the case of Vietnam, it began with the guerrilla war started by the Communist North to subvert and seize the South. They at first used guerrillas referred to as the Viet Cong to spread terror in the south. When the US stepped up support by sending in troops, the North stepped up by using regular NVA troops as well. But in guerrilla war, it becomes impossible to distinguish civilians from combatants. Thus the death of civilians lies at the feet of the guerrillas who "swim among the people." And even in conventional Total War, as was the case with WWII, the intentional killing of the civilian labor force becomes inevitable as well. War is hell. Don't start them.

Apr. 26 2010 01:38 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Barak Goodman just serves as a reminder of how conservative the US and PBS have become over the past 30 years.

Apr. 26 2010 01:25 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

The fog of war or youth or following orders didn't excuse the Nazis. It doesn't excuse terrorists. Why does it excuse Americans?

Pathetic and disgusting.

Apr. 26 2010 01:24 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

War is hell. No such thing as "rules of war" except victory or defeat. We crushed Germany and Japan only by the use of overwhelming power and mass destruction of vast numbers of innocent civilians through unrestricted bombing. In ancient times, you killed the young men and enslaved the women and children. Eventually it became more reasonable to spare the civilian population and tax them instead. But the the 20th century returned us to the barbaric history of the ancient past after WWI.

Apr. 26 2010 01:24 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Can we say that anything has changed or that we have learned anything -- at all -- when so many American war criminals are now walking away from their crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan? The worst criminals of all -- Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Rice, Rumsfeld -- have been expressly immunized by Barack Obama.

Apr. 26 2010 01:23 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

What are we to make of efforts to explain or understand -- or justify (not the same thing) -- the actions of Americans in Vietnam or Iraq (Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, etc.) or Israelis in Gaza, Lebanon, Sabra and Shatila?

There is no such effort with regard to those who oppose the US or Israel (or Britain or France or China).

Why do Americans, or friends, deserve compassion?

And why do the leaders -- Nixon, Kissinger, Bush, Cheney, Yoo -- remain exempt from judgment or even examination?

Apr. 26 2010 01:15 PM
Dave Langevin from Glen Rock, NJ

The enemy was everywhere and I believe it was frustration with the fact that you never knew who the enemy actually was! I served during Viet Nam however I served aboard ship in the Tonkin Gulf. I heard the stories of the atrocities on both sides and I was able to understand somehow what those men were being exposed to. I still cry when I think of it 35 years later...

Apr. 26 2010 01:14 PM

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