History: Kill and Fellow Friends Essay

Submitted By mnkybabe84
Words: 1544
Pages: 7

Cruel, terrible, horrifying, all words to describe this horrid massacre that took place on March 16, 1968. Poor Vietnam families’ just peacefully eating breakfast had no intention of creating a war between them and American soldiers coming in their village. No intention of having to witness an unforgiving tragedy in just four hours of the morning. No reason to justify why they were targeted as the enemies; simply because they had different skin than the American soldiers, simply because the soldiers in Charlie Company were bored? How were they to know American soldiers even thought they were enemies after giving their children candy and water, then just wiping away their existence in a matter of hours; nobody could have foreseen that coming. What a disgrace to know that Georgia was the base where these young men were trained to kill, trained that their duty was to kill and nothing else. What can be said for this tragedy is little unless you were there, got to witness the awful cruelty going on but what can be learned is that it should have never happened and nobody should have been killed. Why did these soldiers kill the villagers? What caused them to feel as though this Vietnamese Village, Pinkville, was the enemy? The American soldiers say that at the beginning of their journey they never saw an enemy however part of their company kept getting injured. Michael Bernhardt said that they felt so close because they had nobody else, so when someone would die it was a very personal thing. Four soldiers were killed and 38 wounded from these obstructions placed by enemies. After you go through this entire experience can a person really think right? These men were convinced by Calley, their “leader”, that this village was the enemy, the reason for all their fellow friends passing’s. They killed because they were told to. Kenneth Hodges, a former sergeant of the Charlie Company stated, “As a soldier I had to carry out an order, never imagined disobeying.” These men killed because they were ordered to do so and in training that was what they were taught to do, to obey. But, this gives them no excuse for what they did. Many men chose to stand down, these men did not. Thompson said the reason these soldiers did this massacre was because of a few reasons: Bad leadership, negative peer pressure, prejudice, and fear. I completely agree with Mr. Thompson. These soldiers had fear of the unknown if they didn’t follow orders. Their orders came from bad leadership, leaders who decided to cruelly kill hundreds because they just decided they were the enemy. Lastly, negative peer pressure and prejudice took a huge part. You see all your fellow friends and your commanding leader killing as though there is a purpose and you began to believe there is one. Just like in the Asch Experiment, where 1 person in tricked into conforming with 4 other people because they are afraid to stand out. Kenneth Hodges says, “We carried out the orders in a morally fashion.” They believed everything they did was justified but even after all these excuses we know today that it was not. Excuses seem to sum up everything that comes out of every soldier’s mouth. Numberg defense was that they were just following orders; this could never be considered justifiable. I believe that this most definitely cannot be considered a legitimate excuse. In Thompson’s interview he tells us that not all the soldiers took part in the massacre. There were only roughly 13-18 men who actually killed villagers; there were 190 soldiers in the Charlie Company. All these other men did not take part in the massacre these other men didn’t follow the orders to kill. So why would we consider this a viable excuse when all these other men chose to not take part, chose to go…