Essay on A Case Of Mistaken Identity

Essay on A Case Of Mistaken Identity

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It was on 16th March 1968 that a platoon of American soldiers ambushed and killed not less than 500 civilians at a village called Mai Lai in South Vietnam’s northern coast. This was a case of mistaken identity because the soldiers acted on command from their leader to search and destroy the village of My Lai 4 in the belief that the Viet Cong guerrillas were taking cover in the Son My village. Consequently, the soldiers carried out brutal actions on the villagers most of who were women and children. My Lai village is located in the Quang Nai Province and the American soldiers believed that it was the stronghold of the Viet Cong (VC) guerilla fighters. The platoon of American soldiers, called Charlie Company, had received information that the guerilla fighters were hiding in Son My village, and hence the invasion that culminated in brutal killings, rape, and execution of women and children (BBC).
The company of soldiers was advised by the high ranking soldiers to attack the village in the hope that they were confronting the members of the VC. However, the army command advised them that everyone in the village would only be a member of the VC or a sympathizer of VC. The attack involved the soldiers opening fire to the villagers early in the morning and subsequently raped young women, torturing, maiming, and executing others using automatic weapons. Further, they bayoneted old men while children and praying women were shot at in their heads killing them instantly. In a brutal and inhumane act, the soldiers rounded up groups of villagers into a ditch and opened machine gun fire on them killing hundreds of them. Eventually, the shooting and killing were stopped by a Warrant Officer Thompson from the army when he landed with an Army hel...


... middle of paper ...


...hange the mission to prevent further killings.
In the view of the unfolding of the My Lai massacre, and the regard for the cause of the massacre in relation to the conduct of the soldiers and that of the leadership, a number of observations indicate a failure on the part of the leadership of the army. From the beginning of the deployment, it is clear that the young soldiers lacked enough exposure to conditions such as were found in Vietnam. Secondly, the leadership failed to acknowledge the fact that the VC had superior power and required advanced tactics. Thirdly, the leaders failed to carry out extensive intelligence regarding the information of the whereabouts of the VC group, and finally, they failed to control the actions of the soldiers during the invasion of the My Lai village. As such, the invasion was a failure on the side of the Charlie Company Commanders.

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