Sự thật đằng sau Thảm sát Mỹ Lai
Dù ngày nay vụ thảm sát thường được mô tả là do một đơn vị toàn những kẻ mất nhân tính gây ra, nguyên nhân sâu xa nằm ở thất bại của hàng ngũ lãnh đạo, từ vị chỉ huy sư đoàn của Đại úy Medina, Thiếu tướng Samuel W. Koster, cho đến chỉ huy trung đội có liên quan chặt chẽ đến vụ thảm sát, Trung úy William Calley.
On March 16, 1968, Capt. Ernest Medina led his infantry company (đại đội bộ binh) in an assault on the village (làng) of Son My, along the central coast (duyên hải miền trung) of South Vietnam, as part of a mission (nhiệm vụ) to find and destroy a battalion (tiểu đoàn) of the National Liberation Front (mặt trận dân tộc giải phóng), also known as the Vietcong. One of the hamlets (thôn) within the village was called My Lai.
Operating under the assumption (giả định) that villagers of My Lai would be away at the market, Captain Medina planned an aggressive sweep through the area, ordering his men to destroy everything and to kill anyone who resisted. By the end of the day American forces had killed 347 to 504 unarmed Vietnamese women, children and old men, and raped (hãm hiếp) 20 women and girls, some as young as 10 years old.
...Captain Medina and his officers tolerated Charlie Company’s abuse of Vietnamese civilians in the weeks before the massacre (thảm sát). After Pfc. Herbert Carter knocked an unarmed farmer into a well, Lieutenant Calley shot the defenseless man. Captain Medina allowed his troops to use prisoners as human mine detectors (dùng tù nhân làm máy dò mìn) and personally beat captives (tù nhân) during interrogations (thẩm vấn, tra khảo).
Rape became such an endemic (đặc hữu) problem in Charlie Company that one member of its Second Platoon, Michael Bernhardt, assumed that every woman Lieutenant Calley’s platoon came across would be raped within moments. After a booby trap killed Sgt. George Cox, surviving soldiers stole a radio from a local woman and kicked her to death when she protested.
Sergeant Cox’s death set the stage for the My Lai massacre...