Vietnam Lies on the Front Page
By Sue Schuurman
MARCH 23, 1998:
30 Years Ago This Week
On March 16, 1968, American forces in Vietnam committed atrocities against hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in what is known as the My Lai Incident or My Lai Massacre. Twenty-five soldiers of the infamous Charlie Company, under the leadership of First Platoon leader Lt. William L. Calley Jr., rounded up old men, women, children and babies, herded them into a ditch and then gunned down the estimated 128 unarmed civilians. Other soldiers under the command of Capt. Ernest L. Medina committed murder, rape and sodomy. Newspaper reports the following day devoted only 38 words to the incident and presented it as a successful helicopter assault. The truth of the tragedy remained a dirty secret for 20 months, until a Pentagon-authorized investigation was initiated due to the persistent letter-writing efforts of Infantryman Ron Ridenhour. Although 12 officers were recommended for court-martial, only Lt. Calley was found guilty of war crimes. It seems there are two tragedies to this anniversary: the massacre itself and the bitter disillusionment of realizing what lies the Pentagon fed the all too cooperative mainstream press.
"SAIGON (UPI)--American and Allied troops killed 344 Communists Saturday, 216 of them in Saigon suburbs with U.S. tanks spearheading the Vietnam war's biggest campaign.
"American spokesmen said that battles 35 and 16 miles from Saigon pushed to about 500 the number of Communists killed since some 40,000 Allied troops launched 'Operation Resolved to Win' six days ago.
"On the northern coast, 330 miles from Saigon, U.S. soldiers rode helicopters in an assault that trapped and killed at least 128 Communists. ...
"In other action, a U.S. Marine A4 Skyhawk jet mistakenly dropped three 500-pound bombs on American troops seven miles from Hue. Spokesmen said seven GIs were killed and 29 wounded.
"In the Saigon area fighting, the 51st South Vietnamese Ranger battalion charged into a major Viet Cong force nestled near Duc Hoa village, 16 miles from the heart of Saigon, spokesmen said. The U.S. Army 11th armored cavalry regiment sent its 'road runner' tanks rumbling into the Communists' maze of bunkers and fighting holes.
"The battle raged six hours. At fighting's end, the allies counted 135 dead Communists. Government troops suffered 10 men killed and 19 injured. There were no American losses, spokesmen said."
Source: Albuquerque Journal; March 17, 1968
News & Opinion: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Cover . News . Film . Music . Arts . Books . Comics
© 1995-99 DesertNet, LLC . Weekly Alibi . Info Booth . Powered by Dispatch