Coverup of Extensive U.S. War Crimes


Richard Moore
[disturbing photos in original]

Coverup of Extensive War Crimes: 40th Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls

Global Research, March 15, 2008

Global Research Editor's Note

In a bitter irony, Colin Powell, who was responsible for the coverup of the My 
Lai massacre acceded to a "brilliant" career in the Armed Forces. In 2001 he was
appointed Secretary of State in the Bush administration. Although never 
indicted, Powell was also deeply implicated in the Iran-Contra affair.

It is worth noting that Colin Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
at the time of the Gulf War, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of 
retreating Iraqi soldiers in what British war correspondent Felicity Arbuthnot 
entitled "Operation Desert Slaughter".

"The forty two day carpet bombing, enjoined by thirty two other countries, 
against a country of just twenty five million souls, with a youthful, conscript 
army, with broadly half the population under sixteen, and no air force, was just
the beginning of a United Nations led, global siege of near mediaeval ferocity."

In the words of General Norman Schwartzkopf who led Operation Desert Slaughter 
"'There was no one left to kill'...

There have been many US sponsored My Lais since the Vietnam war.

Michel Chossudovsky. Global Research, March 15, 2008

Forty years ago this week, on March 16, 1968, a company of US Army combat 
soldiers from the Americal Division swept into the South Vietnamese hamlet of My
Lai, rounded up the 500+ unarmed, non-combatant residents, all women, children, 
babies and a few old men, and executed them in cold blood, Nazi-style. No 
weapons were found in the village, and the whole operation took only 4 hours.

Although there was a serious attempt to cover-up this operation (which involved 
a young up-and-coming US Army Major named Colin Powell), those who orchestrated 
or participated in this ³business-as-usual² war zone atrocity did not deny the 
details of the slaughter when the case came to trial several years later. But 
the story had filtered back to the Western news media, thanks to a couple of 
courageous eye-witnesses whose consciences were still intact. An Army 
court-marital trial eventually convened against a handful of the soldiers, 
including Lt. William Calley and Company C commanding officer, Ernest Medina.

According to many of the soldiers in Company C, Medina ordered the killing of 
³every living thing in My Lai,² including, obviously, innocent noncombatants - 
men, women, children and even farm animals. Lt. Calley was charged with the 
murder of 109 civilians. In his defense statement he stated that he had been 
taught to hate all Vietnamese, even children, who, he had been told, ³were very 
good at planting mines.²

That a massacre had occurred was confirmed by many of Medina¹s soldiers and 
recorded by photographers, but the Army still tried to cover it up. The cases 
were tried in military courts with juries of Army officers, who eventually 
either dropped the charges against all of the defendants (except Calley) or 
acquitted them. Medina and all the others who were among the killing soldiers 
that day went free, and only Calley was convicted of the murders of ³at least 20
civilians.² He was sentenced to life imprisonment for his war crime, but, under 
pressure from patriotic pro-war Americans, President Nixon pardoned him within 
weeks of the verdict.

The trial stimulated a lot of interest because it occurred during the rising 
outcry of millions of Americans against the infamous undeclared war that was 
acknowledged by many observers as an ³overwhelming atrocity.² Ethical Americans 
were sick of the killing. However, 79% of those that were polled strenuously 
objected to Calley¹s conviction, some veteran¹s groups even voicing the opinion 
that instead of condemnation, he and his comrades should have received medals of
honor for killing ³Commie Gooks.²

Just like the extermination camp atrocities of World War II, the realities of My
Lai deserve to be revisited so that it will happen ³never again.² The Vietnam 
War was an excruciating time for conscientious Americans because of the numerous
moral issues surrounding the mass slaughter in a war that uselessly killed 
58,000 American soldiers, caused the spiritual deaths of millions more, killed 3
million Vietnamese (mostly civilians) and psychologically traumatized countless 
others on both sides of the conflict.

Of course the Vietnam War was a thousand times worse for the innocent people of 
that doomed land than it was for the soldiers. The Vietnamese people were 
victims of an army of brutal young men from a foreign land who were taught that 
the ³little yellow people² were pitiful sub-humans and deserved to be killed - 
with some GIs preferring to inflict torture first. ³Kill-or-be-killed² is a 
reality that is standard operating procedure for military combat units of every 
nation of every era and of every ideology.

Vietnam veterans tell me that there were scores, maybe hundreds, of ³My Lai-type
massacres ³ during that war. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon refuses to 
acknowledge that truth. Execution-style killings of ³potential² Viet Cong 
sympathizers (i.e., anybody that wasn¹t a US military supporter) were common. 
Many combat units ³took no prisoners² (a euphemism for murdering captives, 
rather than having to follow the nuisance Geneva Conventions which requires 
humane treatment for prisoners of war). The only unusual thing about the My Lai 
Massacre was that it was eventually found out. The attempted Pentagon cover-up 
failed but justice was still not done.

Very few soldiers or their commanding officers have ever been punished for the 
many war crimes that occurred during that war because those in charge knew that 
killing (and torturing) of innocent civilians during war-time is simply the norm
­ excused as ³collateral damage.² After all, as US Secretary of Defense Donald 
Rumsfeld later infamously proclaimed, ³stuff happens.²

The torture was enjoyable for some - for awhile (witness Auschwitz yesterday and
Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay today). And wars are profitable for many - and 
still are (witness the Krupp family of Nazi-era infamy and Halliburton, the 
Blackwater mercenaries, et al. today).

The whole issue of the justification of war, with its inherent atrocities, never
seems to be thoroughly examined in an atmosphere of openness and historical 
honesty. Full understanding of the realities of war and its spiritual, 
psychological and economic consequences for the victims is rarely attempted. If 
we who are non-soldiers ever truly experienced the horrors of combat, the effort
to abolish war would suddenly be a top priority (perhaps even for the current 
crop of ³Chicken Hawk² warmongers in the Bush Administration).

If we actually knew the gruesome realities of war (or even understood the 
immorality of spending trillions of dollars on war preparation while hundreds of
millions of people are homeless and starving) we would refuse to cooperate with 
the things that make for war. But that wouldn¹t be good for the war profiteers. 
So those ³merchants of death² must hide the gruesome truths and try instead to 
make war seem patriotic and honorable, with flag-waving sloganeering like ³Be 
All That You Can Be.² Or they might try to convince the soon-to-be-childless 
mothers of doomed, dead or dying soldiers that their child had died fighting for
God, Country and Honor instead of domination of the Middle East¹s oil reserves.

Let¹s face it. The US military standing army system has been bankrupting America
at $500+ billion year after year after year ­ even in times of so-called 
³peace.² The warmongering legacy of the Pentagon is still with us, particularly 
among those ³patriots² including GOP presidential candidate John McCain, who 
wanted to ³nuke the gooks² in Vietnam. A multitude of un-elected policy-makers 
of that ilk are still in charge of US foreign policy today, and they have been 
solidifying their power to continue America¹s misbegotten, unaffordable and 
unsustainable militarism with the huge profits made off the deaths, screams, 
blood, guts and permanent disabilities of those hood-winked soldiers who were 
told that they were ²saving the world for democracy² when in fact they were 
making the world safe for exploitive capitalism and obscene profits for the few.
And the politicians entrenched in both major political parties, who are 
all-too-often paid lapdogs for the war profiteers, don¹t want the gravy train to
be derailed.

Things haven¹t changed much even from the World War II mentality that 
conveniently overlooked the monstrous evil that was perpetrated on tens of 
thousands of unarmed, innocent civilians at Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, a war 
crime so heinous that the psychological consequences, immune deficiency 
disorders and cancers from that nuclear holocaust are still being experienced in
unimaginable suffering 6 decades later.

Things haven¹t really changed when one witnesses the political mentality that 
allows the 500,000 deaths of innocent Iraqi civilians in the aftermath of the 
first Gulf War or the 1,000,000 civilian deaths in the current fiasco in Iraq.

So it appears that our military and political leaders haven¹t learned anything 
since My Lai. The people sitting next to you at work are, like most unaware 
Americans, almost totally ignorant of the hellish realities of the war-zone, so 
they may continue to be blindly patriotic and indifferent to the plight of the 
³others² who suffer so much in war. They may think that some people are less 
than human, and, therefore, if necessary, can be justifiably killed ³for Volk, 
Fuhrer und Vaterland.²

As long as most American citizens continue to glorify war and militarism and 
ignore or denigrate the peacemakers; as long as the American public endorses the
current spirit of nationalism and ruthless global capitalism; and as long as the
America¹s political leadership remains prudently silent (and therefore 
consenting to the homicidal violence of war) we will not be able to effect a 
change away from the influence of conscienceless war-mongers and war profiteers.
The prophets and peacemakers are never valued in militarized nations, especially
in times of war; indeed, they are always marginalized, demeaned and even 
imprisoned as traitors. And one of the reasons is that there are no profits to 
be made in peacemaking, whereas there are trillions to be made in the biggest 
business going: the preparation for war, the execution of war and the highly 
profitable ³re-building² efforts (³blow it up/build it up² economics), all the 
while ignoring the ³inconvenient² but inevitable collateral damage to the 
creation and its creatures.

As long as we continue to be led by unapologetic and merciless war-makers and 
their wealthy business cronies and as long as the ethical infants in Washington,
DC continue to be corrupted by the big money bribes, there is no chance America 
will ever obtain true peace.

And unless America stops the carnage, fully repents and offers compensation for 
the damage it has done, its turn as a recipient of retaliatory violence will 
surely come, and it will come from those foreign and domestic victims that our 
nation¹s leaders have treated so shamefully over the past half-century.

March 2008 - Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duluth, MN

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of 
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on 

To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on 
community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The 
source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global 
Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, 
contact: •••@••.••• contains copyrighted material the use of which has not 
always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such 
material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an 
effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social 
issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who 
have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational 
purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair 
use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: •••@••.•••

© Copyright Gary G. Kohls, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is:

© Copyright 2005-2007
Web site engine by Polygraphx Multimedia © Copyright 2005-2007

newslog archives:

How We the People can change the world

Escaping the Matrix:

The Phoenix Project

The Post-Bush Regime: A Prognosis

Community Democracy Framework:


Moderator: •••@••.•••  (comments welcome)