Echoes of My Lai (Ben Tre massacre, Viet Nam)

One of the darkest moments of the Viet Nam conflict, the My Lai massacre was a watershed moment in the conduct of the war. The events at My Lai subsequently spawned a famous quote attributed to a US Air Force Major whom allegedly said that “it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it”. Still today “My Lai logic” or “Ben Tre logic” denotes the absurdity of gratuitous violence in order to bring about an ostensibly desirable peaceful outcome.

Obama collects Nobel Peace Prize, defends use of war

The president laid out the circumstances where war is justified – in self-defense, to come to the aid of an invaded nation and on humanitarian grounds, such as when civilians are slaughtered by their own government or a civil war threatens to engulf an entire region.

“The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it,” he said.


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2 Responses to “Echoes of My Lai (Ben Tre massacre, Viet Nam)”

  1. John Says:

    What is absurder than from the people who don’t see the hole truth. What’s about the 200 000 people who were killed by the Vietcong during the land reform 1953 – 1956? What’s about the 5000 civilians in Hue who were massacred during the Tet offensive on January 1968 by the Vietcong. Who has started the war in Viet Nam? Who wants to turn Viet Nam into a land without human rights, without fredom of speech and without freedom for religion? Some of you should really differentiate what you’re talking when your’re talking about Viet Nam.

    • guidoamm Says:

      John, you are off base on several fronts here.

      For starters, the point of my post had nothing to do with the Viet Nam war but only used it as reference to illustrate a point.

      The above not withstanding however, you seem to think that a perceived change in political rule and the potential bloodshed it could herald are worthy arguments for intervention in the business of other countries.

      Of course, as we today know, the reality is that the US intervention in Viet Nam perhaps caused even more mayhem and bloodshed than if the country had been left to its own devices. And for what result exactly? Other than the cost in human lives, treasure and environmental devastation, did the US intervention prevent or alter the ostensibly undesirable political change it was trying to prevent?

      Personally, I can clearly see whom the winners of that particular debacle were. They were the same as the winners of all wars till today. And yet, it baffles me that people like you can still not see the wood for the trees.

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