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After today's class I really started to think about how easily we can all follow in the wrong footsteps when we are put under pressure. I just want to know about everyone's feelings about the two videos we saw today.

I kept thinking through the Remember Mai Lai video how could anybody, especially American soldiers, be that cruel to another person. I am in such disbelief that they were able to kill those civilians that easily after they did not receive hostile fire. My husband is in the military and I have been around soldiers and I just cannot picture them doing anything like that. We keep judging the Germans for what they did to the Jews but we seem to forget the things that we do that are just like what they did, how are we any better to judge them for those instances?

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Allison Pendleton


Wed May 26, 2004 6:38 pm
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I, too, have always wondered how the Mai Lai slaughter could occur at the hands of American soldiers not under attack. I interviewed a gentleman who experienced Vietnam, and he tried to explain how the sentiment over there was that everyone was against you. Children were enemies, only without weapons yet. Women harbored the fighting men. I'm by no means condoning that behavior, but got a glimpse into the miscontrued instruction that soldiers in Vietnam received. It is just really scary to find out how impressionable and succeptible to instruction humans really are.

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Natalie Hawley


Wed May 26, 2004 8:12 pm
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Well I just kept thinking that all of those soilders were once students... all of them were 5, 8, 12, 15 once... can we do anything to make a difference? Is there anything that a teacher could have done that would've made a difference, that would have made them stop and think and realize "no, this isn't right?"

I can't understand what could make someone do something like that - I can't wrap my head around it. Our society often makes it out like the Holocaust and slavery and other tragedies are isolated incidents confined to the past; but it seems that each year I learn about more and more disturbing incidents, many of which happen today - what can be done?


Wed May 26, 2004 9:50 pm
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Kaci, I think that we can do something about it... I think that as a teacher I may do a little roll play - even with very young students, maybe in a different way. But, you could explain to them all that you know about Mai Lai, the holocaust, and other instances and maybe give them some reassurance that they can say no. I really think that many people ignore their gut instinct, and get intimidated into doing things that they would never otherwise do. I have a hard time understanding what happenned at Mai Lai, but I just keep being reminded of how they kept saying that they were TAUGHT to be "killing machines." Maybe when they were being TAUGHT how to kill when necessary, they should have been TAUGHT to reguard life at the highest value possible and only kill when truly necessary. I feel like they must have gotten some pretty heavy commanding to kill "anything from women and children to dogs and cats," and that they probably were tottally syked-up by their TEACHERS (i.e. sergeants) before they went on the mission. I am still really bothered by the fact that they would rape, and completely mow-down people that were making no efforts to resist - but on the other hand, all of that aggression that they were taught to kill with had to surface somewhere.

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Kristi Romito


Wed May 26, 2004 10:21 pm
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I just wanted to say that I agree with each of you. Basically, watching that stuff just really pisses me off! It makes me so angry that Americans act as though we're so much better than everyone else, yet we've proven time and time again that we aren't any better in reality. We keep showing that we, too, are just as violent and brutal as any other nation, proven in the video watched today.

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Catherine Crews


Wed May 26, 2004 10:37 pm
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I can't even imagine what must have been going through those soldiers, and the leader's minds when all of that was going on. In the video they kept talking about "training and programming" but the most gruesome and awful things were not things that they were "trained and programmed" to do. There are really no words to explain all of the thoughts and emotions that video caused for me.

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Jenny Smith


Thu May 27, 2004 7:37 am
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I can't even imagine what must have been going through those soldiers, and the leader's minds when all of that was going on. In the video they kept talking about "training and programming" but the most gruesome and awful things were not things that they were "trained and programmed" to do. There are really no words to explain all of the thoughts and emotions that video caused for me.

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Jenny Smith


Thu May 27, 2004 7:41 am
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I think it would be hard for us to judge the soldgers. They were acting under a different kind of reality where they were being killed by women and children who did not wear uniforms. I don't think it is right but that is from my reality not theirs.

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Jeff Tutterow


Thu May 27, 2004 9:51 am
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Our society is so quick to judge anybody for their actions. We do this because it makes ourselves feel better so that when we do something wrong we can justify it by saying "well I'm not the first person." As far as judging the Germans, I see that we as Americans are in denial. We do not think that we would or could do any harm to anyone else, so we try to draw attention to the other areas in the world and make them look like the bad guys. It's like, maybe no one will notice us, kind of thing.

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Erin A. Eldridge


Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:33 pm
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