Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Mylai reactions
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Author:  Rodney Woods [ Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Mylai reactions

I don't feel we should condemn any of the soldiers for what they did. There's a point sometimes when your mind just turns off and you don't actually realize what you're doing. It's happened to me before playing football. You snap out of reality and its like you aren't really there. I think that's what happened to most of those guys.

And another thing to remember and keep in perspective: Those guys were all our age. What would you have done?

Author:  Matt Rowe [ Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Why?

The only question I keep asking myself is why. Why did Calley decide to make an order like that. I know that the American soldiers did not know who was the enemy and who wasn't but why did they have to kill babies? Why anyone? The report said that they thought that this village was some kind of headquarters. If so, then why did they just round all the citizens up and look around the village for a headquarter?
I am very proud of being an American and I am so grateful to all of the soldiers who have fought and died for this great country, but I was saddened to witness the report of this massacre in 1968. Those soldiers had a choice to shoot or not to shoot. But they obeyed orders. Why? Who knows. I have pity for the men who are still alive today who have to live every day of their life with the memories of killing innocent men, women, and children. Are they to blame? I can't truly answer that question. All I can say is why.

Author:  Rodney Woods [ Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

I don't think we could answer those questions unless we were there.

It's not like this is an isolated incident in history. Armies have committed atrocities for as long as man has made war. This is by no means an excuse for the conduct of our armies, I'm trying to illustrate that these kind of things happen in a war.

I think a lot of the controversy around it comes from the fact that it was Americans that did this. If it had been any other country our spin doctors would turn it into propaganda.

Author:  Amy McDonald [ Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:07 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm ashamed to say that I had never even heard of this massacre before watching the video. I spoke with several people after I left campus tonight and only one of them said she had heard something about My Lai, but didn't really know a lot about it. I don't understand how, as a senior in college, I knew nothing about this. It's especially relevant now, with the torturing of prisoners at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo Bay. I believe there should have been more punishment in all of these incidents of torture. The 3 year sentence of house arrest served by Lt. Calley is a totally insufficient sentence to cover what happened at My Lai.

Author:  Scott Shannon [ Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

I became somewhat ashamed of being an American after watching that video. The old Vietnamese woman who denounced America and all it's citizens really hit hard. It made me really want to reach out to anyone who has ever been oppressed.

Author:  Kelly Allen [ Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

I agree with all three of you. I left class last night completely stunned, outraged, embarassed, confused, and just sad. I have an enormous amount of respect for the people who defend our country, but at the same time, I cannot imagine what was going through their minds to make them kill women & children like that. The soldiers were obeying orders because they were trained to do it, but why were they ordered to kill everyone like that in the first place? One thing that really upset me was that they might have been ordered to kill, but I'm pretty sure that does not include rape. That goes beyond just following orders, and crosses over into an entire new category of immoral. I am sad because we are supposed to be the good guys & such a crucial mistake ruined so many peoples lives.
Sometimes I think that I wish I had never seen things like this before & could just go on being happy-go-lucky. However, as future educators, it is so important for us to really understand that our job as teachers will be to teach ethics in some way or another. I feel like learning about things like this will make me a more solid person because I know how important it is to really stand up for what you know to be right no matter what.

Author:  Laura Greene [ Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Speechless

As I think about how to explain my feelings on this discussion board, I am unsure of what even to say. I don't know what to think, I don't know what to feel. I feel like Kelly pretty much summed up my feelings as well when she said she felt, "stunned, outraged, embarassed, confused, and just sad. I have an enormous amount of respect for the people who defend our country, but at the same time, I cannot imagine what was going through their minds to make them kill women & children like that." I found myself asking what Matt asked- Why? What happened? I feel ashamed, like Scott said to be an American. No, none of us had anything to do with the killing of the Vietnemese citizens, but our fellow Americans did. I thought I was proud of our soldiers, I mean I am. I really am- they are brave to fight for our country when a lot of us don't have the guts to defend us. But, it's disgusting, awful, sick, indescribable to massacre people. And I find myself asking, what's the answer? Who can explain it? Who's to blame? Rodney reiterated what many of the American soldiers who were interviewed said- they just lost control. They didn't think. At first, I hated them- I hated the men who raped and killed. But, I also felt an overwhelming sadness and pity towards them- did they really not know what they were doing? Does training for war really have the power to turn someone into a machine and an animal? If so, does war justify what we do to other people, the "enemy?" Where do we draw the line to fight for justice. Justice, to me, is not killing people mercessily. I find that there's not easy answer, and I want one so much. How can there be healing? What happens when we have students who come to school who have been hurt by other people by different races? How do we get by that? How do we bridge those gaps and recogznize the hurt but help the hurting families know that the other students of that same race are not responsible? That is one of the hardest questions I think there is. What do you guys think?

Author:  Burl Greene [ Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Mylai

I have the same reaction as everyone else, confused. It is hard to believe that our soldiers could have killed innocent women and children. But, it is important to look at the situation from their perspective. They had seen their good friends and fellow soldiers being killed by snipers and traps. They had been searching for days without finding anyone to fight. They had been fed loads of propaganda. They were brainwashed and trained to be killing machines. They were given orders to kill, or they would be killed or courtmarshalled. Even though these reasons do not justify what they did, I feel they all had an impact on the fury they showed that day. These men displaced their anger from other situations, onto these innocent people. Though it is wrong we have all done it. Maybe not to this extreme, but if our boss yells at us, then we come home and kick the dog. Well, maybe not the dog, but we take our anger out on something or someone else. I do not justify their actions in any way, but I do feel we should understand their situation before casting judgement.

Author:  Teresa Holden [ Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have remained speechless about this subject because i don't know what to say. i am nervous now for what i am about to say. my dad is a Vietnam veteran along with both of his brothers and my two best friends fathers are also vets. i know that things like this happen in every war throughout history, all i want to get across is that the actions of certain men should not disgrace all men associated with this war. although i am sure that my dad did some terrible things, i know because he has mentioned them every now and then. he doesn't feel like he can be forgiven. my dad keeps a scrap book of his friends and of things he went through day to day in Vietnam. he remembers each photo, each person, each day that the photo was taken and how many friends of his were killed on that day. one of my friends fathers blames his son's death at the age of five on what he did in Vietnam, his son was hit by a car. my other friends dad met her mother in Vietnam and brought her back to the states. they had four children together (one of which is my best friend) and when she was 17 her father killed himself. my dad had some kind of a relapse of the war brought on by September 11th events and he has not been the same. All of my dads army buddies and him as well have been medicating with alchohol some of which are reformed alchoholics. my dad can't sleep without medication or alchohol, he has to sit with his back to the wall, and is nervous most of the time. he is on probably four different medications and makes visits to the psychiatrist. before this relapse my dad was the strongest, most outgoing and lovable person you would ever meet. people love him, everyone loves him but i cannot imagine what is going on in his head. unlike many men, he does talk about it everything in his life relates to the war. he told me on sept. 11 that we were going to go shoot guns at his farm because "it's kill or be killed". he still has that mentality and if someone were to threaten him or his family there is not a doubt in my mind that he would kill again. i am not at all scared of my father, like i said he is the most awesome man you would ever meet. but what this war has done to him is terrible. i know that these men were brainwashed, they were trained to kill. maybe those men at My Lai believed the village was a threat, understand that the men that were there were younger than we are now. they were afraid for their lives every minute, there is no excuse for what they did but i am sure that those men among thousands of others including my dad are living with what they did every day i feel that is punishment enough. My dad was drafted and came away with two purple hearts and a severe case of PTSD but i salute him and the men and women that have fought for our country whether they wanted to or not. i just want you all to see the after affects by someone around you that knows that these men are all paying for what they did, whether they were just following orders or not.

Author:  Luci Osborne [ Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  shock

Watching the MyLai documentary was shocking to me mostly because I really didn't know much about it. What happened there was terrible-for the people who were attacked and the soldiers doing the attacking. It's hard to even imagine what kind of brainwashing those soldiers went through. I think it's awful the things they did, but I also think it's awful how they are being mentally punished for the rest of their lives for something they were ordered to do. I don't think anyone will ever understand war unless they take part in it personally. And, even then, I doubt those soldiers ever come to an understanding that helps them sleep any better at night.

Author:  Kelly Allen [ Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

I come from a family of veterans. One of my grandfathers was in WWII and the other was in the Korean Conflict. My dad was drafted four days after he graduated from college. Luckily, at 22, he was a little bit older than most of the soldiers in Vietnam. He trained as a medic, and had orders to go into Vietnam. Medics were targeted by the enemy so that they could not help wounded soldiers, and their life expectancy was extremely low. A few days before he was supposed to go, they called those orders back, and he went to Germany instead. My dad was fortunate that he was not put in a situation where he had to make the choice to shoot anyone or be killed himself. He lost many friends that he went to high school and college with, and even some of his friends that he went through basic training with. I was talking to him about MyLai this weekend, and he told me that fear was probably the biggest reason why they just followed orders. Most of the war was guys around our age walking through the jungle waiting to be shot at before they started firing. I cannot imagine how they must of felt. I wanted to make another post about this after I had some time to think about it & talk about it. The men and women that defend our country are extremely brave. They have an incredible amount of courage, and we are blessed to have so many people that are willing to risk their own lives for the well-being of our country.

Author:  Danny Jugan [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:17 am ]
Post subject: 

I think another thing that should be brought up is the fact that the soldiers were preped to expect enemy soldiers in the village. That combined with what Burl said about seeing their fellow soldiers killed by unseen guns or enemies, it is not a stretch to imagine that the American soldiers were eager and expecting to use their weapons. I by no means am attempting to excuse the order given, or the way it was carried out -- especially the rapes -- but it is easy for us, as non-soldiers, to boggle over how something like this could happen. I am just trying to shed some light on the mindset or feelings of those involved.

Author:  Rodney Woods [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:31 am ]
Post subject: 

but it is easy for us, as non-soldiers, to boggle over how something like this could happen.

Absolutly. Like I siad theres no way for us to know what was going through their minds. It's not our place to judge them.

Author:  Teresa Holden [ Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

sorry i went on a rampage earlier, it's just a touchy subject for me. i just wanted to say that it was not right what they did at all but you have to remember how the north Vietnamese were fighting. women and children were as much soldiers as the men. this is a major reason why so many battles were lost, many of the soldiers would allow women and children into certain areas and would be killed by them. the S. Vietnamese and American men were often ambushed by women and children, they had machine guns, they carried knives and hand grenades. these men were not ignorant to that. They could not tell who was friend or enemy.

Author:  anna kate shook [ Wed Feb 01, 2006 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Response to My Lai

I am completly dumbfounded! I really don't know what to think of the film. To be honest I had never even heard of My Lai. It's hard to believe that American soldiers would rape girls and go on a killing rampage inflicting their violence on women and children! But, on the other hand, as mentioned before, women and children have also been used as forms of weapons. Having bombs, or guns hidden on them. Soldiers are also trained to obey orders from their supierors. So, I'm kinda teeter tottering on whether or not they are to be blamed!

Author:  adaM winDHam [ Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

This documentary was the most biased documentary i have ever seen. It left out the parts about women and children attacking the american soliders. I dont think anyone in the class has a right to judge anyone who went to nam since no one in the class was there and really knew what happened. i couldnt believe that some people said the film made them ashamed to be an american. words cant represent how that comment makes me feel.

Author:  Teresa Holden [ Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:46 am ]
Post subject: 

Adam to that. I think it was bad enough for this particular war and the soldiers in it. People spit on them when they came home. people called them baby killers whether they were or not. they were not received as knights that had come victoriously from battle when they came home like in every other war that the US . I think that many of the soldiers deserve an apology from the public. These men did what they were told and they were all punished, by their peers their co-workers. I understand it was right in the middle of a revolution but a lot of people went to extremes to make outcasts out of our soldiers, and it was our own people that did it. I think a lot of people shun patriotism, as far as i'm concerned they are free to go elsewhere.

p.s. if someone burns the flag, i personally think they should do time.

Author:  Matt Rowe [ Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

To those who don't agree with what others are saying about the clip, do you think it was right for the Germans to kill the Jewish people during WWII. From what those who think our soldiers should not be punish obviously agree with the German cause. What did the Germans do wrong? I guess nothing. They were just obeying orders, right! We Americans sometimes get blinded by the mere fact that Americans can do no wrong, but hello, nobody is perfect and those that ambushed that village did wrong; make no excuses.

Author:  adaM winDHam [ Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:08 am ]
Post subject: 

Well i think what matt said is completely right. Except for the fact that no one agrees with what the germans did to the nazis. Except for the fact that the jews were not killing the germans. Except for the fact that no one is saying that what the american soliders did wasnt right. I know i am new to this reading and writing thing, but im pretty sure i said that we can not judge what the soliders did since no one in the class has any idea of what it was like to be there. But other than that matt is completely right!

Author:  Danny Jugan [ Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:36 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm really having a hard time understanding how some people have the audacity to judge what a soldier does during a war. Unless you've been there, unless you've seen the horrors that I don't even wish to know, then I don't think you have the right to say a soldier should be punished for their actions. I'm not saying what they did was right, but how dare you sit in your safe, secure home and condemn our fighters for actions surrounding situations that you probably couldn't even fathom.

Have you ever been shot at? Have you ever seen your friend die right in front of your eyes? Have you seen children stab your fellow soldiers? Have you thought about what it would be like to be so scared that you wet yourself when the morters start firing? No, I didn't think so. You and I were safe in our beds while they were fighting for their lives. Don't judge what you don't understand.

PS - I fail at the whole login thing :oops:

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