Monday, April 10, 2017

While We're All Worked Up About Chemical Weapons and Innocent Babies

Maybe Donald Trump can spare a thought of two for all the innocent babies who continue to fall victim to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

During the Vietnam War, American forces doused wide tracts of Vietnam's countryside with the carcinogenic defoliant that is as persistent as it is destructive. In fact the experts best guess is that America's Agent Orange will be causing horrible birth defects, premature deaths and more for generations, possibly centuries.




8 comments:

liberalandlovingit! said...

I just read about Calley on wiki via driftglass- "Bloody Bill Kristol is Hungry Again"- the only one charged in the My Lai Massacre. Sentence was hard labour at Fort Leavenworth. Early released and pardoned. Most of the country wanted it so- because they love their 'war heroes in the good ol' US of A. Even Governor Carter stood up for Calley. My hero came down a notch, upon learning that.

LaLi.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Trump's memory is highly selective, Mound.

The Mound of Sound said...

Calley was a critical case. I did a presentation on My Lai in our military justice course in officer school. My argument was that officers accept a commission, it's never forced on them. That comes with a grave responsibility that at times can extend to the taking of life and it follows that a higher standard applies to officers than to their subordinates. The contention at the time was that Calley was interpreting an order received from his immediate superior, Medina.

My conclusion was that it was irrelevant whether Calley ordered the massacre or was following Medina's order it was illegal and, hence, the killings were murder. I felt that the chain of criminal responsibility needed to go up, not down to the ranks. You can hardly hold the enlisted foot soldier responsible if you exonerate the officers who issued the illegal order.

The other issue was discipline in the ranks. There was a lot of indiscriminate killing and other atrocities going on, often with the chain of command looking the other way. A refusal to prosecute the My Lai officers would send a message to the ranks that it was open season on such massacres. That seems to have been the result according to a recent book by Nick Turse, "Kill Anything that Moves." Turse delved into military records and veterans' accounts to show that My Lai was not an isolated event. The US military, however, quite successfully suppressed disclosure of these other atrocities. It turns out my argument, 45 years earlier in officer school, was prescient. These atrocities continued because the US Army officer corps was effectively immune from prosecution.

Northern PoV said...

In Vietnam, the war that introduced Agent Orange is know as 'the American War".

John B. said...

Has anyone in a command position in the Canadian or US military ever been insulated from legal responsibility through a defence based on the assertion that the subordinate following the order should have had, as a consequence of the technical expertise provided through his training, an understanding of the illegality or unsoundness of the order and therefore refused to obey it?

The Mound of Sound said...

I believe, John, that the rule operates as a shield, not a sword. Refusing to follow an illegal order is a defence to the soldier receiving the order but the protection doesn't extend to the superior who issued the order.

liberalandlovingit! said...

MoS

Your opinions, commentary and wisdom have always been valuable to this liberal.
"Keep on Rockin' in The Free World".

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks very much. As a former, lifelong Liberal since turned Green, I do appreciate input from the LPC party faithful. I don't think I ever really left the party. It left me when it moved to the right, particularly during the Harper years. I hope some day a new leadership will emerge to redeem their once great tradition.