It’s not quite My Lai but it is a nightmare nonetheless. An American soldier, reportedly suffering a mental breakdown, has killed Afghan civilians as they lay sleeping.
When Lt. Calley and his men lined up a village of women and children and executed them at point-blank range, nobody claimed the Great Satan was involved. The Vietnamese understood Lt. Calley to be a basket case. Not that they dismissed what he did. No. That happened when he and the others involved were tried in a military court at Ft. Benning, Georgia — the military base in my hometown.
I grew up under the cloud of Lt. Calley, ashamed and silent, keenly aware of the public debate about Vietnam, and as I heard hundreds of time throughout my life — what a shame my father died in such a wasteful war.
Those children will feel conflicted because children have a keen sense of right and wrong that adults often rationalize away, especially when they serve in Congress.
And now the yammer-heads will begin the debate: Well, it was wrong but that’s what you get in war.
Of course it’s what you get in war which is why war should never be an act of retribution.
But that’s coming now, you can bet your sweet bibby on that.
Because the difference between a soldier murdering innocents in Afghan and Lt. Calley is that we weren’t fighting a Holy War in Vietnam.