The My Lai Massacre: Fifty Years Later

Photo by -JvL- | CC BY 2.0

Nineteen sixty-eight was an earth-shattering year! Revolution was in the air all across the globe from nations in Europe to Mexico, the U.S., and beyond. Living in revolutionary times was exhilarating, especially when seen against the backdrop of the fascistic systems of government and politics that have grown across the world today.

There were the assassinations of King and Kennedy. There was the bloody Democratic convention in Chicago with its police riot and the nomination of the staid Hubert Humphrey who could not get out of his own way in terms of criticizing Lyndon Johnson about the quagmire that was Vietnam. There were the peace candidates who went down to defeat. And then there was Nixon who kept the Vietnam War going for his entire presidency with its attendant unending barbarism.

And there was the massacre at My Lai and its coverup that made its way into the national consciousness by eyewitness testimony. Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story at the national level in a cable published by the Dispatch News Service on November 12, 1969.  The pervasive grotesque nature of the Vietnam War had become a mainstay on the nightly news and in the consciousness of those willing to listen.

For those who may need a quick primer in the history of the area near the central coast of South Vietnam, the villages that made up My Lai were referred to as “pinkville” because of the color of the rice paddies in the area near the sea….

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