They were Butchering People by Larry Colburn (2003) Sample Essay
They were Butchering People
Medina did not handle the situation at My Lai well. If I were in Medina’s place, I could have used other means to try to find the right criminals to punish. For instance, I could have employed the ‘snatch missions’, which involved kidnapping draft-age males for interrogation. Through this method, I could have managed to get a deep insight into the matter. Moreover, I could have continued to employ the use of the small aircrafts as bait while covering them with gunships. In addition, I could have used more aerial scouts to help in looking for potential threats and marking them with smoke. Moreover, I could have brainstormed with the soldiers, to come up with alternative solutions to solve the problems we had on the ground. In addition, I could have ensured that the briefing was clear so that every soldier knew what the mission entailed.
If I were given an order to participate in such a mission, I could have told the Captain that I was not comfortable with it. I could have tried to explain to him that the mission was inhuman, and it had dire consequences for the soldiers in the mission and even the community. Moreover, I could have looked for fellow soldiers who had the same opinion as mine, to collectively try to convince Medina to drop the mission. However, if he could not agree with my views, I could have asked him to drop me out of the mission. After that, I could have looked for means to save some of the civilians who were being targeted.
There is a high probability that a mental breakdown may have been a contributing factor in Medina’s actions. He seemed to have come up with the idea of the mission haphazardly. Moreover, he did not brief all the troops well concerning the mission. For instance, the aerial scouts were not aware that their troops were killing people. In addition, he killed a harmless woman while the aerial scouts were observing. Besides, no human in his usual health would have ordered a mission that entailed killing civilians.
The My Lai tragedy was caused by the brutal act of the troops. The civilians did not deserve to die as they did. Moreover, they were harmless and posed no threat to the Americans. However, they were ‘butchered’ by the soldiers who had been given orders by their captain.
Colonel Medina sought revenge in the wrong way. He employed ruthless tactics of vengeance. He ended up killing innocent babies and civilians in the verge of seeking revenge. He kills a woman using his gun without hesitation. His troops blindly danced to the tune of their master. They killed mercilessly and even raped women in the hamlets. However, some of the soldiers did not follow the orders Medina gave them. For instance, Thompson offers help to a group women and children in a bunker northeast of My Lai, with the help of his friend Dan.
The punishment of the accused did not fit the crime. Most of the people killed were civilians while the Americans had targeted the Vietnam army. They went further to kill innocent children and even raping women. Their revenge was inhuman, and it was directed at the wrong people.