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Calley Apologizes for My Lai Massacre
August 22, 2009 8:47 AM   Subscribe

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that William Calley spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Columbus on Wednesday. During his remarks he apologized for his role in the My Lai massacre.
“There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai,” Calley said. “I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.”
The Kiwanis gave him a standing ovation, the first time the club secretary recalls that happening. (Previously)
posted by ob1quixote (106 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
He murdered hundreds (three to five hundred, nobody was really counting and there was too much bllod around anyway) of civlians -- women, children, elderly people killed in ways that are not acceptable in slaughterhouses for cows -- did less time than a lot of people caught with a bag of weed, it took him more than forty years, and we are fucking supposed to be impressed?
posted by matteo at 8:55 AM on August 22, 2009 [58 favorites]


Yeah, I'm finding it hard to summon any sort of feeling about this besides wanting his sorry ass slapped in cuffs and into a slammer, to die in jail.

I wonder how many of those Kiwanis people applauding were/claim to be sickened by the release of the Lockerbie bomber?
posted by nevercalm at 8:59 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


You should have put this link in the Tom Ridge thread. The comments are going to be pretty much identical.
posted by Cyrano at 8:59 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, that's nice I suppose. More impressed that the old guys at the Kiwanis club gave him a standing O. That's actually progress.

Oh, and now it's your turn, Colin Powell.
posted by FfejL at 9:06 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


> “He is very sensitive about this.”

Oh, that poor man!
posted by you just lost the game at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Any apology, no matter how belated, half-assed and passive-voice-dependent, is better than nothing, I suppose.
posted by box at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Took the man a looong time to say that. A looooong time. And I agree with matteo's comment above. I am not impressed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 AM on August 22, 2009


...better than nothing...

I reckon no one would argue with that, but, "nothing" is a pretty low bar, isn't it?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


> Calley always claimed that he was acting on direct orders from his company commander...

You know who else claimed that they were acting on direct orders from their...oh, the hell with it.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 9:14 AM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


did less time than a lot of people caught with a bag of weed

It's worse. Not only did he only serve three and a half years of what was supposed to be a life sentence of hard labor, he served it all under house arrest rather than in prison.

This speech was just a pathetic old man trying to soothe his troubled conscience. He needs to hear that, despite inexcusably murdering or ordering the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians, he's really a good man because he was sorry he did it. I wonder if these Kiwanis Club members would give the same standing ovation to every murderer on death row who expresses sorrow before being executed. A lot of them do, after all. Calley is no different, except that his execution is going to be carried out by old age rather than the state.

He's also not above trying to make a quick buck from his monstrous actions:

"In October 2007, Calley agreed to be interviewed by the UK newspaper the Daily Mail to discuss the massacre, saying, "Meet me in the lobby of the nearest bank at opening time tomorrow, and give me a certified cheque for $25,000, then I'll talk to you for precisely one hour." When the journalist "showed up at the appointed hour, armed not with a cheque but a list of pertinent questions", Calley left." (From Wikipedia with source).
posted by jedicus at 9:15 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is he volunteering to spend some time in jail? Or is this a more intellectual kind of remorse?
posted by DU at 9:19 AM on August 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


The Kiwanis gave him a standing ovation

if it had been sherman apologizing, they'd have lynched him
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


but, you know, this deserves a little more serious comment than that - what bugs me about this is that he didn't massacre the kiwanis club in atlanta

he wants to make a real apology, he should go to vietnam and make it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:23 AM on August 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


oh, he said it in columbus - fine, let's hear it in ho chi minh city
posted by pyramid termite at 9:26 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always love it when people apologize for "what happened" rather than what they did.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:32 AM on August 22, 2009 [14 favorites]


Better than nothing, I guess, but:

There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened what I did that day in My Lai. I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed I murdered, for their families, for the American soldiers involved I ordered to murder people and their families. I am very sorry for being a murderer.
posted by Flunkie at 9:36 AM on August 22, 2009 [31 favorites]


That guy made Manson look like a boy scout, and he's walking around free. This is a screwed up country.
posted by mullingitover at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


You should have put this link in the Tom Ridge thread. The comments are going to be pretty much identical.

Or the McNamara's Dead thread.
posted by Beardman at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2009


How much did they have to pay him?

In October 2007, Calley agreed to be interviewed by the UK newspaper the Daily Mail to discuss the massacre, saying, "Meet me in the lobby of the nearest bank at opening time tomorrow, and give me a certified cheque for $25,000, then I'll talk to you for precisely one hour." When the journalist "showed up at the appointed hour, armed not with a cheque but a list of pertinent questions", Calley left.

An actual apology must have cost a pretty penny.

I'll save all my ovations for the memory of Hugh Thompson.
posted by taz at 9:44 AM on August 22, 2009 [16 favorites]


Or the McNamara's Dead thread.

Even McNamara developed a better understanding of the consequences of his actions than this guy.


. for Hugh Thompson.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:49 AM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


someone secretly recorded the moment they decided to let him speak: "Oh, he murdered a bunch of civilians during the Vietnam War, dodged his deserved punishment and was involved in a giant coverup. He's also the friend of a member. We really should let this guy speak at our next meeting. It might be inspirational."

wait, what?
posted by krautland at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2009


That guy made Manson look like a boy scout, and he's walking around free

I think at the time the 80% of the country that was opposed to his incarceration considered him another casualty of war. By the time Calley received his sentence Nixon had largely pulled the US out of ground combat so his punishment was sorta besides the point, as far as criminal justice goes.

Nearly every one of our pilots flying into North Vietnam -- Wild Weasel pilots excepted -- was another Calley yet we gave them medals.
posted by @troy at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2009


oh, he said it in columbus - fine, let's hear it in ho chi minh city
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:09 AM on August 22, 2009


Geez, if they gave HIM a standing O, I'd imagine if they had a real hero in their midst, the Columbus Kiwanis would have to learn to take flight.
posted by inturnaround at 10:14 AM on August 22, 2009


. for Hugh Thompson seconded.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:17 AM on August 22, 2009


Too little, too late.

And this is a microcosm for a larger problem. The U.S. government has never taken any real responsibility for what the U.S. military did in Vietnam.
posted by orange swan at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yes for Hugh. A great American.
posted by A189Nut at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I certainly think it's possible to see Calley as a casualty of war, and it's impossible to know if he really feels remorse. He apparently still see's himself as somewhat of a victim, so I'm not sure he's particularly believable.

After reading about Hugh Thompson, however, I find I feel much more contempt for the likes of Mendel Rivers than for Calley himself. If the Navy can name a submarine for him, they ought to name an entire fleet for Thompson.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:23 AM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


he didn't have the courage to not slaughter the vietnamese and now he hasn't the courage to face his own death. a fucking lifelong coward.
posted by kitchenrat at 10:29 AM on August 22, 2009


Everything I'm reading on Hugh Thompson impresses the hell out of me, but this especially jumped out at me:
Initially, commanders throughout the Americal's chain of command were successful in covering up the My Lai Massacre. Somewhat perversely, Thompson quickly received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions at My Lai. The citation for the award fabricated events and praised Thompson for taking to a hospital a Vietnamese child "caught in intense crossfire" and said that his "sound judgment had greatly enhanced Vietnamese-American relations in the operational area." Thompson threw the citation away.

...

In a 2004 interview with "60 Minutes," Thompson was quoted referring to C Company's men involved in the massacre: "I mean, I wish I was a big enough man to say I forgive them, but I swear to God, I can't."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:38 AM on August 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


Part of a 2006 interview with Lawrence Colburn, one of the door gunners on Thompson's helicopter:
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, I wanted to ask, as you see what’s happening in Iraq, as you see the photos from Abu Ghraib, hear about Guantanamo, what are your thoughts from your experience in Vietnam and dealing with, well, fellow U.S. soldiers at My Lai?

LAWRENCE COLBURN: Well, if I were to continue on where Eugene McCarthy left off, we were warned about the military-industrial complex. It almost sounds cliché now to bring it up. But we’re actually living it now. When we’ve taken resources away from social programs, health care, education, and all of those resources are directed toward defense, that’s the way the country is going to go. And if—until the social elite have to send their own children to war, things won’t change. They’re good at sending other people’s children to war. But if they had to send their own, we may not be where we are now.*
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:46 AM on August 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


Thompson actually went back to Vietnam for that 60 Minutes special. While being filmed, he encountered a survivor of the My Lai massacre. His spontaneous apology to her carries a hell of a lot more moral weight than Calley's passive speech: "Sorry we couldn't help you that day," Thompson told her. "I saved the people because I wasn't taught to murder and kill. I can't answer for the people who took part in it. I apologize for the ones that did. I just wished we could have helped more people that day."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:47 AM on August 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


People do change. We are capable of learning from our awful, hideous mistakes and we are capable of analyzing our past actions and feeling remorse. No one, least of all him, is denying that what he did was horrendous, but I also imagine that few people reading this website know how or what they would do during the heat of battle in a horrendous, unjustified war. This was a war where we rained napalm down on people. If we were in the middle of that kind of madness, we don't know what we would do.

All I hear from these comments is that no one here believes someone could actually feel bad for some horrible thing that they did in the past.
posted by gt2 at 10:53 AM on August 22, 2009


All I hear from these comments is that no one here believes someone could actually feel bad for some horrible thing that they did in the past.

People, sure. Calley, not so much. I'm sure he's experiencing regret, and such, as he gets older, but up until this point any comment he's made about My Lai has been apology-free. So maybe he's sorry. The point is, way too little, far too late.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:57 AM on August 22, 2009


1. "The heat of battle" only applies if there's another combatant around. You know, somebody with...a weapon? Battling you? And it's a pretty piss-poor excuse even then.

2. "Mistakes were made" apologies might as well be no apology at all. Especially for something like this.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2009


Well, if I were to continue on where Eugene McCarthy left off, we were warned about the military-industrial complex. It almost sounds cliché now to bring it up. But we’re actually living it now. When we’ve taken resources away from social programs, health care, education, and all of those resources are directed toward defense
Actually, they're mostly directed toward offense.
posted by Flunkie at 11:05 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


gt2- I think the problem is his passive voicing. His apology admits nothing about his past mistakes, he does not treat himself as culpable. He may believe that he is as much a victim as anybody. So, he's not really apologizing for anything, he's just lamenting.
posted by Think_Long at 11:06 AM on August 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


1. Calley was the perpetrator of hideous evil, for which he bears personal responsibility. No apology he makes (let alone this wasn't-my-fault half-apology to a small American charitable club) will weigh against the suffering he caused.

2. Calley was the victim of hideous evil. That war drove millions of people insane, and he snapped at the wrong place and the wrong time, and he's had to live with everyone's loathing, including his own. He's done something morally brave by beginning to admit to his moral cowardice.

These can be true at the same time. Calley can be a serious criminal and also a person like you and me, who does what seems like the obvious thing at the time. If this is terrifying, well, that's why people don't like wars.
posted by vruba at 11:09 AM on August 22, 2009 [41 favorites]


"The heat of battle" only applies if there's another combatant around. You know, somebody with...a weapon? Battling you? And it's a pretty piss-poor excuse even then.

Well, in all fairness, the VC was often a bigger problem than the NVA. And both sides had a track record of dragging the civilian population to take sides, or at the very least to cache food and arms. It was a hell of a mess all around.
posted by crapmatic at 11:13 AM on August 22, 2009


If you aren't ready to apologize with blunt, clear language, not sparing yourself at all, but you instead choose to use indirect and detached language without taking responsibility for your actions, you aren't really apologizing.

I bet that the applause Calley got from this speech has convinced him he's done all the penance necessary now. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.
posted by maudlin at 11:14 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


All I hear from these comments is that no one here believes someone could actually feel bad for some horrible thing that they did in the past.

Just a reminder about how Calley justified his participation in murdering, raping, sodomizing, and maiming defenseless civilians: At his court-martial, he declared, "If I have committed a crime, the only crime that I have committed is in judgment of my values. Apparently, I valued my troop's lives more than I did that of the enemy."

After My Lai, Hugh Thompson was veterans affairs counselor and lectured at the US Naval and Military Academies on military ethics. What did William Calley do after he was released from prison, besides, apparently, feel bad?

(And just because the Viet Cong were an evil bunch of guerillas who used terroristic tactics at the drop of a conical hat, it doesn't exculpate war crimes by US forces any more than the fog of war.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:21 AM on August 22, 2009


All I hear from these comments is that no one here believes someone could actually feel bad for some horrible thing that they did in the past.

I don't think anyone questions that he feels badly. But it's clear he's still ducking responsibility to some degree. The newspaper article didn't carry the longer quote, which ends with "If you are asking why I did not stand up to them when I was given the orders, I will have to say that I was a 2nd Lieutenant getting orders from my commander and I followed them—foolishly, I guess."

He's saying that he regrets what he did, but he's still not taking responsibility for his actions.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:27 AM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


We can never, nor should we try, to see into another man's heart. Our bitterness - while warranted - will never bring My Lai's victims back. Much as it makes us shudder to admit it, those victims include Calley, who whether he truly knows it or not has spent his life shouldering the burden of violence. Yes, we should have prosecuted him and thrown him in jail for a lot longer. Yes, his superiors (right up to LBJ and Nixon) should have also been held accountable for their actions. Still, none of our hate will do anything but continue to propagate the us-versus-them mentality that motivated Vietnam in the first place.

Calley killed thousands of innocent people. For that, he is guilty of a horrid series of crimes against humanity. But we - by our deliberate action, by our inaction, by our Western mentality, by our attachment to violence - put him there. We continue to send Calleys to Abu Ghraib, to Baghdad, to GITMO, to Bagram, to Columbia, and a number of other places. For that, we're at least a little guilty too. We'd like to believe, put in Calley's place, we wouldn't do the same thing. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:33 AM on August 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


The Kiwanis gave him a standing ovation, the first time the club secretary recalls that happening.

The Kiwanis of Columbus are not easily impressed.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:34 AM on August 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I think at the time the 80% of the country that was opposed to his incarceration considered him another casualty of war."

I was a kid at the time and this was the case. So while you're giving this guy the well deserved finger, remember it was your mom and dad who supported the wholesale slaughter of innocent peasants.
They probably thought the Iraq war was a good idea as well, didn't they?
posted by 2sheets at 11:35 AM on August 22, 2009


Still, none of our hate will do anything but continue to propagate the us-versus-them mentality that motivated Vietnam in the first place.

This is a little dramatic. Social approbation is an appropriate consequence for murder.

We're not even driving by his house and giving him the finger or anything.
posted by kathrineg at 12:06 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


remember it was your mom and dad who supported the wholesale slaughter of innocent peasants.

They probably thought the Iraq war was a good idea as well, didn't they?


I don't think it's necessarily a generational thing.
posted by kathrineg at 12:08 PM on August 22, 2009


I wonder how many of those Kiwanis people applauding were/claim to be sickened by the release of the Lockerbie bomber?

No bloody kidding. It's normal procedure in Scotland for terminally ill prisoners without long to live to be released from jail. Because we have kept to our normal humanitarian way of proceeding, despite massive political pressure to behave otherwise, we have been pilloried by Hilary Clinton, President Obama and now the FBI director has seen fit to publicly scold our Justice Minister for 'rewarding' terrorism.

Then I look at the news and find that America's most notorious living war criminal, responsible for more deaths that Lockerbie, not only got freed after such a short period, but was treated as a hero by state governors and politicians, and is now free to pootle about addressing Kiwanis clubs, with not so much as the sniffles to justify his release, let alone imminent death

So despite my normal willingness to be a notional Democrat for internet purposes, here's a hearty 'Fuck right off!' to Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Robert S. Mueller, III. Come back and lecture Scotland when America has finished 'making a mockery of the grief' of the relatives of those killed by Calley. (And if Calley was in a Scottish prison in the last stages of terminal cancer, I'd still want our normal process to take effect, and for him to be released. That's how we do things here.)
posted by Flitcraft at 12:17 PM on August 22, 2009 [31 favorites]


I also imagine that few people reading this website know how or what they would do during the heat of battle in a horrendous, unjustified war.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't throw a 2-year-old child in a ditch and then shoot her. Maybe I'm naive.
posted by kathrineg at 12:21 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder how those who applauded Calley feel about Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi's release and welcome home?

For those of you who weren't around back then, it is worth noting that to a large segment of the population, Calley was a hero; there was even a minor hit song celebrating him. A flag-waving youtube video of the song is here.
posted by TedW at 12:26 PM on August 22, 2009


I also imagine that few people reading this website know how or what they would do during the heat of battle

I have no idea how I'd react in the heat of battle, no. I'd hope if someone ordered me to mass-murder a bunch of civilians when no-one was shooting at me I might at least think twice about it.
posted by rodgerd at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2009


These can be true at the same time.

I'd favorite this a hundred times if I could.
posted by EarBucket at 1:06 PM on August 22, 2009


kathrineg: Social approbation is an appropriate consequence for murder.

"Social approbation" for one's actions looks different than repeatedly saying "fuck him and the horse that drove him in." To people who think that Calley took actions essential to the national security of the United States (of which there are several) MeFite liberals who say that are angry, pinko, commie, freedom-haters who are perfectly happy climbing on a Viet Cong missile. It's not hard to see how that kind of back and forth evolves into calling a mixed-race President and a gay Jewish congressman Nazis for supporting relatively piecemeal health care reform.

More importantly, I don't think its fair for us to pretend we're immune to the forces underlying Calley's actions, either because we're in a better age or because we think of ourselves as more tolerant, diverse or benevolent. My Lai is a sobering event in US and world history, and should be looked at that way. To that end, we should consider it an event in our history, not just Calley's.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:19 PM on August 22, 2009


I also imagine that few people reading this website know how or what they would do during the heat of battle

This is bad? I'm more concerned for those that know exactly what they would do during the heat of battle, because it serves as a cover for psychotics to commit their massacres.
posted by Brian B. at 1:20 PM on August 22, 2009


Doktor Zed: At his court-martial, he declared, "If I have committed a crime, the only crime that I have committed is in judgment of my values. Apparently, I valued my troop's lives more than I did that of the enemy."

To the extent that this is a fair assessment of Calley's mindset (in other words, that Calley believed innocent North Vietnamese civilians were the enemy, and killing them was an act of valuing his own troops' lives), does Calley deserve more condemnation than any soldier with that mindset simply because he was more capable of executing his beliefs?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:24 PM on August 22, 2009


Under any interpretation, how is a standing ovation appropriate?
posted by sloe at 1:33 PM on August 22, 2009


The U.S. government has never taken any real responsibility

When has any large organization ever taken 'real responsibility' for negative actions?

Governments or large corporations - most seem to ignore responsibility. Governments have Extra-responsibility dodging powers what with them being able to make the laws and controlling a large hunk of the enforcement of said laws.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:34 PM on August 22, 2009


> For those of you who weren't around back then, it is worth noting that to a large segment of the population, Calley was a hero; there was even a minor hit song celebrating him.

Holy shit, was I ever happier not knowing that. That song is vile, racist, propagandistic trash. Sample lyrics:

While we're fighting in the jungles they were marching in the street
While we're dying in the rice fields they were helping our defeat
While we're facing V.C. bullets they were sounding a retreat
As we go marching on
...
Sir, I followed all my orders and I did the best I could
It's hard to judge the enemy and hard to tell the good
Yet there's not a man among us would not have understood

We took the jungle village exactly like they said
We responded to their rifle fire with everything we had
And when the smoke had cleared away a hundred souls lay dead

Sir, the soldier that's alive is the only one can fight
There's no other way to wage a war when the only one in sight
That you're sure is not a VC is your buddy on your right


Yeah, God damn all those toddler VCs, killing our boys...
posted by you just lost the game at 1:34 PM on August 22, 2009


The first line of Calley's entry in Wikipedia says all you need to know. "William Laws Calley ... is a convicted American war criminal."

Here's hoping the Kiwanis would have given a standing ovation to Hugh Thompson when it was his turn to speak.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:37 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


To the extent that this is a fair assessment of Calley's mindset (in other words, that Calley believed innocent North Vietnamese civilians were the enemy, and killing them was an act of valuing his own troops' lives), does Calley deserve more condemnation than any soldier with that mindset simply because he was more capable of executing his beliefs?

He thought the 2-year-old child he executed was the enemy, really? Was the toddler refusing to disclose the location of enemy combatants? Providing them with material aid? Sharing her toys with the VC?
posted by kathrineg at 1:39 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Calling someone a Nazi for supporting health care reform and calling someone a murderer for murdering people are completely different.
posted by kathrineg at 1:42 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The same government that perpetrated and tried to cover up this atrocity is the same government some people want to control their health care. As My Lai and other kill fests in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan prove, government is basically in the death business. That anyone would want to hand these monsters the power to provide or withhold medical care boggles the mind.
posted by Faze at 1:57 PM on August 22, 2009


kathrineg: Calling someone a Nazi for supporting health care reform and calling someone a murderer for murdering people are completely different.

I have no problem with calling a spade a spade. I'm saying I find the unwillingness in this thread to take collective responsibility more than a little troubling.

There's no doubt that killing a two-year-old child is atrocious. I don't find it any more atrocious, however, than killing adult Iraqi civilians in the street, or training soldiers to kill priests in El Salvador, or the British slaughtering Indians, etc. At some point, we have to realize that crimes against humanity are not just something that people named Calley do, or people who work for Blackwater do, but something that all of us are at least in part responsible for.

I agree with vruba: Calley is both a murderer and one of us, someone like us. I think, however, it should motivate us to something a little more dramatic than "not liking" war: I think it should be a point of reflection on how violence begets violence. Saying what we could do if we could just get our hands on the bastard doesn't advance the mission of this not happening again.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 2:07 PM on August 22, 2009


just because the Viet Cong were an evil bunch of guerillas who used terroristic tactics at the drop of a conical hat

I'd like to think that if some foreign power invaded New England and tried to force its will upon us, we would use terror on the occupiers that makes Vo Nguyen Giap look like Papa Smurf (but preferably without getting kids involved).
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:11 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


To the extent that this is a fair assessment of Calley's mindset (in other words, that Calley believed innocent North Vietnamese civilians were the enemy, and killing them was an act of valuing his own troops' lives), does Calley deserve more condemnation than any soldier with that mindset simply because he was more capable of executing his beliefs?

In the first place, Charlie Company massacred South Vietnamese civilians - the VC never had any qualms about letting civilians get caught up in a crossfire, whatever their sympathies, but Charlie Company was on a search-and-destroy campaign in a "free-fire zone". In the second place, Calley's self-serving statement ranks up there with "only obeying orders" as a transparently insufficient excuse for war crimes on a par with anything by the Waffen SS or the Imperial Army.

The reason why we honor soldiers like Hugh Thompson and his crew, even late in the day, is that they did not subscribe to a mindset that allowed for the commission of atrocities by soldiers like William Calley. Thompson's actions arguably prevented the slaughter from becoming even worse and the search-and-destroy campaign from continuing; then afterward, he gave evidence in both Pentagon and Congressional investigations into My Lai, for which he initially received public vilification. When he and his crew finally received official recognition, thirty years later, they were honored as having "set the standard for all soldiers to follow."

Calley's never done anything in his life, even this weak-tea apology, for anyone to follow by example.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:32 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The same government that perpetrated and tried to cover up this atrocity is the same government some people want to control their health care. As My Lai and other kill fests in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan prove, government is basically in the death business. That anyone would want to hand these monsters the power to provide or withhold medical care boggles the mind.

Wow. I've seen my share of leaps from Point A to Completely Unrelated Point B, but this is some Evel Knievel shit. A truly outstanding achievement in the field of monomaniacal axe-grinding.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 2:35 PM on August 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


To the extent that this is a fair assessment of Calley's mindset (in other words, that Calley believed innocent North Vietnamese civilians were the enemy, and killing them was an act of valuing his own troops' lives), does Calley deserve more condemnation than any soldier with that mindset simply because he was more capable of executing his beliefs?

or maybe he's actually being honest: he was given an order to kill everyone in the village, it probably wasn't phrased that way. The whole discussion takes on this air of Lt. Calley, lone gunman... there was an entire company involved:
On the eve of the attack, at the Charlie Company briefing, Captain Ernest Medina informed his men that nearly all the civilian residents of the hamlets in Sơn Mỹ village would have left for the market by 07:00 and that any who remained would be NLF or NLF sympathizers.[14] He was also asked whether the order included the killing of women and children; those present at the briefing later gave different accounts of Medina's response. Some of the company soldiers, including platoon leaders, later testified that the orders as they understood them were to kill all guerrilla and North Vietnamese combatants and "suspects" (including women and children, as well as all animals), to burn the village, and pollute the wells.[15] He was also quoted as saying "They're all V.C. now go and get them" and was heard saying "Who is my enemy?" and added "Anybody that was running from us, hiding from us, or appeared to be the enemy. If a man was running, shoot him, sometimes even if a woman with a rifle was running, shoot her"
there's a huge cognitive dissonance here... the operation as planned was a war crime, regardless of whether you threw everyone in a ditch and shot them. who goes around emptying villages, burning all the houses, polluting the wells?, rounding up all the 'insurgents' and shooting them?

you have to realize that the mask, the long black cape, the heavy breathing, that's us: we're Darth Vader.
posted by geos at 2:43 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Murder in the name of war - My Lai:
Soldiers went berserk, gunning down unarmed men, women, children and babies. Families which huddled together for safety in huts or bunkers were shown no mercy. Those who emerged with hands held high were murdered...Women were gang raped; Vietnamese who had bowed to greet the Americans were beaten with fists and tortured, clubbed with rifle butts and stabbed with bayonets. Some victims were mutilated with the signature "C Company" carved into the chest.
Calley can't even muster up a "my bad." He's just saying, "bad."

"In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent." -- Colin Powell

Calley believed innocent North Vietnamese civilians were the enemy
South Vietnam, actually.

posted by kirkaracha at 2:47 PM on August 22, 2009


At some point, we have to realize that crimes against humanity are not just something that people named Calley do, or people who work for Blackwater do, but something that all of us are at least in part responsible for.

if we're all responsible than no one's responsible - this is a cop-out - an unwillingness to point the finger at those who design, outfit and support these wars

they are the ones responsible

Saying what we could do if we could just get our hands on the bastard doesn't advance the mission of this not happening again.

i don't recall saying i wanted my hands on him - i would just like him to go to vietnam and make his apology there, where it's needed most

and yes, i think that would advance the mission of this not happening again
posted by pyramid termite at 2:58 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


pyramid termite: if we're all responsible than no one's responsible - this is a cop-out - an unwillingness to point the finger at those who design, outfit and support these wars they are the ones responsible

Unless you don't pay taxes, or live in a country without a standing army, then you've just declared yourself responsible. Me too. It's only a cop out if we decide to do nothing about it. I think hanging William Calley is only marginally different (in many ways, marginally worse) than nothing.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:01 PM on August 22, 2009


what bugs me about this is that he didn't massacre the kiwanis club in atlanta

That seems a little extreme. Are you an Elk or something?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:07 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Unless you don't pay taxes, or live in a country without a standing army, then you've just declared yourself responsible.

no, i haven't - outfitting an army with arms implies a direct interaction with them

I think hanging William Calley is only marginally different (in many ways, marginally worse) than nothing.

i think you've confused me again with an imaginary friend

---

Are you an Elk or something?

i drink elkohol - does that make me one?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:15 PM on August 22, 2009


Unless you don't pay taxes, or live in a country without a standing army, then you've just declared yourself responsible. Me too.

Can one really be responsible because one was later born in the place where people tangentially and involuntarily supported something...?
posted by kathrineg at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, pyramid, I wasn't calling you out per se. I actually think the idea of apologizing directly to a people against whom you've committed atrocities is a good one (see: South Africa), and should be practiced far more often. Still, there's plenty of actual "fuck him" and "I hope he dies" upthread, which take a threatening posture. I continue to contend that paying taxes which pay for guns constitutes material cooperation with warmaking, but that's probably just the Catholic in me.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:19 PM on August 22, 2009


So you're saying the people who buy US bonds are some hardcore genocidal war criminal maniacs, then

(Note: I don't actually think that buying war bonds makes you a war criminal)

(Note Part 2: I'm psyched that as long as I am too poor to pay taxes, I am absolved of responsibility for my government's wrongdoing)
posted by kathrineg at 3:25 PM on August 22, 2009


kathrineg: Can one really be responsible because one was later born in the place where people tangentially and involuntarily supported something...?

The US (alongside most of the Western world) continue to be involved in wars where stuff like this or worse goes down every year. I'm probably not alone in arguing that diminished attendance at protests is a direct result of not having a draft: people care a lot about if they go to war, but as a whole don't care much about what the people who do go do once they get there: 4 in 10 Americans, for example, support torture even when it's called "torture". There's great documentation upthread of how Calley et al were lauded when they got back. Calley's mindset was at least in part derivative of an American psyche that had a violent anti-Communist tendency, not just an ideological one. It's the same kind of tendency that sanctions a war against a country which wasn't connected to 9/11, allows soldiers and contractors to do pretty much whatever they want there with little media attention, and only begins to withdraw its support for the war when it perceives that it is losing, not when its kids or their kids are dying in huge numbers.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:27 PM on August 22, 2009


kathrineg: So you're saying the people who buy US bonds are some hardcore genocidal war criminal maniacs, then

I'm not. Then again, those aren't words I'd use to describe Calley either, save "war criminal", which he was. But, look: US voters re-elected Bush, just as they re-elected LBJ, both because they were pursuing wars which brought horrendous destruction of innocent human life. There's general agreement here that the people directly responsible for taking that life are guilty, and at least some agreement that the people responsible for ordering that taking of life are guilty too. What does that make those of us who vote for the guilty, or those of us who pay taxes to support the guilty, or those of us who engage our culture in the kinds of destructive, violent ways which plant the seeds of hate in the hearts of the guilty? Not maniacs, no ... but not wholly innocent either.

It's naive, in my view, to think being angry at Calley will solve any of this. It's far more realistic to mount a careful, concerted revolution of minds and hearts, one which considers what we buy, what we say, and how much we love parts of the problem and potentially parts of the solution. We start, in other words, with ourselves.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2009


US voters re-elected Bush, just as they re-elected LBJ, both because they were pursuing wars which brought horrendous destruction of innocent human life.

first, ALL the voters didn't re-elect those presidents and 2nd, lbj was re-elected in 1964, before the war became as big as it did - and in 1968, he dropped out rather than face a dissatisfied public
posted by pyramid termite at 3:47 PM on August 22, 2009


(Note Part 2: I'm psyched that as long as I am too poor to pay taxes, I am absolved of responsibility for my government's wrongdoing)

Income tax is not the only way they get money from you, as far as taxes.
posted by Dagobert at 3:48 PM on August 22, 2009


From wikipedia:

He attended Palm Beach Junior College from 1963 to 1964, but dropped out after receiving unsatisfactory grades, consisting of two Cs, one D, and four Fs. He then worked at a variety of jobs, including bellhop, dishwasher, salesman, insurance appraiser and train conductor. He did not hold any of these for long and was in San Francisco in 1966, when he received a letter from his Selective Service board requesting reevaluation of his medical condition.

Once in, he applied for Officer Candidate School, and got accepted.

This is fascinating. I would love to hear more about their standards at the time. And today, for that matter.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:35 PM on August 22, 2009


McNamara's Tear (scroll down and press play).
posted by tzikeh at 4:56 PM on August 22, 2009


Fuck the Kiwanis then
posted by Scoo at 4:58 PM on August 22, 2009


Sorry, that only place a snippet of the song.

Lyrics:

I remember Timmy Greer
as if he were right here
I was running down that moonlit path
the air so soft and clear

And he kissed me for the first time
and the mountains spun me round
And babies and years rolled thru me
before he set me down

And I'm running down that moonlit path
I'm kissing Timmy Greer
And when I hear him say "I love you"
The air turns soft and clear

And I saw McNamara's
before Timmy shipped away
He was talking on the TV
with his chart and graph display

But no chart or graph could show you
All the shattered shards of dream
That filled the air when Timmy died
I was not there to scream

And I'm running down that moonlit path
i'm kissing Timmy Greer
And when I hear him say "I love you"
The air turns soft and clear

"He was walking thru the tall grass"
Someone wrote and told his mom
"He never knew what hit him.
One false step and he was gone."

And all our babies disappeared
So soft without a trace
And when I looked at the TV
I saw McNamara's face

And I'm running down that moonlit path
I'm kissing Timmy Greer
And when I hear him say "I love you"
The air turns soft and clear

I have lived and loved and gone to work
And years have passed by years
McNamara is an old man
And he lives with doubts and fears

And I saw him on the TV
He was sorry he'd been wrong
And he said that
he had know it all along

And I'm running down that moonlit path
I'm kissing Timmy Greer
And when I hear him say "I love you"
The air turns soft and clear

McNamara's face it filled the screen
His words they filled the sky
Explode explode explode they did
And in truth, so did I

And before a million angels
He shed a single tear
And that tear it grew and grew and grew
A flood of secret fear

And it flooded all the TVs
And it flooded all the roads
It flowed thru all the fields and towns
Sad nights and heavy loads

It flowed wounds that never healed
And tears no one could cry
and I drowned inside that single tear
from McNamara's eye

And i'm drifting back thru time again
And year peels off of year
And i'm running thru that sweet salt dark
And kissing Timmy Greer
posted by tzikeh at 5:01 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]



Why would they even want him as a speaker?
posted by notreally at 5:11 PM on August 22, 2009


All the other convicted war criminals were booked solid.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:13 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Medina was the senior office at My Lai. Thompson and his crew watched as Medina murdered a wounded Vietnamese woman whose position they had just marked. Medina's pre-mission briefing is said to have included instructions that anyone in the village was either VC or VC sympathizers along with the orders to kill everyone in the village. Medina's lawyer and subsequent employer, F. Lee Bailey, argued that Medina was not aware of the massacre until it was too late (see the part about the murder of the unarmed, wounded helpless woman above). Medina was found not guilty of all charges, as were the 24 other officers and soldiers indicted for the crimes at My Lai. Yep, Calley's the villain here.

There were some 500 people murdered at My Lai. Calley was charged with the murder of 104 civilians and convicted for the murder of 22. If Calley was the only person responsible (since he was the only one convicted), did 478 people suddenly change from murder victims to accidental deaths or suicides? Calley admitted that he had killed the civilians. Everyone else involved seems to have been busy taking banjo lessons or something at the time.
posted by joaquim at 5:36 PM on August 22, 2009


I don't think anyone's arguing Calley alone did wrong. But wasn't Calley the guy in charge on the ground? That might explain the degree of disgust directed at him. That and waiting until old age to tell a group of Ohioans that he's sorry.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:47 PM on August 22, 2009


In all those days that he thought of the people he killed personally, ordered killed, witnessed being killed did he ever go to members of Charlie Company and say, "I failed you. I placed in you in a situation that made you a nightmare." In all those days of rumination, did he ever go to his commanding officers and say, "You failed me. I listened to the voice of the devil in my ear and became the abyss. You placed me and my men in a bad place." At the waking of each day where he breathed, alive to feel, did he go to the survivors and say, "I am truly sorry. I failed to listen to angel of my better nature." And to all those people who provided him support of his actions in word, and action did he ever go and say, "I failed. We failed. Where do we go now?"

So this Kiwanis Confessional is it enough? I am not sure.
posted by jadepearl at 6:39 PM on August 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why would they even want him as a speaker?

Remember about ten years ago, when an American military plane, flying too low in Italy, cut the cables holding up a cable car and killed twenty people? Joseph Schweitzer, the plane's navigator, destroyed a videotape he'd made of the flight; he and the pilot were both acquitted of manslaughter but thrown out of the Marine Corps for obstruction of justice.

Last fall, he spoke about the incident to a small group at my college. He went step by step through what happened, what he did, and why. When he found out they'd destroyed the cable car and killed its passengers, he dropped into a well of guilt, humiliation, and isolation that I can just barely imagine. He tried to deal with it alone, believing anyone he went to for advice or support would "be in the frag pattern" (his words, not mine) and go down with him. And so he chose to do the wrong thing, and I still remember his explanation: he "would not have lived through seeing that tape released with [his] smiling face on it." Not the words of a defensive or remorseless man.

Joseph Schweitzer gives that same talk a dozen or more times a year without any kind of compensation. He's not trying to clear his name or deflect blame from himself; I think he's decided his purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others now, and he's good at it. What he did was absolutely nothing like My Lai and it would be stupid to even compare him to Calley, but there's a real reason to listen to someone who understands how and why he's done wrong.

Unfortunately, from the article, it sounds like William Calley is not one of those people, and the headline "Calley Apologizes for My Lai Massacre" didn't actually happen. He can take his passive voice to Leavenworth for all I care.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 6:40 PM on August 22, 2009 [9 favorites]


I've said this before, here, but I met Calley once, at his jewelry store in Columbus. (Georgia, not Ohio. Right outside Fort Benning).

I'm glad he said something, anything.
posted by atchafalaya at 7:40 PM on August 22, 2009


Reminiscent of that old racist Southern guy that hit the FPP within the past year.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:16 PM on August 22, 2009


I don't think anyone's arguing Calley alone did wrong. But wasn't Calley the guy in charge on the ground? That might explain the degree of disgust directed at him. That and waiting until old age to tell a group of Ohioans that he's sorry.

Calley was the scapegoat to make sure responsibility for the planning of the operation didn't travel up the chain of command. It's exactly the same pattern as Abu Ghraib: everyone's more willing to believe that a low-and-slow hick is just one bad apple than the fact that the U.S. Army was planning deliberate war crimes as counter-insurgency "tactics." Calley would never have become an officer if it weren't due to collapsing standards in the face of collapsing morale.

Repeat: it's exactly the same pattern as Abu Ghraib, except that Nixon turned him into some kind of right-wing folk hero. The Kiwanis would have applauded anything he said, just like they did the first time he went around the right-wing lecture circuit.
posted by geos at 8:56 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


“And if—until the social elite have to send their own children to war, things won’t change. They’re good at sending other people’s children to war. But if they had to send their own, we may not be where we are now.”

Truth. Although, I dunno. Folks who will amass those kinds of fortunes - with certain notable exceptions of course - might cut their own kids throats to get more. I'd suspect they're on the thin end of the bell curve as well tho, so the weight of the numbers might hold it.

“We continue to send Calleys to Abu Ghraib, to Baghdad, to GITMO, to Bagram, to Columbia, and a number of other places. For that, we're at least a little guilty too. We'd like to believe, put in Calley's place, we wouldn't do the same thing. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure.”

I agree with some of that. But having been put in Calley’s place and having, y’know, NOT done the same thing, I feel free to cast a stone. Hell, a lot of them. I’ve killed in essentially cold blood. But only out of dire necessity and a manifest need to save lives. I’d absolutely never deliberately fire on an unarmed civilian. And I’d never accept an order to.
And I’ll go one better than having been in similar combat situations – Thompson (et.al) was in exactly the same situation as Calley.

While I think it’s wrong to generalize in casting blame about the conditions those men were put into – and fine to point out that the folks at home were in full support and lay some blame at their feet, I feel perfectly free in casting blame when there’s so obvious and egregious and specific a war crime and so clear cut examples of someone doing the right thing, and someone doing the wrong thing.

It is not a marginal difference.
Calley’s acts were different than most other soldiers as there was evidence that he deliberately targeted innocent civilians.
I don’t think every single member of the military did that. Not most. Not even many. Some, surely. And they’re wrong too. And if there were evidence of it they should be prosecuted as well.
An order to deliberately target an innocent civilian is an illegal order. Period.

Doesn’t matter what you, me, or anyone else believes.
Now if there’s evidence to suggest they’re not innocent, that is, that they’re combatants, than if they’re not armed at the moment – they can be captured as war prisoners.

I’d be hard pressed to find evidence of complicity in any war effort for a very young child.
And this “atrocity” business – all war is horrific, yes. That does not absolve anyone of responsibility nor does it mean they do not have to follow the laws of war. The horror of war is not a justification to obviate legitimacy in the use of force.
And indeed – we are all responsible for it. That’s precisely why we should DO something to stop it.
Prosecuting Calley was nice. Not going off to war unless absolutely necessary to survival would be better.
In-between there is a recognition that obeying the will of one’s nation is not a license to execute that will in the most extreme genocidal manner at hand.
That said – if I tell Joe Sniper to shoot the next person coming over the hill and it’s a woman and he hesitates because it’s a woman and she blows up a bus full of kids, I’m going to have him up on charges.
The fact that Calley was a scapegoat doesn’t cut any ice with me. It only means I hold his superiors that much more responsible for lying and – in the example above – lying Joe Sniper into killing an innocent woman.

The thing Joe Sniper should do after the fact – especially if he’s an officer – is demand accountability. At the absolute very least, because he shouldn’t want to be on the hook for it. Better because it’s your duty to disobey illegal orders. And best of all, as Thompson realized immediately, because it’s the right thing to do. Even discounting the humanitarian reasons – it’s textbook COIN to get the people on your side.
One doesn’t accomplish this by killing them. Now the latter doesn’t apply to Joe Grunt, but it sure as hell puts the O’s on the hook for it. It’s not like you didn’t have tons of lessons from the Boer War to the French in Algeria – it’s not like these things were overlooked in the war colleges.
So – for the war effort in general – Vietnam – yeah, I’d say you can argue the will of the people and degrees of responsibility in that case.

In terms of a war crime where it’s deliberate and *methodical* targeting of unarmed civilians? No. You pull the trigger there, unless you do an about face right after (if you were lied to, or there are other mitigating circumstances), that’s your responsibility and yours alone. No matter how many people back home might be on board with it.

I think too many people call out “Nuremburg,” in these cases. But here – no, Joe German infantryman shooting some French guy by accident or someone who moves too quick in a war zone is one thing. The MP at the prison camp who’s involved in the extermination of civilains – whole different thing. Calley’s in the latter ballpark.

People can do the wrong thing, yes. And sometimes there isn’t a choice. But - the only choice to make after the fact is whether to make it right or not. Certainly that’s not easy. But it is a choice. Calley’s chose not to. He deserved prison. Worse, in my opinion (but I’m against the death penalty).
Hell, even his apology was self-serving. When is he going to work to make it right? Do – something – for someone other than himself that was in that situation? Until then his life counts among the many that were wasted.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:41 PM on August 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I had no idea. We can do better.
posted by humannaire at 10:13 PM on August 22, 2009


Calley was the scapegoat to make sure responsibility for the planning of the operation didn't travel up the chain of command.

No doubt about it. I was just responding to this question of "What about the other guys pillaging My Lai?" Calley gets the Extra Special Hated prize among the C Company troops because he was in charge on the ground, and could have shown the same conviction Thompson did, but not only didn't, he went apeshit. There's a distinction between following orders and relishing them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:49 PM on August 22, 2009


Somewhat ironic that the Kiwanis Club (whose motto is "Serving the Children of the World") would give a standing ovation to someone who contributed to branding veterans of the Vietnam war with the label "baby-killers".

I suspect the Kiwanis would never listen to yet alone give a standing ovation to a child molester. After all, touching a child inappropriately is unforgivable. By contrast, eventually coming to sort'uv regret being a party to the massacre of scores of children is apparently very laudable.

Can someone get a restraining order on a club? Because I'm not sure I trust this organization around children anymore.
posted by Davenhill at 11:22 PM on August 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Calley gets the Extra Special Hated prize among the C Company troops because he was in charge on the ground
Calley was in charge of the 1st Platoon, which entered the village with another platoon while the rest of the company was in reserve. There were 3 soldiers higher in the chain of command present at My Lai. Besides Medina, LTC Barker and Col. Henderson -- the brigade commander -- were circling overhead in helicopters.

After his acquittal, Medina admitted that he had suppressed evidence and lied to his superiors about the number of civilian casualties at My Lai. He claimed that he didn't enter the village until 10 AM when most of the shooting had stopped (see the first sentence in this paragraph for calibration points on Medina's honesty). Witnesses say he was in the village by 9 AM and participating in the killing. (Medina voluntarily took a polygraph that indicated he was telling the truth when he said he had not ordered the killings during the mission briefing; the same polygraph, however, indicated that he was lying about the time of his arrival in My Lai).

After the 1st and 2nd platoons finished sweeping through the village, the 3rd platoon (held in reserve with Medina) was sent in to deal with remaining resistance. Besides killing wounded civilians, they rounded up and murdered an additional 12 people. Remember that, although Medina claimed not to have given orders to kill civilians, all three platoons under his command -- including one that was not in the initial assault -- committed atrocities. 3rd platoon was sent into action by Medina and immediately began murdering civilians, so Medina cannot claim that he was unaware of any crimes being committed.

While Calley is responsible for his own actions and those of the men under his command (a standard originally called the Yamashita Standard when it was used to justify the executions of Japanese officers after WWII and renamed the Medina Standard when it was ignored in the My Lai aftermath), there were at least 3 officers present who outranked him and were aware of the crimes as they were being committed. At no time during the My Lai operation was Calley in an autonomous position of command.
posted by joaquim at 12:41 AM on August 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nice ranty rant, Flitcraft--the verbal equivalent of glassing--smashing a glass in someone's face, for those not familiar with something far from unprecedented in pubs in the compassionate, kind land of Scotland.

Or is that rude and stereotyping?

Or is it that anyone in any country which has had people in its military or government do bad things can't be critical when citizens, military members or officials of other governments do things they find questionable?

And if they do, "Fuck right off...," is an intelligent, appropriate response?

That's about as intelligent as smashing a glass in my face because I like another rugby team.

It'd be too easy to respond on a level you apparently consider appropriate--and/or find examples of bad behavior by Scots and Scottish government officials criticizing the actions of other government offiicials.
posted by ambient2 at 12:53 AM on August 23, 2009


I was just about to come back here to ammend that assertion. And I agree that these others in higher authority did evil, and their apologizing to a Kiwanis club in Ohio would also be, um, an empty gesture at this point. I still do think Calley deserves every ounce of disgust levelled at him; that there were other people around, even outranking him, doesn't make him less repugnant of a human being. It just means his accomplices and superiors deserve our disgust, too.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:53 AM on August 23, 2009


I had no idea. We can do better.

Dude, your country still employs Blackwater, a company led by a many who sincerely believes that his role is to spread Christianity by violent force, to slaughter darkies in Afghanistan.

What the fuck, "I had no idea"? Pull your head out.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 AM on August 23, 2009


"to slaughter darkies"

Ahem

Shouting your delusions does not make them real.
posted by Dagobert at 3:57 PM on August 23, 2009


I am not sure what your beef is there, Dagobert.

Erik Prince is a batshitinsane Christian crusader who has been very keen to engage in holy war in the mid-East. He is now being accused of outright murdering people who have been cooperating with authorities in federal investigations into Blackwater and Prince's role. Erik Prince and his cohorts routinely refer to mid-East muslims using derogatory names. Though I will admit, he probably doesn't use the term "darkies": it's too British. No, he prefers "ragheads" and "sandnigger" and the like.

These are not delusional accusations. The man is a fucking lunatic with a chip on his shoulder that dwarves Christ's cross.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2009


Keep shouting your pejorative remarks.

Best way to convince people.
posted by Dagobert at 4:38 PM on August 23, 2009


Um... five fresh fish is not "shouting" here, Dagobert. Far as I can tell, he's tried to clue you in on the context of his use of racial epithets: that such language and thought processes are employed not by him, but by Erik Prince. At this point, you are either not listening to him or are simply being willfully obtuse. Or trolling.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:58 PM on August 23, 2009


I'm sorry, did Eric Prince, as deplorable as he might be, use the terms 'darkies' or 'sandniggers'? Knowing his ilk, I'll allow that 'raghead' might have either been said by him in private or someone said it in his presence and he countered with silence.

How does this differ from others calling Obama 'Hitler'?

I am just so tired of this crazy rhetoric from both sides. Can we keep to the facts and leave the hyperbolic insults for somewhere else?

I respond better to clear arguments than I do to emotional dialectic that favors jaded, implied populism.

Maybe it's me.
posted by Dagobert at 5:11 PM on August 23, 2009


So you're not particularly offended that the man is accused of having had federal informants murdered, nor that the man is accused of running an organization that has a reputation for high-level officer wife-swapping and kiddie sex, nor even that the man is running a dystopian Holy Crusade in the mid-East.

I suppose what you're telling me is that Erik Prince is not racist, he just hates the living shit outta those muslims. It's got nothing at all to do with colour!

You are so right. I apologise. I have no reason at all to besmirch Erik Prince's good name using an unproven claim of racism. I'm sure some of his best friends are black. I'm sure it's only a few low-class employees who use the derogatory language.

Now about those other issues?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:29 PM on August 23, 2009


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