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War atrocities covered up... Is it right?

Krieger Von VergultungKrieger Von Vergultung __BANNED USERS regular
edited April 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
A couple of days ago I read about the My Lai Massacre, which occured during the Vietnam War. It was a horrendous event in which a platoon of soldiers murdered a village of about 500 innocent peasants.

A full account can be read here:
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mylai/Myl_intro.html


I then read that the government covered this up for about a year until a reporter started digging into it.

Is it right that the government covers it up? Should we have a right to know? Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

For all we know My Lai Massacre is happening all over again in Iraq, except this time it is better covered up.

Krieger Von Vergultung on

Posts

  • MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Is it right that the government covers it up?

    No
    Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

    Anti-war demonstrations would be a good response to news that the war consists in the slaughter of the civilians we were supposedly protecting from communism. Hence, suppressing them doesn't seem like an admirable goal at all.

    MrMister on
  • Krieger Von VergultungKrieger Von Vergultung __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    MrMister wrote: »
    Is it right that the government covers it up?

    No
    Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

    Anti-war demonstrations would be a good response to news that the war consists in the slaughter of the civilians we were supposedly protecting from communism. Hence, suppressing them doesn't seem like an admirable goal at all.

    I agree.


    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.

    Plus, the actions of a few individuals shouldn't affect the entire army. Seeing in the news that our army is just slaughtering people is not right; it would give the general public an incorrect idea of what is happening; they would assume every army soldier is a demon murdering civilians.

    Krieger Von Vergultung on
  • Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator Smooth Operator Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    That photo indicated that this abuse was not the work of 'recycled hillbillies' on the 'night shift' at Abu Ghraib. It was instead the product of a half-century of history that reached back to the darkest recesses of the Cold War and decisions that extended all the way to the highest levels in Washington.

    These are not a few bad apples. The war crimes exposed and yet to be revealed are of a systemic nature, condoned both explicitly through orders and implicitly through the cover up. This is embarrassment on a national level, and I expect it to continue for decades after we withdraw from Iraq. We owe that country more than we could possibly give.

    Spaten Optimator on
  • Yossarian_Lives!Yossarian_Lives! Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Simply, No, it isnt right that the government covered up the My Lai Massacre, And we have already had a bunch of nasty shit go down in Iraq. Retaliatory Killings, Aressts without charges, hell the whole Abu Gharib (sp? i think thats right) thing points towards business as usual for the U.S. Military.

    But... This time its as though they are using the military as a scapegoat. take Abu Gharib for instance, there was a good sized complement of civillian intelligence\interrogators present. They took no small role in the torture of the prisoners as well, most of whom really didnt have any business of being there in the 1st place. but, no civillians were charged with anything, and a few military personnel became the media's whippingboy. (I belive someone made a documantry focusing on the civillian contractor's role in iraq)


    I think the real question is: why the fuck would the government cover up My Lai? Its pretty much taken as read that the government was horribly corrupt during that time period. Next question: What makes you think that its changed? Do you really think our media apperatus gives a clear un-fucked-around-with image of the goings on in the middle east, previous to Iraq 2.0 and currently? If it doesnt, then what are we missing? What are the real resons we are over there?

    Yossarian_Lives! on
  • VariableVariable Mouth Congress Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    MrMister wrote: »
    Is it right that the government covers it up?

    No
    Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

    Anti-war demonstrations would be a good response to news that the war consists in the slaughter of the civilians we were supposedly protecting from communism. Hence, suppressing them doesn't seem like an admirable goal at all.

    I agree.


    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.

    Plus, the actions of a few individuals shouldn't affect the entire army. Seeing in the news that our army is just slaughtering people is not right; it would give the general public an incorrect idea of what is happening; they would assume every army soldier is a demon murdering civilians.

    it's not our fault that they drill the concept of "an army of one" into our heads.

    If one succeeds, they succeed. If one fails on that grand a level, in a way they all have failed.

    While I'm clearly talking figuratively, the blame does not only lie with whoever commits whatever atrocities.

    Variable on
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  • Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator Smooth Operator Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Also, no military claiming to protect a free society has license to cover up its own crimes. That seems pretty basic.

    Spaten Optimator on
  • NoneoftheaboveNoneoftheabove Just a conforming non-conformist. Twilight ZoneRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    War just brings out the worst in humanity, so it is to be expected innocents die in great number and often.
    How can our government be expected to not glorify war to some degree, or at least censor the horrid elements, and at the same time be expected to fill recruitment demands and satisfy troop moral at the same time?

    Covering up a mass slaughter such as the Nam incident or an Iraq incident may be a terrible thing, but how do you keep the balance if this war is indeed the right course of action? And how can you say any war is the right course of action? The Allies involvement in WWII may have been for all the right reasons, and yet I imagine there were still people who questioned it. I think it is good we question things like this at any rate.

    Perhaps because this latest war appears more imperialistic than most in our history as the US causes greater feelings of doubt? Who can really say but those who lie about it?

    Noneoftheabove on
  • Spaten OptimatorSpaten Optimator Smooth Operator Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Perhaps because this latest war appears more imperialistic than most in our history as the US causes greater feelings of doubt? Who can really say but those who lie about it?

    Yes. This is the point.


    We do not live in technocracy. We pay taxes, and some of us care about where those taxes go. To that effect, we would like to know if a massacre, torture, et cetera has been committed by U.S. troops. Protecting vital intelligence is a valid excuse for denying public access to certain files.

    Protecting a crime is not an excuse for denying public access. My Lai was a crime. Abu Ghraib was a crime.

    It is not the job of the Pentagon to not hurt our feelings. Give us the goddamn information, and let representative government properly function.

    edit: This goes double for the CIA.

    Spaten Optimator on
  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.
    "Would damage national pride"? The hell? Since when is national pride something that should be protected?

    Aroused Bull on
  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Decades long cover-ups are certainly not acceptable, but on the other hand if every mistake made by an army is amplified and broadcast to civilians no war would maintain support. Not in this cultural climate. My Lai certainly seems beyond maintaining moral, but in WWII Britain had to suppress knowledge of the treatment of Jews for strategic reasons. I think I will have to investigate this subject further before I decide.

    MentalExercise on
    "More fish for Kunta!"

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  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.

    Good.

    Look, if you go to war, then find its unpopular and so then try to backtrack - its a pretty good indication that you went in for the wrong reasons.

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • MahnmutMahnmut Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Decades long cover-ups are certainly not acceptable, but on the other hand if every mistake made by an army is amplified and broadcast to civilians no war would maintain support.

    My inner hippie says, "Woo-hoo!" And my more pragmatic side suggests that this is a good thing, too: if atrocities damage military viability, then the military has a strong incentive to discourage and crack down on atrocities. Either way, in a republic the public has got to know some bad stuff.
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.
    "Would damage national pride"? The hell? Since when is national pride something that should be protected?

    I've never liked that line of argument. It's unfortunate that it will probably never, ever die. Remember, children, dissent is unpatriotic; and just say no to truth.

    Mahnmut on
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  • sdrawkcaB emaNsdrawkcaB emaN regular
    edited April 2007
    Mahnmut wrote: »
    Decades long cover-ups are certainly not acceptable, but on the other hand if every mistake made by an army is amplified and broadcast to civilians no war would maintain support.

    My inner hippie says, "Woo-hoo!" And my more pragmatic side suggests that this is a good thing, too: if atrocities damage military viability, then the military has a strong incentive to discourage and crack down on atrocities. Either way, in a republic the public has got to know some bad stuff.

    Imperialist that I may be, I agree with your pragmatic side. Let's say I'm Caesar (I say it to myself every night before I go to sleep. :D). Do I want my dumbass troops undermining my efforts to get shit done, and sway Gallic opinion in my favor? Hell no I don't. Anyone who disobeys my rules better get shut the fuck down, including anyone who's even remotely related to what they did. Becuase, you know, I'd care more about accomplishing my goals than preserving a crony here or there. Because I'm Caesar, and I do whatever it takes to win.

    Seriously, if we want to win Iraq, we should build a time machine and get Caesar, put him in control of this shit. He'd get the job done. Freakin' genius.

    ...OK I'm done with the "LAWL C43SAR IS TEH PWNZAGE" for now.

    sdrawkcaB emaN on
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited April 2007

    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.

    Honestly, in regards to My Lai, I think the whole "national pride" ship had already sailed. I also think that soldiers know, by and large, when the mission they're fighting for is shit. If the guys in Iraq, for example, have low morale, it's because the government has done everything in their power to mess this war up, not because some people back home protest.

    GoodOmens on
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  • DockenDocken Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    MrMister wrote: »
    Is it right that the government covers it up?

    No
    Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

    Anti-war demonstrations would be a good response to news that the war consists in the slaughter of the civilians we were supposedly protecting from communism. Hence, suppressing them doesn't seem like an admirable goal at all.

    Actually the really smart operators don't cover up anything... they get the public to tacitly go along with it all and even in some instances cheer about it.

    I doubt everyone here jumping up and down about Vietnam war crimes feel the same way about the fire bombing of Dresden, or the nuking of Nagasaki/Hiroshima.

    War has its price. The point is, when you wage war, you better make damn sure that its worth it. I think that is what really is being said here; that Vietnam was not worth sacrificing our morals because 'fighting the Red Menance' was really not something the US should have been doing in SE Asia.

    Docken on
  • fjafjanfjafjan Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    What the fuck? How can this even be a question?
    No, hiding war attrocities to spare public opinion is not okey, possibly in a very short term perspective, but since pretty much every modern was has been unnecessary, hiding up is not okey.

    fjafjan on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    GoodOmens wrote: »

    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.

    Honestly, in regards to My Lai, I think the whole "national pride" ship had already sailed. I also think that soldiers know, by and large, when the mission they're fighting for is shit. If the guys in Iraq, for example, have low morale, it's because the government has done everything in their power to mess this war up, not because some people back home protest.

    Seriously do you think that anti-war protesters hurt troop morale more than say not giving troops proper body armor or armored vechiles?

    nexuscrawler on
  • GorakGorak Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.
    "Would damage national pride"? The hell? Since when is national pride something that should be protected?

    And what about those whose national pride is strongly related to the fact their nation is free to protest government action? In the UK we won that right long before we had the right to vote.

    War morale is the stomach the citizenry have for supporting a war. Accusing someone of damaging it is essentially saying, "Not supporting the war reduces support for the war and therefore you shouldn't do it." As for military morale, there are far more important factors such as being under-staffed, under-equipped, under-supplied and feeling like you've been left in the desert to be shot at with no real end in sight.

    Gorak on
  • GregerGreger Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    A couple of days ago I read about the My Lai Massacre, which occured during the Vietnam War. It was a horrendous event in which a platoon of soldiers murdered a village of about 500 innocent peasants.

    A full account can be read here:
    http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/mylai/Myl_intro.html


    I then read that the government covered this up for about a year until a reporter started digging into it.

    Is it right that the government covers it up? Should we have a right to know? Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

    For all we know My Lai Massacre is happening all over again in Iraq, except this time it is better covered up.

    ITS WRONG. They shouldnt cover up. Really, I cant see how you arent all offended that your government has lied to you.

    If you commited a murder, would you hide it from your friends? I know the analogy is far away but you get the point.

    If my government had done what your had done I wouldnt say "is this right" I would be pissed.


    To even have to ask yourself that question seems a little odd.

    Greger on
  • GregerGreger Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Perhaps because this latest war appears more imperialistic than most in our history as the US causes greater feelings of doubt? Who can really say but those who lie about it?

    Yes. This is the point.


    We do not live in technocracy. We pay taxes, and some of us care about where those taxes go. To that effect, we would like to know if a massacre, torture, et cetera has been committed by U.S. troops. Protecting vital intelligence is a valid excuse for denying public access to certain files.

    Protecting a crime is not an excuse for denying public access. My Lai was a crime. Abu Ghraib was a crime.

    It is not the job of the Pentagon to not hurt our feelings. Give us the goddamn information, and let representative government properly function.

    edit: This goes double for the CIA.


    I agree. The state is fueled by the people and should exist for it. We are NOT their slaves that simply shut up and say " I didnt see that".

    Greger on
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Gorak wrote: »
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.
    "Would damage national pride"? The hell? Since when is national pride something that should be protected?

    And what about those whose national pride is strongly related to the fact their nation is free to protest government action? In the UK we won that right long before we had the right to vote.

    War morale is the stomach the citizenry have for supporting a war. Accusing someone of damaging it is essentially saying, "Not supporting the war reduces support for the war and therefore you shouldn't do it." As for military morale, there are far more important factors such as being under-staffed, under-equipped, under-supplied and feeling like you've been left in the desert to be shot at with no real end in sight.

    The critism of war critics is the easiest way to deflect blame from yourself. They did it in Vietnam and they're doing it now. Hardly anything new.

    nexuscrawler on
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    MrMister wrote: »
    Is it right that the government covers it up?

    No
    Or should the government suppress the actions of a few crazed individuals in fear of anti-war riots?

    Anti-war demonstrations would be a good response to news that the war consists in the slaughter of the civilians we were supposedly protecting from communism. Hence, suppressing them doesn't seem like an admirable goal at all.

    I agree.


    To be the devil's advocate, however, anti-war demonstrations would just damage war morale and national pride.

    Humility is a virtue. It's also a trait that helps keep you from making the same mistake over and over again.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • SilmarilSilmaril Mr Ha Ha Hapless. Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Is it always "wrong" to cover it up though? I'd have to say no. In these cases I don't think you could make much of an argument for covering it up, but that doesn't mean that a war should always be conducted transparently.

    Silmaril on
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  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Silmaril wrote: »
    Is it always "wrong" to cover it up though? I'd have to say no. In these cases I don't think you could make much of an argument for covering it up, but that doesn't mean that a war should always be conducted transparently.

    I think thats all about whether you buy the whole "sometimes we have to keep secrets, just so you can sleep at night - but trust me, it's for your own good" thing.

    I get not telegraphing your military tactics.

    But after the event, if it was still justified - what's the problem?

    Fallingman on
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  • SilmarilSilmaril Mr Ha Ha Hapless. Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Fallingman wrote: »
    But after the event, if it was still justified - what's the problem?


    Its too easy to say something wasn't justified far after the event, with hindsight and the knowledge that you can condemn the actions without jeopardizing anyone's life.

    Silmaril on
    t9migZb.jpg
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    That photo indicated that this abuse was not the work of 'recycled hillbillies' on the 'night shift' at Abu Ghraib. It was instead the product of a half-century of history that reached back to the darkest recesses of the Cold War and decisions that extended all the way to the highest levels in Washington.
    These are not a few bad apples. The war crimes exposed and yet to be revealed are of a systemic nature, condoned both explicitly through orders and implicitly through the cover up. This is embarrassment on a national level, and I expect it to continue for decades after we withdraw from Iraq. We owe that country more than we could possibly give.
    Story in the paper the other day - documents have been released detailing how during the Korean War U.S. forces were given standing orders to fire on any refugees trying to cross their lines (i.e. civilians who might be fleeing southwards from the Chinese or the DPRK).

    EDIT: Toronto Star - Korean War policy let U.S. troops kill refugees

    Andrew_Jay on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Every American has heard about Wounded Knee but I doubt 1 in a thousand can say they've heard of the massacre at No Gun Ri during the Korean War. American troops, following orders, killed almost 400 South Koreans who were panicked by rumors the North Korean army was advancing. It is very possible to silence an atrocity without covering it up - you just don't talk about it and it goes away.

    emnmnme on
  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Silmaril wrote: »
    Fallingman wrote: »
    But after the event, if it was still justified - what's the problem?


    Its too easy to say something wasn't justified far after the event, with hindsight and the knowledge that you can condemn the actions without jeopardizing anyone's life.

    Possibly, but if you have the intelligence you had at the time - you should still be able to justify it. I think people are more intelligent than that.

    I also like the idea that those that make the decisions know that they will have to pony up and answer for them... When we are talking about military actions and loss of life - I actually think that is appropriate.

    Fallingman on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • GorakGorak Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    The critism of war critics is the easiest way to deflect blame from yourself. They did it in Vietnam and they're doing it now. Hardly anything new.

    It's a very old idea. I expect it from governments, but it's worth pointing it out when a citizen does the same.

    Gorak on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Every American has heard about Wounded Knee but I doubt 1 in a thousand can say they've heard of the massacre at No Gun Ri during the Korean War. American troops, following orders, killed almost 400 South Koreans who were panicked by rumors the North Korean army was advancing. It is very possible to silence an atrocity without covering it up - you just don't talk about it and it goes away.

    Yeah, I hadn't heard of it before. But I don't think the fact that a majority have never heard of it is really due to a coverup (at least not anymore), but rather to the fact that most people simply don't care.

    I mean, it's a given that our military has committed atrocities in pretty much any war we've ever fought...including officially sanctioned atrocities. Knowing what exactly those atrocities were really isn't strictly necessary that that point.
    Gorak wrote: »
    And what about those whose national pride is strongly related to the fact their nation is free to protest government action? In the UK we won that right long before we had the right to vote.

    Toby Keith says fuck those guys.
    War morale is the stomach the citizenry have for supporting a war. Accusing someone of damaging it is essentially saying, "Not supporting the war reduces support for the war and therefore you shouldn't do it." As for military morale, there are far more important factors such as being under-staffed, under-equipped, under-supplied and feeling like you've been left in the desert to be shot at with no real end in sight.

    Yeah, I'd go so far as to say that (at least in this conflict) military morale hasn't been affected at all by public sentiment at home. I'd say this is probably at least one huge advantage an all-volunteer army has over conscripts. I mean volunteers can have low morale or high morale, but really the level of support for the war from the public in general isn't going to have a whole lot to do with it.

    mcdermott on
  • LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    Cover Ups and delayed reports by the military is the stupidest fucking things they can do. If they came out right away that they fucked up then the media may not care us much. The media loves reporting on juicy cover ups.

    LondonBridge on
  • MentalExerciseMentalExercise Indefenestrable Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Fallingman wrote: »
    Silmaril wrote: »
    Fallingman wrote: »
    But after the event, if it was still justified - what's the problem?


    Its too easy to say something wasn't justified far after the event, with hindsight and the knowledge that you can condemn the actions without jeopardizing anyone's life.

    Possibly, but if you have the intelligence you had at the time - you should still be able to justify it. I think people are more intelligent than that.

    I also like the idea that those that make the decisions know that they will have to pony up and answer for them... When we are talking about military actions and loss of life - I actually think that is appropriate.

    Really? Because every intelligence agency we talked to before Iraq thought there were weapons of mass destruction, including the British and the Israelis. Now that that's known to be wrong people don't pay much attention to it. The point is that while this is not an acceptable example, there are many many situations where the public should not know until long afterwards. Because a completely transparent war will always lose support half-way through, but it's far worse to half-ass a war than restrict information. Situationally of course.

    MentalExercise on
    "More fish for Kunta!"

    --LeVar Burton
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