In Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse, the author in detail explains the Vietnam War from an American perspective. The book discusses in detail how America was involved in torture, assassinations, mass killings, and even rape that they tried to hide from the public. Turse also states how much of the atrocities were encouraged due to the U.S. policies demand of body counts as counting the number of Vietnamese deaths were the only way for them to measure success. I was shocked to learn about the My Lai Massacre, which was when the innocent and harmless South Vietnamese civilians were killed by the U.S. Armed Forces. The American government did not own up to its mistakes and even released a lieutenant responsible for the killings only after three years of prison time. This reminds me of the Battle of Haditha during the Iraq War when a group of United States Marines murdered 24 unarmed Iraq civilians which included men, women, and elderly people. Although it was alleged that the killings were a response to an attack on the Marines with a bomb, it was later revealed by the media that the statement was falsified.
The question I have is: Should all soldiers who participated in the killings of unarmed civilians be charged for following and obeying unlawful orders? Or should the higher ups be the only ones taking responsibility for ordering the killings? In other words, should more people have been held responsible for war crimes and extreme violence against innocent and unarmed civilians?
Turse, Nick. Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam. Henry Holt and Company. New York: 2013. 19 January 2017.