War Atrocities and the Law

Archive Report

Violation of Laws of War in Viet Nam

When the alleged massacre of noncombatants by American soldiers in Viet Nam in March 1968 was finally brought to public attention a year and one-half later, it focused world attention on the frailty of any coating of humaneness that may be thrown over the bestiality of war. On various occasions in the course of the Viet Nam conflict, as in earlier wars, troops on both sides have violated prohibitions against killing or mistreating innocent civilians. But published accounts of what happened at a hamlet in Songmy village called Mylai—the apparently deliberate shooting- of groups of men, women and children—disturbed the conscience of America. The coming courts-martial of an Army officer accused of murdering move than 100 civilians ...

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