Jack Doxey / San Diego Veterans For Peace, Hugh Thompson Memorial Chapter
March 16th 2017 marks the 49th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre that occurred in Vietnam. To say that it was a sad day in the history of our country is a gross understatement. Our United States military systematically slaughtered over 500 Vietnamese women, children, infants and old men in the tiny village of My Lai.
Our country’s attention span is short; and revisiting old wounds, as we all know, can be painful. The result is that this event has been relegated to the “dust bin” of history. Nevertheless, I beseech our government and every American citizen to not forget, and learn from the events that unfolded 49 years ago. One obvious lesson is that war is not the answer.
To some extent, the youthful soldiers with limited life experiences were duped into believing the people they were killing were some kind of sub species and with that mindset, accompanied by direct orders from their superiors, it allowed them to drop their moral compass and carry out this terrible atrocity.
Our current government’s “Might Makes Right and Them Against Us” mantra is being communicated on a daily basis to the American people. President Trump’s planting of seeds of hatred could thrust us into another major war and in turn spark more My Lai Massacres. We, the people, have an obligation not to let this happen.
It is estimated that the United States currently has 1,000 military bases throughout the world and 250,000 US military deployed worldwide. At the same time, our current government is strongly arguing that our military force has been weakened and advocates that we spend billions more to shore it up. The truth is that we have a military budget of approximately 600 billion dollars per year. This is more than the combined spending of most industrialized nations throughout the world.
If ever the citizens of the United States should be vigilant and question their government — now is the time. Seeking the truth and speaking out when you believe your country is not taking the moral high ground is not an option. It is a responsibility. Dissent, rather than being unpatriotic, is the highest form of patriotism.
In spite of it all, I see a hint of “blue sky” on the horizon. I believe that much of the world is embarking on a period of transition brought on by witnessing sustained military violence. It has jolted many of us into the reality that all people and all nations exist, at best, on a fragile planet. This type of introspection is happening right now amongst thousands of US citizens and has triggered a ground swell of activism. Many of us, perhaps for the first time, are standing up and protesting what is happening to our nation today.
Let us remain steadfast and get the job done.
Jack Doxey is a local San Diego resident and Korean War combat veteran (1952-1954).