Friday, 27 September 2013

Massacre in Malaya - Exposing Britains My Lai?

I have just pre-ordered this book.  To me the title appears 'sensationalist', although the publisher can't be blamed for trying to sell their book.

The My Lai massacre took place in several hamlets of Son My village in in Vietnam where American forces (1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment) indiscriminately massacred between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians.  Victims included women, men, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated.  By contrast in the Batang Kali massacre 24 unarmed male villagers were killed (executed?) by elements of the Scots Guards, after they had been separated from their women and children and interrogated.  Comparable? 

In both massacres the troops involved believed that the villagers were aiding their enemy.  The killing of unarmed civilians by soldiers is never acceptable unless, in the heat of war, a genuine mistake is made.