The My Lai Massacre : A Military Crime Of Obedience

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The structure of the military is responsible for soldiers committing cruel and unnecessary acts. For example, the My Lai massacre and the abuses at the Abu-Ghraib prison in Iraq are great illustrations of this. Kelman and Hamilton (1989) in “The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime of Obedience” did not only write about what occurred during the My Lai massacre, but expanded on WHY the military personnel engaged in this horrible act. Their main explanation is that the structure of the military causes social processes which make it easier for someone to kill or hurt another person; this includes: authorization, routinization, and dehumanization (Kelman and Hamilton 1989:22). The article, “Report Blames Rumsfeld for Detainee Abuses” by Shane and Mazzetti (2008) discusses the details of an investigation that led to a report which states who was really responsible for the abuse of prisoners in the Abu-Ghraib prison in Iraq. The article also talks about a military training, SERE, that was used during this time. Because of the information provided in this article, it will be argued that the same dynamics in My Lai massacre were present at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
One of the social processes that was present at the My Lai massacre, as well as the Abu Ghraib prison, was authorization. Authorization can be identified as someone carrying out the orders from their superiors because they feel as though it is their responsibility to do so (Kelman and Hamilton 1989:23). Also, in military training

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