Crimes of War: A Legal, Political-Documentary, and Psychological Inquiry into the Responsibility of Leaders, Citizens, and Soldiers for Criminal Acts in Wars

By Richard A. Falk; Gabriel Kolko et al. | Go to book overview

LETTER TO HIS PARENTS
CAPTAIN WILLIAM H. MILLER

printed in the Bridgeport Post, February 17, 1970

Editor's note: The following letter was written by Captain William H. Miller, Company Commander attached to the 25th U.S. Army Infantry Division, in Vietnam. Captain Miller sent the letter to his parents, who live in the Bridgeport area, and asked them to submit it to the Post for publication. The letter reads as follows:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I am writing to you today because I am terribly upset over the charges that have been made against Lt. William Calley. Nothing I can say will save that young man. He has been fed to the world--a goat, so to speak. What I want to say is difficult, for I have neither the command nor the knowledge of the English to express what I feel. Mylai is a village in Quang Nai province, in the north of South Vietnam. I have participated in many Mylai-type operations, where a lot of innocent civilians were killed. I feel guilty, certainly, but I can tell you without reservation that Mylai will continue to occur as long as our government continues to pursue the course of action that it has over the past 25 years. It is not the Lt. Calleys that are at fault. It is our people--our people. They sent us out to fight a war, and when we fight it, they criticize us for the way we fight that war. I am a veteran of four wars--Korea, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, and Vietnam, so I can speak with some authority on the subject of war. Together with the fact that I have some education in the processes of American politics, I am able to make some very pointed observations. War and domestic politics are as different as day and night. Let the military fight the wars, and let the politicans run the government, and ask not the butcher how he kills the pig, for he too has an unpleasant task. We in the military carry out orders for the President, who in turn takes his orders from the people. If you do not want any more Mylais, then get the troops out of Vietnam. If you want to secure this poor but humble country,

-395-

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