Thursday, May 06, 2004

Colin Powell on Larry King Live:

I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. So, in war these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they're still to be deplored.

He neglects to mention that while at that unit, bearing the grandiloquent title "deputy assistant chief of staff", he was asked to investigate a letter home from a soldier which referred to the massacre at My Lai, and produced a report which brushed it off as a blown-up account of "isolated instances" of trouble, despite which "relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese are excellent."

On Larry King, discussing recent events, he goes on:

It seems to be a limited number of soldiers who may have been involved in this, and they will be subject to the justice of the United States Army, and I'm confident that all the investigations that are now underway will find out who was responsible for what and justice will be served. So it's a fairly small number of soldiers.

Let's not let that take away from the magnificent contributions being made by most of our soldiers, the vast majority of our soldiers, who are building schools, repairing hospitals, who are defending themselves, going after the bad guys, but also putting in sewer systems for the people of Iraq.

And so while we deplore this, and while we are all stunned and shocked that our young people could do this, let's not forget what most of our young people are doing in service to the nation and in service to the Iraqi people.

Looks like the deputy assistant chief of staff was father to the Secretary of State.

One other Iraq-related item; I'll keep it brief since Avedon thinks I'm getting obsessed. The endless stream of stories about American troops using helpless captive Iraqis as playthings and worse is actually burying yet another scandal -- this one concerning Indian citizens who say they were held in forced servitude in Iraq, either by the army or its contractors...


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