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Military Law and the Law of War Review





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The spring of 1993 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the My Lai Massacre. As such, it is an appropriate time to seriously revisit the event and to reinforce the lessons learned. The antithesis of the conduct of the United States Military in the Gulf War, My Lai echoes back to a nightmarish event that most Americans would like to forget. But My Lai must never be forgotten.

To a large degree, from Grenada (1983) to Panama (1989) to the Gulf War (1991), the United States Military can take full credit for a commendable record in its adherence to the law of war because of its commitment to institutionalizing the lessons learned from My Lai. It is precisely because of its horror and repulsiveness that My Lai is uniquely suited to serve as the primary vehicle to address the entire issue of adherence to the law of war as well as the necessity for effective leadership in the modern era. Accordingly, every American soldier must understand the significance of the lessons learned at My Lai and steadfastly keep them in his consciousness.

Recommended Citation

Jeffrey F. Addicott, The Lessons of My Lai, 31 Mil. L. & L. War Rev. 73 (1992).

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