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My Lai Massacre

            I think that socialization played a big part in the My Lai Massacre. Socialization is defined as the process of learning the culture. During the Vietnam War, the majority of men who were fighting had been drafted. They didn"t choose to be a part of this war, they were required to be. I"m sure these men were concerned about surviving than fighting for their country's cause. These drafted men were taught in a short time what was expected of them and were trained for combat. Even though they were told what to expect, it is unlikely that this training really prepared them for what they were about to face.
             When these men were sent over to Vietnam, they had to learn to function in a completely different culture. Which is exactly what socialization is defined as: learning the culture. They had to learn what was expected of them by their significant others, which would be their superior officers. They also had to perform under the pressures of the society around them, or the generalized other. In Vietnam, I think that the significant others and the generalized other were asking completely different things of the troops. Society is asking for a somewhat civilized degree of war, which means that the killing of civilians, especially the killing of women, children, and the elderly is most definitely not appropriate. While on the opposite side of the spectrum the troop's superior officers were ordering a "search and destroy" mission. In other words, the troops had orders to destroy everything in their path. The troops were torn with doing what their instincts told them was right (which were instincts learned as a part of socialization growing up in America) and doing what their superior officers were ordering them to do. The end result was a massacre of unarmed civilians.
             In the article it said, "A military commission investigating the My Lai Massacre found widespread failures of leadership, discipline, and morale among the Army's fighting units.

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