Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hugh Thompson- Hero, Role Model, Rebel


Talk about the ultimate unholy trio of overused, overrated buzz words in existence- made only the worse (if humanly possible) by using them in tandem! Yet, there is no question that Hugh Thompson owns the whole lot in every way imaginable for the actions he executed one insanely murderous day in Viet Nam. Namely, it was his direct involvement that prevented even more people from being butchered that infamous afternoon in 1968 at a hamlet called My Lai. And it was his basic sense of common decency that ignited his moral outrage into action- not the wanton blood lust of a rampaging Rambo, but the righteous indignation that allows someone to assume the role of one who saves lives, no matter the cost.

Thompson was the man responsible for turning US arms in the direction of... US troops, and threatening to shoot them down should they advance to kill one more baby, one more innocent human being. With the temporary cessation of the slaughter, he then went about rescuing whoever was still alive, reporting what he had seen, and in so doing so, possibly saving countless other innocent lives in similar operations to come.

He received many a death threat (and many a dead animal on his doorstep) for his courage to speak out; and his partner revealed that his four crashes in the following two months after My Lai may have not all been attributable to the Viet Cong. Ironically, it was Thompson who proved that at least some Americans were, in fact, still the good guys- by his ability to think beyond the myopic xenophobia of "My country, right or wrong," by his willingness to call out Nazi atrocities, no matter who conducted them. Rather than shirk from a showdown with authority, as had innumerable others who diligently murdered with military approval (and dutifully remained silent)- he made it live up to its stated moral obligation.

This humble helicopter pilot, who a whole nation should look up to with pride, has no streets or schools, stadiums or ships named after him, there are no statues standing nobly in his honor. And Clint Eastwood will never have the balls to make a movie about him- but he damn well should, someone should...

4 comments:

Eric Rose said...

It still boggles my mind that American troops could snap like that. Absolutely horrid. What was even more atrocious were the attempts to cover it up. Great piece Stan.

jurassicpork said...

Hear, hear. I've always looked up to this man as one of the greatest heroes this nation ever produced. His role in stopping the My Lai massacre proves that sometimes it takes more courage to NOT kill than it does to kill.

Stan B. said...

War IS Insanity.

The final straw being when you find out that the very "cause" you're fighting for, risking your life for is a complete lie and joke. Once you know your own life is being sacrificed for one sad joke- the lives in front of you certainly don't rate...

Stan B. said...

That he is JP, that he is!

And while we honor, praise and immortalize those who've killed "for their country," and excuse those who murder for it, those who save innocent lives tend to be forgotten, if ever mentioned.