The court-martial and premeditated murder conviction of First Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., for his participation in the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968, was one of the most controversial criminal trials, either military or civilian, in the history of this nation. Although the trial brought to the surface many troubling aspects of this country's conduct of the Vietnam War, the primary focus of the controversy centered on the question of whether an American soldier should be held criminally accountable for his participation in the mass execution of unarmed and unresisting men, women, children and babies taken captive by him during the course of a military operation, if he did so in obedience to orders from a superior officer.
Aubrey M. Daniel III,
The Defense of Superior Orders,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
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