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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
The lessons of Vietnam
Vietnam hero, Hugh Thompson, gives his views of the behaviour of troops at the Abu Ghraib jail.

In a HARDtalk interview on 26 May, Tim Sebastian talks to Vietnam veteran, Hugh Thompson.

The much vilified conduct of American troops at the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq has brought back memories of other times when the US military has acted less than honourably.

The My Lai Massacre in Vietnam when American soldiers killed defenceless women and children is a shameful episode in American military history.

Hugh Thompson was a helicopter pilot who went to the rescue of the trapped villagers, ordering his gun crew to train their guns on the US soldiers, and risking his own life, in an effort to halt the slaughter.

His actions were heroism of the highest order but for 30 years he remained unrecognised by his own Government and the American people, unwilling to believe what their own troops had been capable of.

Tim Sebastian talks to Hugh Thompson about why professional troops from democratic countries commit barbarous acts and what lessons can be learned from his own experience.

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 23:30 GMT

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30


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