Whereas, William Calley… Austin . The Texas Senate has passed a resolution advocating a full pardon for Lt. William Calley. The resolution states that Calley was “this dedicated military leader” whose “only crime was that of putting the lives of the men in his troops ahead of those of the enemy.” It says “that the conviction of Lieutenant Calley is one of the gravest injustices ever to be perpetrated” and that the conviction is “a true disgrace” to the country and the Army. It says that the Texas Legislature believes that Calley “should be granted a full pardon immediately.” After a four and a half month trial, six military men convicted Calley of the premeditated murder of 22 unresisting men, women, and children. He was found guilty of standing over a ditch containing unresisting men, women, and children and firing bullets from an automatic weapon into them. This was one way in which the Jews were killed by Hitler’s troops. RESOLUTIONS passed by the Texas legislature usually mean nothing. This one is different. Consider the significance if the Legislature of a German state had passed a resolution calling for a full pardon for someone convicted by a German military court of doing to Jews in a ditch what Calley did to Vietnamese in a ditch. The Calley resolution was introduced in the Texas Senate by Sen. Jim Bates of Edinburg and ten other members of the 31-member Senate. One amendment, by Sen. Mike McKool, Dallas, was approved. McKool’s amendment added the eighth and ninth paragraphs of the resolution as adopted. Other amendments were defeated. Here is part of the text of the resolutiOn as amended and then adopted by the Texas Senate: Whereas, Americans throughout this great land and those stationed with our armed forces in the defense of liberty across the seas were appalled at the confiction by a court-martial jury of Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., who had been charged with mass murder at My Lai on March 16, 1968; and . Whereas, To those patriots who have served this nation in war and in peace, it was a great shock that this man, this dedicated military leader, should have been deprived of his honor and his career when his only crime was that of putting the lives of the men in his troops ahead of those of the enemy; and .. . Whereas, Many times in the glorious history of this country in all our wars the identity of the enemy has been difficult to 12 The Texas Observer Observations establish; this was true in our own Civil War, in the Spanish-American War and, more recently, in the Korean conflict; even more is it true in the jungles of Vietnam, where the Viet Cong. blood brothers of our fighting comrades the South Vietnamese, penetrate the ranks and villages of those we call friends. only to kill at the first opportunity; in South Vietnam the perimeter of defense cannot be established; and . Whereas, Lieutenant Calley served our country with dignity while men who have refused to be inducted into the service have not been convicted and are allowed to stay in this country, stirring up trouble, defaming the flag; and . Whereas, Many members of the Texas Legislature have served in our country’s wars and we know that innocent people have died in the past. Look at Hiroshima! But war is never pretty, and those who force it on us cannot expect it to be; and . . . Whereas, It is the firm belief of the 62nd Legislature of the State of Texas that the conviction of Lieutenant Calley is one of the gravest injustices ever to be perpetrated; his conviction, if allowed to stand, will be a detriment to our country and the armed forces who defend it that cannot be overcome; therefore be it Resolved, By the Senate of the State of Texas, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Legislature of the State of Texas hereby go on record in condemnation of the conviction of Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., believing it to be a true disgrace to the United States of America as a whole and to the United States Army in particular; and, be it further Resolved, That the Texas Legislature join the many thousands of Americans who firmly believe that Lieutenant William L. Calley, Jr., should be granted a full pardon immediately, so that he can live with dignity and honor in the land of the free and the home of the brave. The official Senate journal for April 1st shows that the resolution was introduced by Bates and by Sens. William Moore, Bryan; Henry Grover, Houston; H. J. “Doc” Blanchard, Lubbock; 0. H. “Ike” Harris, Dallas; Wayne Connally, Floresville; Ralph Hall, Rockwall; James P. Wallace, Houston; Murray Watson, Mart; W. E. Snelson, Midland, and Glenn Kothmann, San Antonio. The decision to consider it immediately was made by a vote of 21 to 2. Don Kennard, Fort Worth, and A. R. “Babe” Schwartz, Galveston, voted no. Those voting with the eleven sponsors to consider it at once without a committee hearing were Sens. A. M. Aikin, Paris; Lindley Beckworth, Longview; Chet Brooks, Pasadena; Roy Harrington, Port Arthur; Jack Hightower, Vernon; Barbara Jordan, Houston; McKool; Bill Patman, Ganado; Max Sherman, Amarillo; and Charles Wilson, Lufkin. Brooks sought to strike the last paragraph that advocates a full pardon for Calley and replace this with wording that would have advocated considering granting him a full pardon. This was defeated 18-6. Those voting against killing Brooks’ motion were Sens. Ronald Bridges, Corpus Christi, Brooks, Jordan, Kennard, Schwartz and Sherman. Sens. Bernal, Christie, Creighton, Herring, Mauzy, Ratliff and Word were absent this day. After the defeat of the Brooks admendment, Harrington, who had voted against the amendment, was granted permission to leave for the rest of the day. Schwartz then offered an amendment to strike all the language before the last paragraph and to substitute for the stricken language, language expressing sorrow about the incidents leading to Calley’s trial and ‘conviction. This would have left in the language calling for a full pardon. The Schwartz amendment was passed by voice vote, but was reconsidered, 18-5, and then defeated. Of the six who voted for the Brooks amendment, all but Sherman voted with Schwartz. Sherman voted against Schwartz. The Schwartz amendment was then killed by voice vote. The resolution in its entirety was then passed by voice vote. T. GOV. BEN Barnes said he would have voted favorably for the resolution that the Senate adopted. Barnes was so quoted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Austin American the following morning. The debate lasted two and a half hours and was passionate. As this Observer went to press, a hearing on a companion resolution and related resolutions was scheduled for a House committee. William Calley, found guilty of mass murdering 22 men, women, and children, is a scapegoat. A scapegoat is one upon whome the sins of the people have been symbolically laid, one who is blamed or punished for the sins of others. There is, however, a difference between an innocent scapegoat and a guilty one. If there is evil in action, what Calley did is evil. His sentence to life imprisonment is proper and justified. The deep shock is that there should be any need to say so. It would be a mistake to misapprehend the people because some of the media said they reacted on Calley’s side. A Gallup poll for Newsweek right after.
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