My Khe village is near My Lai, where a massacre perpetrated by US forces on March 16th, 1968 cost the lives of over 500 innocent men, women and children. The following clip with journalist Seymour Hersh gives details about the incident. He also speaks of the brutality that dehumanization and conformity allows, the impact of the repression of memories, and the utter lack of authority in war--many of the same themes O'Brien deals with in the book.
When asked if there had been similar My Lai style massacres that were unreported, Hersh says, "It turns out another unit of the same task force to which Charlie Company was attached — it was called Task Force Barker — I think there were three companies — they ended up killing over a hundred people, innocent civilians in a village a couple of miles away or less — My Khe 4, My Khe-something, whatever it was called. And so, clearly, you had a pattern of very wild, indiscriminant fire."
O'Brien's platoon had previously been involved in the My Lai massacre.