American Sergeant murders Afghan civilians, including children

LarryC wrote:

InspectorFowler:

Actually, yes I would. If you're going to stick your nose into other people's lands, then your soldiers should abide by the local customs and laws if you want to really win them over; this includes turning over women offenders to crazy laws. Presumably, your military won't make the mistake of sending women into countries where their laws regarding women are crazy; at least not more than once.

"Reprimanding the woman for upsetting the locals" is just complete BS. Your own countrymen wouldn't stand for such treatment, if the US were ever occupied by a hostile foreign power. Why would you expect other peoples to take it any better?

The obvious answer is that you don't; you just don't give a damn about the sensibilities of conquered subhumans - which is exactly how suicide bombers are generated.

This would never work. Then your troops would be at the mercy of local laws which is insane. What if they passed a law saying no automatic weapons were allowed? Do you equip everyone with AR-15s? Of course not. This isn't to mention the morale issues associated with banning sex, booze, and Maxim magazines in certain countries, particularly on-base. Yes, we have to respect certain customs to work with the populace, but we also have to be Americans. I agree with InspectorFowler that soldiers of any nation are governed by that nation's laws. That isn't to say that they aren't held responsible for their actions. When we deploy our military, we are projecting force... it is an extenion of America. If other countries don't like it, then they should fight back harder.

Having said that, I completely agree that we need to get out of Afghanistan and should have never been there in force nor should we have been in Iraq. We need to start using sense when we deploy our military. But to handcuff our troops to local customs, especially on a base, is crazy.

Oso wrote:

I'm not convinced it is a black / white distinction, but at some point the final judgement on the Koran burning is going to come down to either incompetence or malice. So while I don't want to impugn the training and readiness of everyone serving, at some point defending that particular position turns into the Col. Nathan Jessup response.

Defending what position? I don't understand what you're getting at here.

Would you agree that, if America were ever invaded and occupied by Japan, that they are well within their rights to enforce a set of laws on you, and an entirely different set of laws on themselves? Isn't the right to representation and equality the very reason why you fought for independence?

The reply above is both very disturbing but also probably representative of how Americans think of foreigners at large.

"If they didn't want us to shoot them and rape their daughters, they should have fought harder."

Yeah.

How can you possibly wonder why people would want to suicide bomb your civilians?

I would say that an occupying force absolutely can enforce a different set of standards on an occupied populace than what they are held to. They have the guns, they have the power. Morally right doesn't enter into to it overly much. The fact is that Americans are one of the most benevalent (as a whole) occupying forces in all of human history. That's bonus. We don't tell the people how to worship or impose specific behaviors on them. We do make mistakes and sometimes exercise poor judgement, which is regrettable.

LarryC wrote:

InspectorFowler:

Actually, yes I would. If you're going to stick your nose into other people's lands, then your soldiers should abide by the local customs and laws if you want to really win them over;

Isn't that the "we had to destroy the village to save it" logic though, considering one of our goals was to change the local customs?

LarryC wrote:

Would you agree that, if America were ever invaded and occupied by Japan, that they are well within their rights to enforce a set of laws on you, and an entirely different set of laws on themselves? Isn't the right to representation and equality the very reason why you fought for independence?

Depends on what Japan's laws look like. Are you familiar with the American Civil War LarryC? With Reconstruction all the way up to Eisenhower deploying troops to the American South to enforce desegregation at the point of a bayonet? It might help shed some light on this issue if you were.

Think about it this way LarryC: let's say the American military in Afghanistan wasn't a professional state military, let's say it was a tribal militia. Do you think any Afghan warlord with the kind of firepower America has would ever hand over a member of his tribe to another tribe? I don't--he'd offer some goats or something in compensation as wereguild, but hand one of your folk over to some other tribe you could wipe from the face of the earth if you wanted to? I can't really see that happening.

CheezePavilion:

I'm not familiar with Afghan tribal practices.

That said, if it was one tribe holding power over another tribe, and a low-ranking military member of that tribe massacre'd civilians of the opposite tribe? Yeah, it's not unknown for a tribal warlord to just hand over that guy to the local guys, especially if he were trying to curry favor with the members of the other tribe.

In fact, there is a way to enforce differential laws between an occupying force and the civilian population and have it have a positive impact on the occupied, but only if the laws surrounding the military is more severe than the laws enforced on the locals. I think you're operating from a zeitgeist where a hostile occupying force always acts as a force of tyranny over the locals. How many times in history has this engendered a positive response from the locals?

Every occupying force is by definition a 'force of tyranny' in that they exist as a manifestation of the power of an arbitrary (to the locals) authority.

LarryC wrote:

CheezePavilion:

I'm not familiar with Afghan tribal practices.

Yet you're here telling us local customs and laws, and what those customs and laws require.

LarryC wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
LarryC wrote:

CheezePavilion:

I'm not familiar with Afghan tribal practices.

Yet you're here telling us local customs and laws, and what those customs and laws require.

I'm not. I'm simply saying that it would appropos to follow them. I'm not enforcing any detail here.

How can you tell if we're following them or not if you don't know what they are? Just because people are enraged doesn't mean they're enraged for a rational reason such as their local customs and laws not being applied.

CheezePavilion wrote:
LarryC wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
LarryC wrote:

CheezePavilion:

I'm not familiar with Afghan tribal practices.

Yet you're here telling us local customs and laws, and what those customs and laws require.

I'm not. I'm simply saying that it would appropos to follow them. I'm not enforcing any detail here.

How can you tell if we're following them or not if you don't know what they are? Just because people are enraged doesn't mean they're enraged for a rational reason such as their local customs and laws not being applied.

I'm willing to hazard the guess that it's not normal Afghan custom to ship their criminals to the American justice system for management.

CheezePavilion wrote:
LarryC wrote:

CheezePavilion:

I'm not familiar with Afghan tribal practices.

Yet you're here telling us local customs and laws, and what those customs and laws require.

I'm not. I'm simply saying that it would appropos to follow them. I'm not enforcing any detail here.

boogle:

Every occupying force is by definition a 'force of tyranny' in that they exist as a manifestation of the power of an arbitrary (to the locals) authority.

There's a considerable difference here. In American occupations, Americans dictate who gets to rule and how. In key areas, this is done even against local custom and beliefs, and often obviously for the good of American interests at the expense of the locals.

Moreover, occupying American forces do their fair share of normative looting and raping, and their respective punishments for these are often light to none, even as the locals are subjected to harsh occupation laws.

This cannot fail to elicit a hostile reaction from the population, even if it were inclined to be pro-American prior to occupation.

It's almost as if the purpose of these troops was to generate hate among the local population by design. It sounds insane, of course.

LarryC wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
LarryC wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:
LarryC wrote:

CheezePavilion:

I'm not familiar with Afghan tribal practices.

Yet you're here telling us local customs and laws, and what those customs and laws require.

I'm not. I'm simply saying that it would appropos to follow them. I'm not enforcing any detail here.

How can you tell if we're following them or not if you don't know what they are? Just because people are enraged doesn't mean they're enraged for a rational reason such as their local customs and laws not being applied.

I'm willing to hazard the guess that it's not normal Afghan custom to ship their criminals to the American justice system for management.

Well there's never been an American 'tribe' in Afghanistan until now.

It's a well known fact that American officers have been attending meetings with tribal leaders for quite some time now. The US presence there, even if I disagree with it, has even been agreed to buy the various jirgas over time. The issue isn't that the US isn't trying to follow Afghani customs and respect the locals. The issue is that we're also conducting a "war" and in that context innocent people are dying in horrific ways. Whether by a stray missile from a drone or from a rampage by a soldier.

LarryC, I really think we're coming at this from totally opposite views.

To me, the war in Afghanistan started out as a way to destroy an opposing government that was harboring terrorists who may have contributed to the 9-11 attacks. As I stated above, I don't feel it was a well-advised war, because the 9-11 attacks required funding and support from many states and organizations in the Islamic world, not just Afghanistan. A war isn't going to root them out. The Middle East is full of haves and have-nots, and Islam lends itself well to convincing the have-nots that religion is a great excuse to kill people. I'm not picking on Islam - I'm just saying that it's the current tool for creating people willing to die in the Middle East. We waltzed over there, full of rage about 9-11, and crush a government structure. That doesn't mean we did anything about the underlying roots of why people want to be in relatively extreme groups like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. We can't. It's not possible.

Once we had completed our initial assaults, however, and reduced the Taliban to hiding in remotes villages and caves, we didn't know what to do. Here we are with a country with little effective leadership and an opfor that is just ready to walk back in and take over the government as soon as the people with the better guns leave. It's like a dog that destroys a chew toy, and then sits there in the middle of the debris, a bit confused - what now?

So what you feel is that we're not an invading force - we're guests. I propose that you're wrong. We are de facto conquerors who refuse to actually conquer anything. We didn't ask if we could run a joint operation with Afghanistan to root out extremist elements, we bombed the hell out of them thinking we could stop terrorism. Winning hearts and minds has absolutely nothing to do with our actions up to this point - the whole "rebuilding schools and water plants" crap is just so the rest of the world doesn't hate us even more.

If Japan invaded, I would absolutely expect their soldiers to be above US law. In fact, I would expect them to completely replace US law. I don't expect armed invaders to show the slightest bit of courtesty. I would expect that my generation would hate them. I would expect that people would wage a campaign of violence against them for years. After 10-20 years, I would expect that the normal post-war stuff would take place: Soldiers would have American kids, the next generation of kids would have been listening to 2 decades of propaganda, etc, and the US would grudgingly become the New Japanese Empire or something.

I respect your opinion on this, but again - I think we just hold totally opposite views. I don't think an invading army has any reason to comply with local laws or customs, but I also don't think an army should be someplace unless they intend to actually invade. In my opinion, that is what is causing the friction right now.

LarryC wrote:
Boogle wrote:

Every occupying force is by definition a 'force of tyranny' in that they exist as a manifestation of the power of an arbitrary (to the locals) authority.

There's a considerable difference here. In American occupations, Americans dictate who gets to rule and how. In key areas, this is done even against local custom and beliefs, and often obviously for the good of American interests at the expense of the locals.

Moreover, occupying American forces do their fair share of normative looting and raping, and their respective punishments for these are often light to none, even as the locals are subjected to harsh occupation laws.

This cannot fail to elicit a hostile reaction from the population, even if it were inclined to be pro-American prior to occupation.

It's almost as if the purpose of these troops was to generate hate among the local population by design. It sounds insane, of course.

Even if they completely followed the customs of the locals, it is arbitrary power due to it being an invading and occupying force and therefore by definition tyrannical.

I agree with you that there are 3 ways to deal with your enemies during war (according to Bismarck):
1.) Treat them kindly (See Austro-Prussian war)
2.) Annihalte them to remove any further threat (Scippio Africanus on Carthage in the second punic war, specifically right after Zama)
3.) Be a dick but let them stick around (Franco-Prussian war. We all saw how that played out)

ABC says that the accused is a former member of the financial services industry that one couple said swindled them out of cash. Wild.

Funkenpants wrote:

ABC says that the accused is a former member of the financial services industry that one couple said swindled them out of cash. Wild.

That is so strange I thought you had posted in the wrong thread.

So this guy has now come to represent the attrocities of war, the evil of the finance industry... What's next? They'll discover he assisted in abortions and smuggled illegal immigrants into the US?

Kehama wrote:

So this guy has now come to represent the attrocities of war, the evil of the finance industry... What's next? They'll discover he assisted in abortions and smuggled illegal immigrants into the US?

The bigger surprise is that he ended up in the military. Doesn't he know that being a corrupt financier gets you a bailout and a bonus?

In all seriousness, I was saddened, but not surprised that the name of the soldier along with his wife's name, her blog and the fact that he has 2 kids was reported on so quickly. I can only imagine what that family is going through right now what with all of the random commentary they're going to have directed at them now. I'm sure they're getting equal parts support for what they're going through, threats because of what the husband/father did, or god help us, people even congratulating them for what he did. If I were them I'd be trying to crawl off the face of the planet right now.

Sgt. Bales wife's statement about the crimes was very well spoken, I thought.

Kehama wrote:

I can only imagine what that family is going through right now what with all of the random commentary they're going to have directed at them now.

It won't last long. Something else will come along to break the media focus within a few days.

So now there's reports coming out that Bales actually wasn't a lone gunman and that the killings were done by a group of 15-20 Americans.

OG_slinger wrote:

So now there's reports coming out that Bales actually wasn't a lone gunman and that the killings were done by a group of 15-20 Americans.

That's not good.

OG_slinger wrote:

So now there's reports coming out that Bales actually wasn't a lone gunman and that the killings were done by a group of 15-20 Americans.

That's gonna get buried... lone crazy gunman.. ok.. planned attack by a whole group of soldiers? yikes.

TheGameguru wrote:

That's gonna get buried... lone crazy gunman.. ok.. planned attack by a whole group of soldiers? yikes.

Why? We already have a host of examples of how groups of American soldiers have done terrible things to civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's really asking people to suspend their disbelief to say that a single American managed to travel several miles to three separate villages in what is essentially considered hostile country and kill people in different houses.

If the goal of your presence there is to permanently instill a hatred for your country in their cultural heritage for all time, you guys are doing a great job.

There doesn't seem to be any hard evidence to support a group attack though. A man says "they" killed his uncle, and says they came through a field of wheat, that there were many footprints and that villagers have seen them. But if people saw a group, where are the interviews with those people? The group that killed the man's uncle, if the man interviewed was a direct witness, why didn't he say how many men were there?

OG_slinger wrote:

It's really asking people to suspend their disbelief to say that a single American managed to travel several miles to three separate villages in what is essentially considered hostile country and kill people in different houses.

According to Wiki's summary, which I assume is based on news articles:

Afghan forces spotted him leaving his outpost before the killings and U.S. commanders on base assembled their troops for a head count when it was discovered that the soldier was missing. A patrol was dispatched to find the missing soldier; it did not find him until the soldier turned himself in at the base after the killings.

It's early in the investigations, and people are going to distrust anything connected with the U.S. military, but it doesn't sound like a group of soldiers was missing from the base.