American Sergeant murders Afghan civilians, including children

Quintin_Stone wrote:

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?

Those are all wonderful questions that the media should be asking the military instead of just repeating what some Pentagon spokesperson says. Where are the transcripts of the interviews US forces supposedly conducted? Who did their investigators talk to? How long did they spend investigating?

I doubt that the US forces could even conduct a real investigation considering they are essentially viewed as hostile occupiers, they don't speak the local language, and that anyone they talk to is likely (and rightly) terrified of anyone in an American uniform.

The fact that the military waited six days before releasing Bales name so they could have enough time to try and scrub all mentions of him from the Internet, that they just discovered that 17, not 16, people were killed, and that two days of investigation and questioning by Afghan parliament investigators determined that multiple Americans were involved tells me that the US military's version of the story isn't what really happened.

LarryC wrote:

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.

Which is precisely why this is a no-win scenario. Every accidental death is exponentially worse than any good that could come from us being there.

LarryC wrote:

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.

Can I ask what country you're from?

I'm wondering if a hundred years from now medical experts will look back at this and see how primitive our reactions are, in the same way we look at the British Army whipping soldiers for "laziness" in hot climates when in reality they were suffering from heat stroke. Maybe when we know more about brain injuries, we'll realize that these sort of situations would be inevitable without better treatment.

On the other hand, Sgt Bales has a history of domestic violence and drinking problems, including a probable rollover accident after a drinking binge (he fled the scene so it was never proven that he was drunk, but cm'on). So it's hard to separate how much of this is mental illness and how much is deep character flaws.

jdzappa wrote:

I'm wondering if a hundred years from now medical experts will look back at this and see how primitive our reactions are, in the same way we look at the British Army whipping soldiers for "laziness" in hot climates when in reality they were suffering from heat stroke. Maybe when we know more about brain injuries, we'll realize that these sort of situations would be inevitable without better treatment.

On the other hand, Sgt Bales has a history of domestic violence and drinking problems, including a probable rollover accident after a drinking binge (he fled the scene so it was never proven that he was drunk, but cm'on). So it's hard to separate how much of this is mental illness and how much is deep character flaws.

I have a friend who served in the USMC in combat roles, and he suffers from PTSD. He hides it well, and he is very unlikely to have any kind of incident. But nonetheless, there are neurological triggers hidden deep in his brain that cause stress reactions even in very pleasant conditions sometimes.

I think that given a different moral character for him, and the same stresses that current soldiers face, I could see him developing a mental illness wherein he blamed the culture and people of Afghanistan for his problems. "If these f***ing people weren't like this, I could go home." or "They'll never change, so I'll never leave. We'd have to kill them all to win this war."

OG_slinger wrote:

The fact that the military waited six days before releasing Bales name so they could have enough time to try and scrub all mentions of him from the Internet, that they just discovered that 17, not 16, people were killed...

The counting confusion now seems more understandable:

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States military has charged Staff Sgt. Robert Bales with murder for the death of the unborn baby of one of the victims, a senior Afghan police official said on Monday.

That would explain the discrepancy between American and Afghan officials over whether Sergeant Bales killed 17 Afghan civilians, according to the military’s formal charges, or 16, the number of dead according to Afghan officials.

Update- Story changes.

Funkenpants wrote:

The counting confusion now seems more understandable:

Really? I would think that if a real investigation had been done, part of which would have been to examine the bodies, it would have become instantly clear that one of the victims had been pregnant. Now I'm doubting the military's story even more.

OG_slinger wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:

The counting confusion now seems more understandable:

Really? I would think that if a real investigation had been done, part of which would have been to examine the bodies, it would have become instantly clear that one of the victims had been pregnant. Now I'm doubting the military's story even more.

It's an afghan who mentioned the pregnancy.

But confusion over differences in the number of dead — Sergeant Bales’s charge sheet from the United States military lists 17, while Afghan officials list 16 — continued on Monday. Early in the day, an Afghan police official in Kandahar Province, where the killings took place, said the 17th victim could be accounted for because a pregnant woman was among the dead. But he later retracted that assertion, and American military officials restated that their investigation showed evidence for 17 murder charges.

How do we even know that Americans had the bodies to autopsy? Regardless, you're free to believe anything you want. It's Afghanistan. All kinds of awful stuff happens there that we will never know about.

Funkenpants wrote:

How do we even know that Americans had the bodies to autopsy?

Can't do much of an investigation if you don't even bother to look at the bodies, now can you?

It is entirely possible local custom prevented it.

It would be useful, but how do you know we had permission to take them and refused?

We're occupiers, Funken. We don't need permission for anything. Just like we've kept reporters and investigators away from the civilians who were wounded in the attack.

It's just terribly strange that we supposedly have enough evidence to say that one and only one American was involved and yet it's abundantly clear that we didn't examine the bodies for evidence that would support that conclusion. Simple ballistics tests would show whether one gun or multiple guns were involved.

Either way, the military has proven it can't be trusted when it comes to things like this. There have been too many instances of American soldiers doing horrible things to the people they're supposedly there to liberate and protect. In every case the brass and the institution itself has lied and tried to cover it up.

A thought: could this guy be a whistleblower they're trying to pin to the wall?

Malor wrote:

A thought: could this guy be a whistleblower they're trying to pin to the wall?

Probably not.

Think of the logistics. You need a team of people to kill these victims, somehow never be seen as more than one person, cook up a feasible story, etc.

Then you need all those people to never, ever, ever, ever talk.

Conspiracy theories can usually be shot down pretty easily just by pointing out the general incompetence of human beings. Somebody always talks - somebody always screws up some evidence - somebody always leaves some detail unattended to.

I leave open the more realistic possibility that there was more than one suspect, and they FUBARed the investigation so badly that this was the only guy they could catch, and they're gonna pin it all on him so they don't have to admit there was a small squad of guys.

Hell, I'm still open to the idea that this guy might have done the whole job himself, but he'll walk because they screwed up the investigation.

Yeah, that makes more sense, I think you're right.

This was sort of being sold as a guy with a traumatic brain injury might have snapped and done something horrible. If this turns out to be something more than that, or that several were involved.....God what a horror show. He/they killed children. I don't care how much you hate the men in a country, you've got to go WAY off the reservation to shoot a sleeping child.

Bear wrote:

This was sort of being sold as a guy with a traumatic brain injury might have snapped and done something horrible. If this turns out to be something more than that, or that several were involved.....God what a horror show. He/they killed children. I don't care how much you hate the men in a country, you've got to go WAY off the reservation to shoot a sleeping child.

Read Caputo's A Rumor of War (Thanks milkman). It's surprisingly feasible given the nature of a counter insurgency.

InspectorFowler wrote:
Malor wrote:

A thought: could this guy be a whistleblower they're trying to pin to the wall?

Probably not.

Think of the logistics. You need a team of people to kill these victims, somehow never be seen as more than one person, cook up a feasible story, etc.

Then you need all those people to never, ever, ever, ever talk.

Give it a couple of years and we'll know for sure, for the reasons InspectorFowler mentioned. It's always a possibility. You'd have to be absolutely moronic and utterly heartless to try... but that's not stopped anyone before. (Note, not casting aspirations on the whole Armed Forces, not by a damned sight. However, there's always people dumb enough to try, no matter where you are.)

InspectorFowler wrote:

Think of the logistics. You need a team of people to kill these victims, somehow never be seen as more than one person, cook up a feasible story, etc.

Then you need all those people to never, ever, ever, ever talk.

Then again, the military has a significant number of highly trained people who are very experienced and very reliable at keeping their mouths shut. If anyone could do it, they could. I don't think they did, simply because the guy going nuts is a much simpler and more plausible explanation. Not to mention that even SEALs or Delta would likely balk at deliberately killing kids and pregnant women, or using their bodies to cover up something else.

Without going back over the thread, wasn't there a video of the guy turning himself in at the base or was that just an eyewitness report? Putting the gun down, raising hands in surrender, etc.

Kehama wrote:

Without going back over the thread, wasn't there a video of the guy turning himself in at the base or was that just an eyewitness report? Putting the gun down, raising hands in surrender, etc.

Not one which was publicly released. There are reports from Afghanistan that the US military showed Afghans a video of that.