This is one of the saddest things that you would ever want to read.
Via the Washington Post:
AT JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WASH. The U.S. soldiers hatched a plan as simple as it was savage: to randomly target and kill an Afghan civilian, and to get away with it.
For weeks, according to Army charging documents, rogue members of a platoon from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, floated the idea. Then, one day last winter, a solitary Afghan man approached them in the village of La Mohammed Kalay. The “kill team” activated the plan.
One soldier created a ruse that they were under attack, tossing a fragmentary grenade on the ground. Then others opened fire.
According to charging documents, the unprovoked, fatal attack on Jan. 15 was the start of a months-long shooting spree against Afghan civilians that resulted in some of the grisliest allegations against American soldiers since the U.S. invasion in 2001. Members of the platoon have been charged with dismembering and photographing corpses, as well as hoarding a skull and other human bones.
The subsequent investigation has raised accusations about whether the military ignored warnings that the out-of-control soldiers were committing atrocities. The father of one soldier said he repeatedly tried to alert the Army after his son told him about the first killing, only to be rebuffed.
Two more slayings would follow. Military documents allege that five members of the unit staged a total of three murders in Kandahar province between January and May. Seven other soldiers have been charged with crimes related to the case, including hashish use, attempts to impede the investigation and a retaliatory gang assault on a private who blew the whistle.
Army officials have not disclosed a motive for the killings and macabre behavior. Nor have they explained how the attacks could have persisted without attracting scrutiny. They declined to comment on the case beyond the charges that have been filed, citing the ongoing investigation.
But a review of military court documents and interviews with people familiar with the investigation suggest the killings were committed essentially for sport by soldiers who had a fondness for hashish and alcohol.
The accused soldiers, through attorneys and family members, deny wrongdoing. But the case has already been marked by a cycle of accusations and counter-accusations among the defendants as they seek to pin the blame on each other, according to documents and interviews.
The Army has scheduled pre-trial hearings in the case this fall at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, home of the Stryker brigade. (The unit was renamed the 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, when it returned from Afghanistan in July.) Military officials say privately that they worry the hearings will draw further attention to the case, with photos and other evidence prompting anger among the Afghan civilians whose support is critical to the fight against the Taliban.
This article is a seriously interesting read; so I will ask you, please head on over at read the rest of it.
Now, if I were a committed Neo-Conservative; like many of the Bloggers on the right, I would say something to the effect of, “Oh, this is just liberal, anti-war propaganda!” If I were a committed Paleo-Conservative, I would say something to the effect of, “See? This is what happens when you go to war! See? See? See?”
Fortunately, I am not committed to either of those positions really.
One of the worst assumptions, that a person can make about the Military, is that every person that volunteers for service; is going to be an honest, upstanding person. There are people out there, which are just hell bent on breaking rules. Only difference is, these people were wearing our Military uniforms when doing so. Could this crime cause problems for us down the road? Maybe. There could be blowback later on. I hope that not — but it does happen.
I do not claim to know the motives for this crime; all I can really do is speculate. One could blame the euphoria after 9/11; one could blame the kids for their desire to kill people. All of that really does not matter; all that matters now is, that there are dead afghans, who really had nothing to do with 9/11, and officers from our Military killed them, for sport. That is a real problem, when it comes to trying to get Afghans to trust us, so that we can make gains with Taliban and ultimately kill or capture the members of Al-Qaeda.
War is a game, a game of strategy; like chess. The problem is the pieces of that game are real human lives on the line. The bad part is this, these idiots, in their moronic desire to kill —- just kicked the damn chess game over. Now, the Military leaders have to upright the game, and hopefully no pieces — or lives — get lost in the process. It is a job and a responsibility that can make even the most steel-nerved person into a bumbling, pill-popping wreck. Another thing is this is not 24 hours news cycle, news sound bite, work. It is long, tedious work, and it can wear the strongest of them down quick.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are involved in this situation, at all levels. My Prayers go out to the Soldiers who are in the Afghan Theater fighting what the liberals used to call, “The good war.” God be with them.