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Saturday, October 1, 2016

As the trial begins for the “kill team” — U.S. Army soldiers who allegedly deliberately murdered and mutilated Afghan civilians — Americans should consider what exactly is being done in our name overseas, and what can be done to prevent future abuses.

Five soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 5th Stryker Brigade are charged with killing three Afghan civilians for sport and then making them appear to be enemy combatants in 2010. The alleged torture, murder, and mutilation were outlined in a Rolling Stone article by Mark Boal in March, accompanied by graphic photos. The military is holding a court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who is accused of planning and encouraging the crimes.

  • medinabrit

    Who was really the savage? How soon we forgot the Calley incident.

  • VlastaMolak

    This just shows how advanced American military is. Compare this with any other group of men with weapons! There are sociopaths in any population as large as American military in Afghanistan and thus one can expect that some of those would commit those murders. However, the very fact that the military is not trying to hush this but had brought thsoe soldiers who committed murders in front of tribunes, speaks volumes of the nature of the American military presence in Afghanistan.

  • haklerherr

    War is brutal. War allows the brutality that some soldiers feel to come to the surface. Especially a war where your enemy does not wear a soldier’s uniform and dresses like all of the other noncombatants. In Afghanistan the Afghan’s are extremely brutal to each other especially the enemy who will blow up and shoot any one who happens to be present then they engage in battle. The American soldiers should be court-martialled as should Afghan military personal who commit brutality towards noncombatants. The Taliban terrorists who kill and threaten non-combatants should also be brought to justice. Instead of just pointing out the brutality of a few NATO and US soldiers, the Afghan government should be speaking against all brutality within his country and clean up his military forces also.

    Brutality breeds brutality and sends the message that it is ok to be brutal. I know in war it is impossible to kill humanely. All war is brutal. All armies want to convey the message to their enemies that it is better to run away than to stand and fight and when the enemy runs than they decimate them so they will fight no more.

    But no army should be brutal to noncombatants especially when they are not in battle.

  • haklerherr

    Many soldiers are afraid of seeking mental health help because they are afraid of the consequences. They fear that the problems they are diagnosed with will go on to a permanent record that will follow them the rest of their lives. They fear that when they apply for any job for the rest of their lives they will have to report that they were treated for a mental illness and it will not matter if it was caused by combat in military service to their country. They fear that it may get them discharged from the military if they wish to make the military their career or that they will be relieved from duty. It could hurt advancement within the service. Seeking help also makes them appear weak and not in control. If laws are passed to make military mental health treatment confidential than companies may fear to hire any military vet because they fear their may be an undisclosed mental problem that may come to light and affect their business.

    These problems have to be solved so that any soldier does not fear to seek mental health counseling because it will have a negative effect on their future.

  • tem1953

    least we forget the beheadings afgans are responsible for.
    I say forgive and forget-free then now.

  • Douglas

    Aren’t our soldiers over there being coerced to kill. Our country won’t get our soldiers out of this nightmarish war. By the way’ aren’t Afgan civilians the ones deploying IEDs and attacking our soldiers with car bombs? You can’t have it both ways. We are over there to murder.

  • buzzquick

    This type of behavior will set back the good work being done by a decade. Trying to convince the civilian population that we are there to build schools, clinics, and create a mutual trusting atmosphere. Remember we are there to eradicate the suppresssing enemy, and help them to move forward towards independence.

  • SJolly

    Unless unacceptable behavior, such as brutality towards civilians, is punished, it becomes effectively acceptable. “Forget and forgive” equals “It’s OK.” The Rules of War were formulated for good reason: all-out, nothing forbidden, warfare will turn productive regions into uninhabited wastelands.

  • Peter

    This horrible incident is simply the result of recruiting, training and sending immature young people into an insane environment. I mean no offense to the many well trained professionals who represent our country in the military, but too many of those who are sent to patrol places like the Afgan neighborhoods are too young to really understand empathy for other human beings and are only interested in the perceived adventure and excitment of war. There should be a much higher age limit on those who are given weapons and sent to potentially kill others.

  • Carolyn

    The people ( President and Congresspersons) we have elected to embrace and uphold the enlightened values of our founding fathers have failed to embody these principles. Our excuses for going to war are self-serving, not to extend the principles of our founders. Revenge and secrect plots and occupation of other lands are not legitimate reasons for the devastation of planet earth and its people, in war. Our purpose in going to war does not have the ring of truth that inspires righteous behavior, the honoring of life, on the part of some — certainly not all — of our servicemen, all of whom are risking their lives on our behalf.

  • jose lafaurie

    I remember the Congressional questioning of Col. Oliver North and his most expressed answer: Oliver North, Colonel, United States Marine Corps, his dog tag ID number and a blank stare at the questioning Congressmen. I do not know if it was just I, who understood the meaning of his answer, I am a soldier, I follow orders and if you want to truly find the truth of the matter, go above me as high as you can get. I did not place my self there, I was sent there with specific or broad instructions to accomplish a mission. War is not civilized and only those who are sitting behind the desk, plotting the next move, without regards for the human being that is on the ground, accomplishing the task he plotted, can later judge the actions taken, based on the fact that he was not there, as an atrocity. It may well be, but only those who have been there can actually come close to the truth. None of us know what we will do when our life is at stake and our adrenaline is running amok in our system, by the time you wake up or are in control of your senses the deeds are done. But honestly, even though you see what you have done, and even yourself know that it may have been an overkill, the fact that I was taught that a good soldier does not die for his country, he makes the other s.o.b. die for his, the fact that I did not come here to do this, I was sent here to do this, to kill those who oppose the way my country believes, that my dear readers is why our soldiers are there, to impose our morality and our way of thinking on others, while we rape the riches and natural resources of the losing side. What we must realize is that WAR is not the answer, WAR is nor civilized, WAR is not gallant, every act of heroism is an act of insanity, if you follow the existing definitions of sanity and insanity. Why is it that every pilot that ever drop a bomb on a country, at war with his, is not tried for atrocities against the enemy?. When that bomb falls it does not know the difference between soldier or civilian. Why is it that the commander in chief is not tried? The pilot is only following orders from him.
    The only judgement here should be against WAR, we must commit ourselves not to authorize our government to engage our military in WARs so easily.
    Who was responsible for the damage done to Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    the pilot who dropped it or the people who authorize it?
    WE THE PEOPLE are the only ones responsible for the actions of our soldiers in battle, for we placed them there to do our dirty work in the first place.

  • Duffy

    Murder is murder! But as someone noted the blame also lies with the Chain of Command. As the platoon sergeant of an infantry platoon in Vietnam, I always tought my men that harming a civilian was a big NO, NO. The platoon sergeant and the platoon leader are responsible for stopping this sort of thing. A platoon sergeant i teaches his men that if they harm a civilian they will be court-Marti led. An NCO (Noncommissioned officer) should know the young kids in his platoon are usually right from their mothers’ apron strings. He gets them clean, and it is his duty to send them back to their families clean, with no damage to their mental health. When soldiers who have raped or murdered go home they are going back into the home town population. Now, who wants a murderer or rapist living next door to them?

    Another aspect of it is when such crimes are committed it is bad for the morale of the platoon and the entire company. When a crazy commits a cold blooded crime, the other men, who are generally God fearing, feel stained by the act they have always considered horrendous.

    On my first tour of duty in Vietnam, we had a man in our company who saw an old man and old woman, coming out of a hut in a village we were sweeping through, He shot both of them in cold blood. The soldier was a new man that had just joined the company. The company commander had him taken from the field immediately and sent to a psycho ward. True, the strict rules of engagement were not followed by these men, but there is plenty of blame by officers and NCOs who fail to do their duty.

  • Peter

    Our military should not be taking young (clean) kids and turning them into killing machines. Because of the world we currently live in, it is important that we have a military with people that are willing to actually kill another person when told to do so for reasonable and justifiable reasons, but we need these people to be highly trained, mature and thoughtful adults who have demonstrated a real understanding and empathy for their fellow man. Taking another human’s life for a thrill is the action of a psychopath or an immature young person who has not yet established a real regard for the importance and value of every human being.