Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - Printable Version
+- Immortal Technique: Unofficial Forum (http://www.immortaltechnique.co.uk)
+-- Forum: General Discussion (/Forum-General-Discussion)
+--- Forum: Politics/World Issues (/Forum-Politics-World-Issues)
+--- Thread: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial (/Thread-Why-Sgt-Bales-Should-be-Sent-Back-to-Afghanistan-for-Trial)
Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - shakur420 - 03-31-2012 03:58 PM
Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial
Massacres and PTSD
Western media has focused attention on Sgt. Robert Bales’ background. He allegedly murdered 16 Afghan civilians, 9 of them children, near Kandahar. After the bloodbath, Bales returned to his base and confessed.
The media delved into Bales’ childhood, his marriage, and even his role on the high school football team. Reporters underlined his recent financial stress, war-related traumas, and possible alcoholism — as possible explanations for carrying out his butchery.
Did PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) drive this father of two children who said he enlisted to protect his country after 9/11 to commit such an atrocity? A common problem for multiple tours of duty veterans, but not a satisfying explanation!
TV provides endless biographical portraits of this “unfortunate” 38 year-old guy reluctantly serving his fourth tour of duty. He witnessed fellow soldiers dying and losing limbs from the perverted use of improvised explosive devices planted by the Taliban. Dirty tactics. (We use clean tactics, like bombs from the air, missiles from the ground and air, bullets and artillery fire – and don’t forget those cool helicopter gun-ships and slithery drones.)
Then came contradictory news. Bales had cheated an old couple out of their life savings when he worked for a brokerage firm in Ohio, and may have joined the army to escape prosecution. Maybe not Mr. Nice Guy?
Bales’ lawyer says his client cannot remember the events, setting the stage for a “diminished capacity” defense.
“Diminshed capacity” better describes the politicians who started and continued the war in Afghanistan and the Republican presidential aspirants who want to escalate the war and start a new one with Iran.
True, Bales served three tours of duty in Iraq and resented the very people he was supposedly helping. Bales pejoratively called them “Hajjis.” Imagine four tours of duty! It had to be PTSD that drove him crazy.
Wait! Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who have lost their families and homes to US bullets, bombs and missiles also suffer from PTSD. Why don’t they go on more rampages? How many Pakistani villagers have died from drone strikes? Why haven’t we witnessed similar rampages from those war victims?
Bales, however, has ample precedent in US military history. The demonized Indians got slaughtered for almost a century. In 1898, President McKinley wanted to convert to Christianity the “heathen” Filipinos. “God told me to take the Philippines,” he told incredulous reporters, but didn’t tell him where to find the Philippines.
After Admiral George Dewey reported that he had captured of Manila, McKinley went to his globe. “I could not,” he later confessed, “have told where those damned islands were within 2,000 miles.”
Not important. Doing God’s work doesn’t entail knowledge of geography or ethics. When residents of Balangiga, a village on Samar Island, ambushed a US military unit and killed forty soldiers, Gen. Jacob H. Smith ordered his men to execute every villager over age ten. Filipinos estimate 3000 died. General Smith’s punishment? Forced early retirement!
President Truman ordered the air force to drop two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities – the massacre of massacres. And he didn’t have PTSD.
In June 2000 South Korean President Kim Dae-jung asked President Clinton to investigate the June 1950 mass killing of Korean refugees by US soldiers near a railway bridge at No Gun Ri.
In March 1968, U.S. soldiers raped and killed more than 300 unarmed Vietnamese villagers at My Lai — the most dramatic of the atrocities committed in Vietnam. In Iraq, US soldiers went “crazy” in Haditha and also killed civilians in Fallujah.
Should these incidents have won support from the US public for the “poor killers?” Isn’t it time the media slapped itself in the face and restored sanity to its notion of balanced reporting? Wars create killers and killers then kill — anyone. But if they do it in uniform they rarely get punished
The US government deployed Bales to Afghanistan to do his part to defend US security and bring stability and democracy to Afghanistan. The Afghan people did not invite the troops, nor did their government.
Some US soldiers resented it Afghan troops they had trained who then killed US servicemen. They felt frustrated when Afghans demonstrated over US soldiers burning Korans and peeing on Afghan corpses. Some Afghans responded violently: six NATO soldiers, including two Americans, paid the fatal price.
Those ungrateful people! We came to help and this is the way they behave! The US soldiers who seek revenge and forego military discipline get labeled as crazy, not “homicidal Sergeants.” (Robert Fisk, “Madness is not the reason for this massacre,” The Independent, March 17)
The US has lost the war in Afghanistan. After eleven years of US occupation, preceded by Taliban brutality, preceded, by US-backed war-lords, who took over from a communist government supported by Soviet military occupation, Afghanistan is also full of people with PTSD.
The US still pretends that their trained killers can also win hearts and minds. Will Washington war learn outgoing Secretary of Defense Bob Gates’ lesson? “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to send a big American land army into Asia, or into the Middle East or Africa, should have his head examined.” (quoted by Maureen Dowd, NY Times, March 21)
To stop future massacres, send Bales back to Afghanistan for trial. Let’s see how “diminished capacity” plays in Kandahar – the scene of the crime.
March 30-April 1, 2012
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - shakur420 - 03-31-2012 04:02 PM
Madness is not the reason for this massacre
I'm getting a bit tired of the "deranged" soldier story. It was predictable, of course. The 38-year-old staff sergeant who massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, near Kandahar this week had no sooner returned to base than the defence experts and the think-tank boys and girls announced that he was "deranged". Not an evil, wicked, mindless terrorist – which he would be, of course, if he had been an Afghan, especially a Taliban – but merely a guy who went crazy.
This was the same nonsense used to describe the murderous US soldiers who ran amok in the Iraqi town of Haditha. It was the same word used about Israeli soldier Baruch Goldstein who massacred 25 Palestinians in Hebron – something I pointed out in this paper only hours before the staff sergeant became suddenly "deranged" in Kandahar province.
"Apparently deranged", "probably deranged", journalists announced, a soldier who "might have suffered some kind of breakdown" (The Guardian), a "rogue US soldier" (Financial Times) whose "rampage" (The New York Times) was "doubtless [sic] perpetrated in an act of madness" (Le Figaro). Really? Are we supposed to believe this stuff? Surely, if he was entirely deranged, our staff sergeant would have killed 16 of his fellow Americans. He would have slaughtered his mates and then set fire to their bodies. But, no, he didn't kill Americans. He chose to kill Afghans. There was a choice involved. So why did he kill Afghans? We learned yesterday that the soldier had recently seen one of his mates with his legs blown off. But so what?
The Afghan narrative has been curiously lobotomised – censored, even – by those who have been trying to explain this appalling massacre in Kandahar. They remembered the Koran burnings – when American troops in Bagram chucked Korans on a bonfire – and the deaths of six Nato soldiers, two of them Americans, which followed. But blow me down if they didn't forget – and this applies to every single report on the latest killings – a remarkable and highly significant statement from the US army's top commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, exactly 22 days ago. Indeed, it was so unusual a statement that I clipped the report of Allen's words from my morning paper and placed it inside my briefcase for future reference.
Allen told his men that "now is not the time for revenge for the deaths of two US soldiers killed in Thursday's riots". They should, he said, "resist whatever urge they might have to strike back" after an Afghan soldier killed the two Americans. "There will be moments like this when you're searching for the meaning of this loss," Allen continued. "There will be moments like this, when your emotions are governed by anger and a desire to strike back. Now is not the time for revenge, now is the time to look deep inside your souls, remember your mission, remember your discipline, remember who you are."
Now this was an extraordinary plea to come from the US commander in Afghanistan. The top general had to tell his supposedly well-disciplined, elite, professional army not to "take vengeance" on the Afghans they are supposed to be helping/protecting/nurturing/training, etc. He had to tell his soldiers not to commit murder. I know that generals would say this kind of thing in Vietnam. But Afghanistan? Has it come to this? I rather fear it has. Because – however much I dislike generals – I've met quite a number of them and, by and large, they have a pretty good idea of what's going on in the ranks. And I suspect that Allen had already been warned by his junior officers that his soldiers had been enraged by the killings that followed the Koran burnings – and might decide to go on a revenge spree. Hence he tried desperately – in a statement that was as shocking as it was revealing – to pre-empt exactly the massacre which took place last Sunday.
Yet it was totally wiped from the memory box by the "experts" when they had to tell us about these killings. No suggestion that General Allen had said these words was allowed into their stories, not a single reference – because, of course, this would have taken our staff sergeant out of the "deranged" bracket and given him a possible motive for his killings. As usual, the journos had got into bed with the military to create a madman rather than a murderous soldier. Poor chap. Off his head. Didn't know what he was doing. No wonder he was whisked out of Afghanistan at such speed.
We've all had our little massacres. There was My Lai, and our very own little My Lai, at a Malayan village called Batang Kali where the Scots Guards – involved in a conflict against ruthless communist insurgents – murdered 24 unarmed rubber workers in 1948. Of course, one can say that the French in Algeria were worse than the Americans in Afghanistan – one French artillery unit is said to have "disappeared" 2,000 Algerians in six months – but that is like saying that we are better than Saddam Hussein. True, but what a baseline for morality. And that's what it's about. Discipline. Morality. Courage. The courage not to kill in revenge. But when you are losing a war that you are pretending to win – I am, of course, talking about Afghanistan – I guess that's too much to hope. General Allen seems to have been wasting his time.
March 17, 2012
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - shakur420 - 04-03-2012 03:11 AM
Discussing the motives of the Afghan shooter
Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivated U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to allegedly kill 16 Afghans, including 9 children: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty, he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre,” etc.
Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists.
Even when Muslims who engage in such acts toward Americans clearly and repeatedly explain that they did it in response to American acts of domination, aggression, violence and civilian-killing in their countries, and even when the violence is confined to soldiers who are part of a foreign army that has invaded and occupied their country, the only cognizable motive is one of primitive, hateful evil. It is an act of Evil Terrorism, and that is all there is to say about it.
Note, too, that in the case of Sgt. Bales (or any other cases of American violence against Muslims), people have little difficulty understanding the distinction between (a) discussing and trying to understand the underlying motives of the act (causation) and (b) defending the act (justification). But that same distinction completely evaporates when it comes to Muslim violence against Americans. Those who attempt to understand or explain the act — they’re responding to American violence in their country; they are traumatized and angry at the continuous deaths of Muslim children and innocent adults; they’ve calculated that striking at Americans is the ony way to deter further American aggression in their part of the world — are immediately accused of mitigating, justifying or even defending Terrorism.
There is, quite obviously, a desperate need to believe that when an American engages in acts of violence of this type (meaning: as a deviation from formal American policy), there must be some underlying mental or emotional cause that makes it sensible, something other than an act of pure hatred or Evil. When a Muslim engages in acts of violence against Americans, there is an equally desperate need to believe the opposite: that this is yet another manifestation of inscrutable hatred and Evil, and any discussion of any other causes must be prohibited and ignored.
UPDATE: From today’s issue of Reader’s Express, the Washington Post‘s publication for Metro riders:
Can you even imagine what would happen to someone who wrote or published an article like this about a Muslim killer of Americans?
UPDATE II: I have an Op-Ed in The Guardian today about the removal by the U.S. military of the accused shooter from Afghanistan.
March 19, 2012
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - shakur420 - 04-03-2012 03:21 AM
Afghanistan and American imperialism
Afghans have been excluded from the judicial process after the shooting that left 16 dead. No wonder anti-US feeling is growing
US army staff sergeant Robert Bales is accused of slaughtering 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, and then burning some of the bodies. The massacre took place in two villages in the southern rural district of Panjwai. Though this horrific crime targeted Afghans on Afghan soil, Afghanistan will play no role in investigating the crime or bringing the perpetrator (or perpetrators) to justice. That is because the US almost immediately whisked the accused out of Afghanistan and brought him to an American army base in Fort Leavensworth, Kansas.
The rapid exclusion of Afghans from the process of trying the accused shooter has, predictably and understandably, exacerbated the growing anti-American anger in that country. It is hard to imagine any nation on the planet reacting any other way to being denied the ability to try suspects over crimes that take place on its soil. A Taliban commander quickly gave voice to that nationalistic fury, announcing: "We want this soldier to be prosecuted in Afghanistan. The Afghans should prosecute him."
Demands that the atrocity be investigated by Afghans are grounded in part by reports that Bales did not act alone. While US military officials decreed from the start that Bales was the lone culprit, eyewitnesses in the villages reported the presence of multiple attackers. Many Afghans simply cannot fathom how such a large-scale attack could have been perpetrated by a single shooter. Bacha Agha of the Balandi village told the Associated Press: "One man can't kill so many people. There must have been many people involved." He added: "If the government says this is just one person's act we will not accept it." President Hamid Karzai initially added fuel to those suspicions, notably accusing "American forces" of the attacks.
The suspicion that other American soldiers may have been involved, though unproven, is far from irrational. The notorious American "kill team" that deliberately executed random, innocent Afghan civilians (often teenagers) for sport, planted weapons on their bodies, and then posed with their corpses as trophies operated out a base in the same area. America's former top commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, admitted: "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."
That US-Afghan tensions are at an all-time high due to recent events makes suspicions of a coordinated attack even more substantive. As Robert Fisk recalled, the US army's top commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, went out of his way just a couple weeks ago to tell his soldiers that "now is not the time for revenge for the deaths of two US soldiers killed in Thursday's riots" resulting from the burning of Qu'rans, and he urged his soldiers to "resist whatever urge they might have to strike back." Clearly, General Allen was concerned about coordinated military revenge attacks on Afghan civilians.
Afghan doubts about an exclusively American investigation are surely inflamed, again understandably, by the history of untruths by the US military about episodes of violence in Afghanistan. As the war correspondent Jerome Starkey documented: "US-led forces in Afghanistan are committing atrocities, lying, and getting away with it."
Starkey was writing in the wake of one incident where the American military, thanks to his investigative reporting, got caught out over the wanton killing of Afghan villagers. In February, 2010, US forces entered a village in the Paktia Province in Afghanistan and, after surrounding a home where a celebration of a new birth was taking place, shot dead two male civilians (government officials) who exited the house in order to inquire why they had been surrounded, and then shot and killed three female relatives (a pregnant mother of 10, a pregnant mother of six, and a teenager).
The Pentagon then issued statements insisting that the dead men were insurgents and that the dead women were already gagged and killed inside the house by the time US forces had arrived, victims of an "honor killing." They depicted as liars the Afghan villagers who insisted that it was US soldiers who did the killing and that the dead were all civilians. American media outlets largely regurgitated the American military version uncritically. But enough evidence subsequently emerged disproving those claims such that the Pentagon was forced to admit that their original version was totally false and that, just as the villagers attested, it was US troops who killed the women.
As Starkey wrote: "This is perhaps the most harrowing instance" but "it's not the first time I've found Nato lying." Is it any wonder that Afghans do not trust the US government to conduct its own investigation and hold accountable those responsible?
What is most revealed by the decision to remove Bales from Afghanistan is the American belief that no other country – including those its invades and occupies – can ever impose accountability on Americans. This was seen most recently, and vividly, in Iraq.
President Obama's most swooning supporters love to credit him with "ending the war in Iraq," but that is simply not what happened. It was President Bush who entered into an agreement with the Iraqi government mandating the removal of all US forces by the end of 2011. Rather than comply with that agreement, the Obama administration tried desperately to persuade and pressure the Iraqis to allow American troops to remain beyond that deadline. But those efforts failed because of one cause: the refusal (or, more accurately, the inability) of the Malaki government to agree that US troops would be immunized and shielded from Iraqi law for any future crimes they commit on Iraqi soil.
One prime prerogative of all empires is that it is subject to no laws or accountability other than its own, even when it comes to crimes committed on other nations' soil and against its people. That was the imperial principle that finally compelled America's withdrawal from Iraq, and it is apparently what caused the US to quickly remove the accused shooter from Afghanistan. It may be understandable why the US perceives it in its interest to preserve this imperial power, but it should be equally understandable why its victims react with increasing levels of suspicion, resentment and rage.
March 19, 2012
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - Rebel Assault - 04-03-2012 03:39 AM
they should wash they hands like pontius pilate and give him over to the afghan people there.
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - Boboulas - 04-03-2012 12:12 PM
Quote:I'm getting a bit tired of the "deranged" soldier story. It was predictable, of course. The 38-year-old staff sergeant who massacred 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, near Kandahar this week had no sooner returned to base than the defence experts and the think-tank boys and girls announced that he was "deranged". Not an evil, wicked, mindless terrorist – which he would be, of course, if he had been an Afghan, especially a Taliban – but merely a guy who went crazy.
I like this bit in particular! Thanks for posting shakky
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - Mechmeret - 04-03-2012 12:36 PM
Great post, agree with your opinions 100%. Anders Breivik, the norwegian massacre may be declared "deranged" or "crazy" by court, however other people such as Mullar Krekar are declared "terrorists / potentional terrorists"
RE: Why Sgt. Bales Should be Sent Back to Afghanistan for Trial - El Mono - 04-03-2012 03:01 PM
Cut him some slack? Oh dear, that news story is beyond words.