As everyone has heard by now a terrible incident happened over the weekend. It looks like 16 afghan civilians were murdered in their homes and it appears that a US Army soldier is being detained in connection with this. There are lots of reports on the web about this incident and from those open sources they say he is from Ft. Lewis Washington, is in the Army and is a mid-level NCO with a family.
Let me start by saying he is innocent until proven guilty, because that is the way our laws work. However if he is found guilty, he deserves any punishment he gets which is appropriate for the crime. If the soldier did commit this horrendous crime he may end of up with a lot more blood on his hand that that of 16 Afghans. If he is guilty and there are any retaliations for this, any US or coalition member who is wounded or killed as a result will also have their blood on his hands. Besides killing non-combatants on the battlefield, another reason this act angers me is because our soldiers may be killed over this stupid and selfish act.
There is no possibly excuse I can think of which would justify such an action. None whatsoever. However I can see how this could happen and even that is hard for me to imagine. Our soldiers are under immense pressure over there, just like they were in Iraq. But I think even more so in Afghanistan. They are being killed and wounded every day by an invisible, cowardice enemy. Lately they have been getting murdered themselves by our “friends”, Afghan National Security Forces. There is also no outlet for these guys. There is so much political correctness going on and zero tolerance mentality happening that I could see a soldier getting so pissed off. I could envision a soldier being shot and blown up only so much and not allowed to react to it as soldiers are trained to do that they would snap.
One soldier doing this is not a reflection of our military as a whole, their mental well-being or how soldiers are recruited or trained. All of these were “stupid” reasons brought up today when I was interviewed on the BBC. This is no different than a cop who loses it and kills innocent people or a firefighter who starts committing arson. An act by a single person does not reflect the attitude, training or professionalism of an entire organization.
This is also no reason to “feel sorry” for our military or think they are victims. Did people think Timothy McViegh was a victim when he blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City? Why not, he was a war vet. That is how ludicrous such an argument or thought is that military service is the reason for this happening.
None of us can see the future and know how bad will be for us, but I think I can say with certainty that this is going to do a lot of damage to our reputation in the eyes of Afghan people. How can the Afghans trust us to help them? Kind of like how can our soldiers trust their afghan security partners when they keep killing or training to kill our soldiers. It is a two way street now because of this and it is not going to end well.
Today I was interviewed by the BBC’s World Have Your Say radio program about this topic. You can listen to it here, http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/whys/whys_20120312-1900a.mp3