This blog explores the contemporary political and cultural trends from a distinct perspective

Staff Sgt Robert Bales of the 3rd Stryker Brigade on his 4th tour of duty left his military base, loaded his kit and set off for  the village of Panjawi in Kandhahar province of Afghanistan and went on a killing spree that will cost the US quite a lot of political goodwill and credibility. On several past occasions I have drawn attention to the systematic rampage of US military personnel in Iraq and even when the killers were identified as was the case in the Mahoumadiya incident, the culprits were acquitted after a perfunctory trial in which the pretence of "human rights" and the US military's commitment to civilised values is paraded before the whole world. Of course the order to kill does not come from the top political or military leadership, but the lack of systemic checks and controls make it easy for such rampages to take place. It now transpires that Staff Sgt Robert Bales was involved in a firefight in Iraq in which 250 Iraqi civilians were killed without the loss of a single US soldier. He received a military decoration for his heroism. No wonder.

Afghanistan is largely out of US control/ President Karzai commands neither loyalty nor respect among the people. He surrounds himself with hired American Security Guards and the burning of the Koran, the desecration of Afghan bodies by US soldiers and now this killing spree by Staff Sgt Bales, a decorated war hero, only add to his cup of woes. Barack Obama's policy of counter insurgency has become unstuck and is unlikely to lead to any great US success. Pakistan is on the boil and there is also growing resentment against the US drone attacks on Pakistani targets. The NATO attack on Pakistani military base in which 29 Pakistani soldiers were killed is still simmering. All in all the US is getting deeper and deeper in a mess from which retreat may be well neigh impossible.

Already there is an attempt to shield the soldier who was responsible for the massacre. He suffered a head injury and therefore had diminished competence. If this is so why was he not discharged on the grounds of psychological impairment. The foreclosure of his house upset him, according to one report. Millions of Americans have suffered due to the absolute depravity of the Wall Street thugs and they do not go on a killing spree. Another pointed out that this soldier actually enjoyed killing civilians as he was very proud of his "heroism" in which 250 Iraqis were killed during the course of just one hour of fighting. When soldiers are dehumanized in this manner you can expect consequences.

US diplomats go round the world preaching "human rights" and issue threats to heads of state who are involved in deadly conflicts with known terrorist groups. Is not the US military responsible for the actions of this man. By what law should this Staff Sgt Robert Bales be prececuted: as a war crime he should face the Hague. The US has created a kangaroo court whenre Black and Slavic "war criminals" are araigned. Staff Sgt Rober Bales was secretly removed from Afghanistan and he is now in Fort Leavenworth. The US like the old Anglo-Saxon countries is asserting the right of extra territoriality and unfortunately the rest of the world seems to acquiesce in this. It is time for people of the world to say that even in normal rules of engagement during conflict, civilian life must be protected. Robert Bales may not be acting on the explicit instructions from his superiors and that may well be a defence, but that fact has to be established in a credible non partisan manner. US military cannot protect its own by sitting in judgement and then announce to the whole world that the US is a champion of human rights. The conduct of US military in Iraq and Afghanistan has already made such assertion laughable and sonner Barack Obama realises it the better for the world.


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 17, 2012

Be nice if someone, somewhere held Iraqis and Afghanis accountable for their actions.  Bales should be administered the appropriate military punishment for his actions which were despicable, if initial reports are accurate.  Certain Afghanis and Iraqis commit similar atrocities routinely and we don't hear a peep of criticism, even when it's other Afghanis and Iraqis doing the dying.  We get video of the celebrations when Americans die.

on Mar 17, 2012

this isn't a rhetorical question and i'm unable to search out an accurate answer at the moment so i'm tossing it to you bahu.

are you able to tell us how many non-afghans working or living in afghanistan have been murdered over the past decade by afghan citizens who may or may not have been driven mad by ideology or extreme religiosity.  how many of those killers worked with or were employed by nato or the un.  of those, how many appeared to have been considered loyal to and maybe friendly with their victims?  

in other words, how many americans, europeans and native afghans working to stabilize afghanistan have had their lives taken by rogue vigilantes?

on Mar 17, 2012

 

I'm immediately reminded of the killings  following the the burning of a few copies of the Qur'an. 

 

 
on Mar 17, 2012

[quote]are you able to tell us how many non-afghans working or living in afghanistan have been murdered over the past decade by afghan citizens who may or may not have been driven mad by ideology or extreme religiosity. how many of those killers worked with or were employed by nato or the un. of those, how many appeared to have been considered loyal to and maybe friendly with their victims? [/quote

]

Be nice if someone, somewhere held Iraqis and Afghanis accountable for their actions. Bales should be administered the appropriate military punishment for his actions which were despicable, if initial reports are accurate. Certain Afghanis and Iraqis commit similar atrocities routinely and we don't hear a peep of criticism, even when it's other Afghanis and Iraqis doing the dying. We get video of the celebrations when Americans die.

I agree that Afghanistan is not an example of a wholesome civilized society. But for a member of a occupying military force to indulge in massavres is altogether a different game. Afterall, the ARMY has a command and control tructure in place.

There are routine attacks on foreigners particularly Indians in Afghanistan and many hundreds have been killed. But that does not in any way mitigate the horror of Bales' action/crime.

on Mar 17, 2012

Didn't say it needed to be mitigated.  He should be tried, convicted if guilty, and executed if convicted.

on Mar 18, 2012

Didn't say it needed to be mitigated. He should be tried, convicted if guilty, and executed if convicted.

Agree. However, the INSANITY PLEA is already being drummed up and USA has discovered th PTDS which can be used to acquit this STAFF SGT BALES. I am not as sanguine as you are about justice and I do not think he should be handed over to the Afghans. Remember I was very supportive of Richard Davis wheb he killed two or three terrorists and was one of the first to identify him by name. However in this case US legal process may not satisfy the compulsions of justice as in all other similar cases such as the more notorious massacres in Iraq the soldiers did not even get the proverbial rap on the kuckles.

Let us see what happens.

on Mar 18, 2012

Bahu Virupaksha
for a member of a occupying military force to indulge in massavres

i can't be sure why you chose to characterize bale's actions as indulgence. do you totally reject the possibility bales is profoundly ill.  are you convinced each soldier in every army on earth harbors a desire to do something similar so the only real difference between bales and his peers is they're somehow able to exercise impulse control? 

Bahu Virupaksha
the ARMY has a command and control tructure in place.

i'd hope we agree this would never have happened if bales had gone through proper channels and requested permission from his superior officers. 

on Mar 18, 2012

Bahu Virupaksha
for a member of a occupying military force to indulge in massavres

i can't be sure why you chose to characterize bale's actions as indulgence. do you totally reject the possibility bales is profoundly ill.  are you convinced each soldier in every army on earth harbors a desire to do something similar so the only real difference between bales and his peers is they're somehow better at exercising impulse control? 

Bahu Virupaksha
the ARMY has a command and control tructure in place.

i'd hope we agree this would never have happened if bales had gone through proper channels and requested permission from his superior officers. 

on Mar 18, 2012

dammit.  please delete #7 for me.

on Mar 18, 2012

Bahu Virupaksha
satisfy the compulsions of justice

Not sure what that means.

on Mar 18, 2012

We have to see the record of the uS in proscecuting those charged with serious human rights violations and massacres. From Mylai to Afghanistan via Iraq the record is very poor. Not a single soldier has had to face the consequences for his actions while Bradley Mnning, the one who exposed the criminals in uniform through the leak of helicopter videos and the doucuments is likely to get death or many years in prison. Simple: you have a system that makes huge noise all over the world ablout the sanctity of human rights but is willing to look the other way when it cones to occupied territories. USA as the occupying power both in Afghanistan and Iraq must be held accoutable.

on Mar 18, 2012

Bahu Virupaksha
Not a single soldier has had to face the consequences for his actions

Fairly sweeping statement, there.  Thought that was going to change with Nidal Hassan, but may not.

Still have no idea what 'compulsions of justice' means.

on Mar 20, 2012

Bradley Manning is in prison and he has done nothing that deserves such barbaic treatment. Robert Bales killed 16 people including 9 children in cold blood and the US press is already begun putting up pleas for his diminished responsibility. USA has shown that it is OK to kill non while non combatants.

on Mar 20, 2012

Bahu Virupaksha
barbaic treatment

I suspect Bales is in the brig.

on Mar 20, 2012

I suspect Bales is in the brig.

Bigtime.