Different perspectives on the Afghan shooting

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Different perspectives on the Afghan shooting

First, from the Chicago Tribune:

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday that the death penalty could be sought over the massacre of 16 villagers in Afghanistan, which U.S. officials said they believe was the work of a rogue American soldier.

The shooting spree in the southern province of Kandahar, which killed mostly women and children, has triggered angry calls from Afghans for an immediate American exit from the country, as Washington tries to negotiate a long-term presence to keep it from sliding into chaos again.

Panetta, however, attempted to portray the shooting as an isolated event that would not alter plans for a gradual, orderly withdrawal of American combat forces by the end of 2014.

"War is hell. These kinds of events and incidents are going to take place, they've taken place in any war. They're terrible events. And this is not the first of those events, and it probably won't be the last," the defense secretary told reporters on a flight to Kyrgyzstan.

"But we cannot allow these events to undermine our strategy or the mission that we're involved in."

Naturally, the Afghani Government is saying that they should be the ones who run the trial:

The Afghan parliament demanded on Monday that a US soldier accused of killing 16 civilians, including nine children, be put on trial in Afghanistan as a growing tide of local anger added to the pressure on the US-led war against the Taliban.

“Yesterday’s incident in Kandahar is inexplicable; it cannot be forgiven on any account,” said Shinki Karokheel, a member of parliament from Kabul.

So far, it looks like everyone under the sun is blaming PTS, and while that might be true, I want to remind everyone that people like Dr. Phil were telling everyone that Hassan shot up Ft Hood for the same reason and it turned out later that he had never deployed.  So, I would be reticent before jumping fully on that bandwagon.  Reuters does a fair job of discussing that in this article:

Experts caution against jumping to conclusions, but two facts are known. This was the sergeant's fourth deployment. And the risk of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety-related disorders is generally higher during subsequent deployments than during a soldier's first.

"The more exposure there is to trauma the worse it's going to be," said Dr. David Reiss, a psychiatrist in private practice who has treated patients with PTSD. "Especially if someone is deployed repetitively, then the whole issue of expecting to go home, not going home, just amplifies it."

As with most aspects of mental illness, however, the link between deployments and mental illness is not straightforward. For instance, the incidence of PTSD during a third deployment is 2.7 percent among male members of the armed forces, according to a study released last September by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

But the incidence of PTSD for GIs serving a fourth deployment is lower: 1.9 percent, found the study, which analyzed medical records of 1.3 million U.S. military members who had served in Afghanistan or Iraq.


On this side of the pond, some are already going nuts over this.

"This was not just a rogue soldier," said Jorge Gonzalez, executive director of G.I. Voice, a veteran-run nonprofit organization that operates a soldiers' resource center near the base called Coffee Strong. The base is "a rogue base, with a severe leadership problem," he said.


"If Fort Lewis was a college campus, it would have been closed down years ago," Gonzalez said.


In the wake of Sunday's shootings, he called for a congressional investigation and hearings "into the multiple crises" at the base.

That CNN article above then goes on to rehash some of the problems they have had at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but I dispute Mr. Gonzalez' portrayal of a sort of Lord of the Flies scenario going on up there.  My buddy Jonn Lilyea did an interview with both the BBC and MSNBC calling for restraint.

Retired Army platoon Sgt. Jonn Lilyea, a Desert Storm veteran who writes the blog "This Ain’t Hell," told msnbc.com he expects the military to make an example out of the shooter as the case moves through the justice system.

Still, Lilyea cautioned that people should not rush to blame the killings on the soldier’s deployments during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I’d wait to see if he really was in a position that would have affected him in this way," Lilyea said. "But I’m more concerned people will try to use this like they did after Vietnam with the My Lai massacre and taint all combat veterans of this generation as if they were like this one guy." Millions of Americans have served in combat, seen and done "terrible things," but have gone on to normal productive lives after their service, Lilyea pointed out.

As one might suspect, I am with Jonn on this one.  Until we get some answers on this, we should really try to tamp down the rhetoric. Even the info we are getting seems to be counter factual.  For instance, I've heard that this SSG was a Green Beret, now I am hearing he is only attached. There's a HUGE difference.  Also, was it only one guy that went out?  If so, why did the gate allow a solo troop to just walk out?  I have a million unanswered questions, but I hope folks will refrain from speculating too much until we know more.

Posted in the burner | 35 comments
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Good to see that none of the hateful speculative comments from the American Legion Online Update have been posted here. I too will be governed by what happens in each of the steps of the Uniform Code of Military Justice concerning this incident.

Thank you John, for remembering th U.C.M.J.! This is a very regretable incident. Someone decided to take the law into his own hands, and become a god, a very dangerous thought indeed! Now he will
see the full force of military justice. He has no defence. No one in their right mind will have anything to do with him. I will no longer give any energy to this one. I refuse to buy into the negativity. I really feel for his family. They are going to have to live with this. A very sorry situation indeed! Later.....V

You change your game is based on your community members voice, if you can get their anough agree with the majority of a real change, you really can't be sure you are changing your the game better.

Don't take anything I say as if I am condoning or suggesting there is anything OK about the killing of Afghan people. Did the world react like this to the killing of US citizens because the Koran was burned? Can we begin to understand a country of people that believe that the killing of 16 people was bad but not as bad as burning the Koran, because the burning offended all Muslims and the killings only offended the family of the 16. Let's get out of there!

A U.S. soldier should be educated above the tit for tat mentality.

I agree that we need to wait until all of the facts are investigated and known, and I too do not want to suggest in any way that I am condoning what has happened. As a Chaplain and a Counselor, and VN veteran, I have tried to wrap my mind around what was going on in the SSGT's mind (far smarter people than I will figure that out). He may well be suffering from PTS; I agree that it has been totally unacceptable for the repeated deployments; and I also agree that we need to pull all deployed combat units out of country. To me, and I clearly am not there, it appears curious that he returned to the compound gate, placed his weapon on the ground, and raised his hands. He knew what he had done and I suspect he may have had reasoning and purpose, if even unbelieveable. I can't help but wonder what impact the most recent "green-on-green" murders of the 6 U.S. soldiers, and countless others throughout the conflict, by their "trusted" Afghan counterparts. At somepoint an individual can believe that an illogical act is in fact logical, or what is irrational seems rational. I would not be surprised to learn that he'd simply had enough of seeing his brothers-in-arms killed and murdered, without giving any thought to the overriding implications. If he would have thought about it, and personalized his actions before hand, perhaps he would have given thought about the family and children he is likely to never see again. Yet in the long run he may have felt an "eye-for-an-eye." I am not justifying, but like all of you, I too am trying to understand. I have empathy and compassion for the loss of life and their grieving loved ones, but I also have empathy for an Army and a Marine Corps (and each deployed branch of the Services) with members who have been unfairly deployed over and over again. A lot of supposition I know. Long past the time to bring everyone home. Panetta was right about one thing, "war is hell," but war is also just that, war, and we are all human with individual strengths and weaknesses - physically and psychologically. No judgment here until all of the facts are known, and my prayers are with his family and children, and his band-of-brothers who are left at greater risk than they were previously.

The comment about looking into the letter the soldier received from his wife could be exactly what sent him over the edge. If this was a career soldier and his wife wants a divorce then this soldier will come under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. This act allows state courts to treat military retainer/retirement pay as property. Therefore, this soldier with all of his sacrifices would be subject to dividing up to 50% of his retainer/retirement to his former spouse for life no matter what the reason for divorce. His wife may have found someone who will never be deployed, will never be away from home ect. and she could gain 50% of what he earned for serving 20 years in the military. This law is unjust and archiac - enacted in 1981. No other government agency has such a law where the former spouse receives this award for life, not the FBI, not the Secret Service, not the Foreign Service, not the Railroad Retirement Act. They all terminate these awards upon the remarriage. So, we should look into what was in that letter from his wife and we should all be screaming that the USFSPA should be repealed and give back to our retirees what they earned for their service and sacrifice to our country.

I think he has killed future Taliban so give him a medal. Plus did he not come from a hometown her in the US that had some kind of trouble there that may have spurned this kind of action?

It might be that those homes have long been known to be safe houses for the Taliban when they needed a place to hide out and/or get off the streets quickly. Those people that were killed may well have been future Taliban members themselves.
I don't know all the facts, so I am not going to condemn this soldier who was definitley doing "tour of duty" over and over again.
There's a lot we don't know about this soldier:
Was he recently asked for a divorce, by his wife? Does he have kids? Has he been wounded? How old is he? Any mental illness in his family? The list goes on and on.

Shooting people in their own homes while sleeping in the middle of the night is not the proper action of a U.S. soldier.

To waste another drop of American blood over there is just wrong. Our all volunteer military force is composed of the best men and women in America. Americans joined together to protect our homeland. Americans willing to fight for our country. We are wasting them over there where the Afgans don't give a shit about our efforts to help them out of the stone age.

piss on them, bring our people home!!!!!!!!!

Urinating on the Afghans has resulted in negative results.

Time to come home--but with conditions. Leave them to kill each other like they have for centuries, but make sure they understand that ANY threats against us or out interests will me met with "extreme" force.
Don't just say it---DO IT~~!!

What "answers" are you all waiting for? It's simple, the soldier was overly stressed out, having to fight for us in a politically correct war.
The soldier was obviously stressed to a point that he wanted to strike out at those "savages" that use women,children, old people, to kill American soldiers. And, lets not forget the assassination of four of our people just after the Koran burning incident.
What this soldier needs is medical attention, not condemnation.

Thanks for the medical opinion Dr. M. Godard.

I know the truth does not always matter, but there are a lot of unanswered questions remaining and, I'm sure, a lot of unasked questions. An investigation should present the truth or something close to it. Then the soldier should be tried according to the UCMJ, the same as soldiers have been for a couple hundred years at least.
The Afghan people seem to accept the murder of US soldiers and expect no retaliation. An Afghan is killed and there are riots, retalitory murders and calls for justice. What amazes me is that the Obama administration would even consider letting the enemy dictate US actions.

President Obama, nor any other future U.S. President, would allow any foreign government or organization to dictate how U.S. policies or actions are conceived, implemented, or administered. The U.S. should also respect the rights of sovereign goverments. The American Legion Burn Pit's reccomendation to tune down the rhetoric makes sense to me.

Sir you are correct about him being tried under UCMJ and Obama

Well John, you look like you having fun today! What's with you southern boys anyway? I believe we are trying (attempting) to solve some of the world's maladies. How can we make any progress if "you-all"
keep trying to start another scrap.....words left behind from my father "I don't know who started it, but (by God) I'm going to finish it!" Now, did that sound like he sherked his responsibility? Go in peace, my brothers..............V

I'm having about as much fun as sitting in the dentist's reception room anticipating an extraction. Your good comments and replies are positive and unfortunately in the minority on here. No progress will ever be made with a negative attitude. Have you ever noticed most of the comments on here are anonymous (not verified), and sometimes disageeing with their comment becomes a 'personal attack'. I put my face on my verified comments and replies. I've been told that once you make a comment it becomes subject to scrutiny. So I scrutinize. You-all' have a wonderful day, comrades!!!

Even if he did this it will never compare to the atrocities that these people and their religion have done to their own people. Sorry but a soldier or Marine going nuts and shooting up locals is tragic but pales in comparison to the suffering, tortue and murder that the islamic culture has subjected its own people and Americans to. Remember 9/11? That wasn't any American flying those planes.

its Vietmam all over again in Afganistan. Screw them Ragheads, Time to bring our boys home and let the savages kill themselves. Nation building should not be our business. We should only bomb and kill them and if they act up again, bomb them into submission again. As for the Staff Sgt, he needs medical attention and not jail. Who cares about a few savages over there.

I knew the hateful comments would eventually show up. Forget tuning down the rhetoric. More gets accomplished being positive, and nothing gets accomplished being negative. Hate begets more hate. No doubt there will be a court martial. After formal arraignment and preferred charges, this case will be in the capable hands of a judge advocate prosecuting attorney and a defense attorney of the defendant's choosing, all within the Uniform Code of Military Justice system and nothing but the court will decide the soldier's fate. Even at that there is an appeal system. Let the proceedings begin and everyone be governed by the results.

John, don't waste your time and energy on these ya-hoos. You seem to have your stuff together! Some of these folks need to go back to church. We still have this underlying theme here:IE: the remarks about the religion "Islam", racial profileling, "ragheads", the self-rightious attitude, and so on... Yep, they all going to hell, hell they are already there and they want drag everyone else down to their level. A little bit of education and a good strong dose of faith is needed here. You are doing great! The real enemy is within! Our story continues........V

John, I believe we have stumbled upon the TRUTH! I belong to a NGO that had made a VOW at the end
of WWII, to root out the source and causes of war on this planet. Some of these veterans are feeding the hate out of their own self-rightious distorted views. Alienating 1/3 of the world's population because of their faith.(it is not "alien", because ISLAM does believe in the one and same GOD!" "Our
PROBLEM" is with the right wing extremists that want to go on their "JIHAD". These HATE MONGERS are not different than the terrorists (sometimes even worse!) They do not possess the WISDOM or education to rise above the situation and provide SOLUTIONS instead of continuing to feed the PROBLEM! They are becoming the ENEMY OF THE STATE and OF THE PEOPLE....Break the chain of violence and declare victory over it! The darkest hour is a prelude to the break of dawn. Seek the light!

You should be able to see what I've been having to deal with on the FACEBOOK part of this page. Anyone that disagrees with their ideology automatically becomes exactly what they are in their own mind. And then the 'gang' forms against you. They miscomprehend statements because they have been brainwashed by the likes of FOX News and Rush Limbaugh. Their vocabulary is unique to their ideology. I'm just not able to let some of the off subject hateful comments go unanswered. As I've been told, posting comments makes them subject to scrutinization, so I scrutinize. Believe it or not, expect more future similiar incidents as this article is attempting to unsuccessfully tamper down the rhetoric. The HATEFUL WAR MONGERS want wars to keep going on forever as long as they, their children, and grandchildren don't have to fight in the war. A draft (exemption only to those mentally or physically challenged) would adjust a lot of attitudes. I'll be first in line to volunteer to be a member of the draft board.

Amen! My guess is, as long as we still CARE about it, we will carry on. It's easy to just give up & walk away from it. But you know that will not make the PROBLEM go away either. (denial!) Might not be able
to save the whole world, but by God we have to try. Otherwise the terrorists (and war mongers) win!
Our story continues.............V .............Eiseinhower was right about the "military industrial complex"!

sounds about right for you,John La Rochelle. How about being the first to volunteer for active duty.Bet you are never more than six steps away from your computer. You are a perfect left winger with your attitudes,but never put yourself in harms way.

Oh, au contraire, comrade Joe Green. I am a decorated Vietnam veteran. I have the pay vouchers, Army Commendation Medal Citation signed by the Secretary of the Army, Stanley Resor, DD214, and an Honorable Dischage as proof. I am a life member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Also worked twenty five years as a civil servant shipping military freight around the world. When I shipped my stuff it got there ON TIME. I know you must have served, otherwise you wouldn't be posting on here, RIGHT? Sorry you are unable to deal with my rational comments.

We should not be going all around the world letting our young kids get killed.
And then bringing forigener's to live here.
I was in the Navy and on tugs in Newport RI and " Red " the skipper (I forgot his last name) he had put in for retirement.
Well he was in the end of WW11 and Korea so what did they do to him?
They gave him orders to Nam on swift boats.
I don't know what ever happened to him but I think that was really wrong.
What that solider did in Aftgan was wrong but he should have never have had that meny tour's in Aftgan.
And that is why we need a draft (only for men) with no excusses unless your really sick.
And any guy that goes out of our country to avoid the draft should never be allowed back in

Shallow brooks babble the most, mighty rivers run silent and deep..............................V

FLASH: Karilyn Bales, wife of the accused soldier, will be interviewed by Matt Lauer of the NBC Today Show, Monday Morning, 26 March 2012. This ought to be interesting. I'm also working on a story I'll message you when completed. Until then, AT EASE, Comrades.

My question is when does the major of Fort hood go on trial? it seems that the NCO gets to be court-marshaled first because it is easier to hang an enlisted man. Of course Gen Patton had 4 stars and lost one, then had only 3 stars, Calley was a Lt. and they stuck it to him. Killing is Killing - so who ordered the NCO back into a combat unit, since his medical evaluation said not qualified for combat. That is the individual that should be court-marshaled for the 16 deaths & the NCO in a mental ward.

We just keep on helping one another,
then those terrorist will soon be disappear.
Just pray together and Be as one!
Go ! GO!

Dan from <a href="http://www.robelonguepascher.net">robe longue pas cher</a> 

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.