Soldier pleads guilty in Afghan massacre, says ‘not a good reason in this world’ for slayings

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posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 01:07 AM
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* This thread is written in memory and with respect to those who were killed in Alkozai and Najiban, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Their nationality makes no difference, nor does their situation or station in life, as they had it. This whole case has been tragedy from the start but no one has had to endure that more than those who survived the victims this man claimed in a night of rampage across those two places.

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Sgt. Robert Bales entered a Plea of guilty on Wednesday for the crimes of premeditated murder in the shooting deaths of 16 civilians. Many of them women and children. I'll let the story speak for itself on the specifics.


Prosecutors say Bales slipped away before dawn on March 11, 2012, from his base in Kandahar Province. Armed with a 9 mm pistol and an M-4 rifle equipped with a grenade launcher, he attacked a village of mud-walled compounds called Alkozai, then returned and woke up a fellow soldier to tell him about it.

The soldier didn’t believe Bales and went back to sleep. Bales then left to attack a second village known as Najiban.

There is no record or indication of hesitation or mercy shown in his actions. There is no indication that he felt a sense of right or wrong at the time or remorse in any reasonable time frame to follow it. There is, sadly, no real explanation at all. The case has ended now as it began. In tragedy, confusion and outright shock at what one man could do in a state of ....whatever it was he was experiencing when he did these things. This next part may explain my unusual lack of words for the occasion.


At one point, the judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, asked Bales why he killed the villagers.

Bales responded: “Sir, as far as why — I’ve asked that question a million times since then. There’s not a good reason in this world for why I did the horrible things I did.”

In another part of his statement to the court, when asked if he set a woman on fire, he states that must be what happened, as it's all that makes sense. To this day, it would seem, his recollection isn't clear enough to even supply the basic resolution of why or what the motivation and thinking may have been.

He was absolutely clear about what he'd done in overall terms though and in the killing itself? There was no sense of uncertainty.


Bales testified Wednesday that he made the decision to kill each victim when he raised his gun and pointed it. But in the stipulation, Bales said he struggled with a woman before killing her and “after the tussle” decided to “murder anyone that he saw.”

The judge questioned Bales about it, and Bales confirmed that he decided to kill everyone after struggling with the woman.
Source

I find myself, as an American and relative to men who have and continue to serve there, wanting to note the tragedy of his life essentially lost as well....but have to catch myself to recall what it was this man did.

16 entirely unprovoked killings of civilians isn't a loss of control or some excusable action. The article states he was snorting valium (I didn't know you could??) at the same time as he drank alcohol. I know from a member of my own family that this combination does physical, observable and unmistakable damage to the structure of the brain. However, that is an explanation at best, and a weak one. It's no excuse of any kind.

For what it's worth, even he sees and acknowledges that. The one part of this story that strikes me as disturbing is the fact the Court members have the task of determining if he'll serve life with or without possibility of parole. I find it unthinkable that parole would ever be a consideration at all.

I sincerely hope that even the combat vets among the readers can agree on that. Some things cannot be forgiven. Some things can never be made right or atoned for. If this isn't among that class of actions, then nothing on this Earth can be.

I did search the site in several variations to see if this story had been picked up and found nothing. So, it's with mixed feelings I chose to be the one to bring the story. I felt it only right that I try and present this with the solemn tone and respect the victims deserve. I also hope folks agree that in this instance, the fact we aren't Afghani should make no difference to basic human empathy toward the family members who somehow must make peace, to the extent they ever can, and carry on with living after this happened in their world.

I will close by simply saying that this case....this crime...this atrocity, should stand not as a mute reminder but as a screaming statement for how wrong it is for our people to remain where nothing more can be accomplished. It invites the opportunity for another instance, God Forbid, of such a thing happening.

May God have Mercy on his Soul when someday he does reach that stage. May Allah find grace and warmth for those lost on that horrible night. Some days and for some things, we aren't people of race or nationality. We're simply members of the human race and basic decency demands just a brief nod of respect and thought toward that, in my humble opinion.




posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 01:48 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Dear Wrabbit2000,



There is no record or indication of hesitation or mercy shown in his actions. There is no indication that he felt a sense of right or wrong at the time or remorse in any reasonable time frame to follow it. There is, sadly, no real explanation at all. The case has ended now as it began. In tragedy, confusion and outright shock at what one man could do in a state of ....whatever it was he was experiencing when he did these things. This next part may explain my unusual lack of words for the occasion.


What he did was horrible. I come from a military family and was both offered a commission in the military and graduated from ROTC. What did it take to make this person find it so simple to kill innocents. You said he came back and told his friend what he did, he thought they will tell him it was wrong and they didn't so he did it again. He was looking for approval or condemnation. He thought right and wrong were group decisions and they are not. As for a penalty, we all need forgiveness if we choose to be forgivable we can accept that forgiveness. He has a tough road to travel.

We live in a country where most people say they believe in torture (waterboarding) at least as long is it is done to someone other than our soldiers. We need to get out of the war business.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 02:11 AM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


I will agree without question that we need out of the war business. That's been our business and economic base since 1945 and business has been good, sadly. We've lost and sacrificed so very very much to what our nation and talent could have accomplished if not directed toward the tools and methods of war.

It's not worth getting into, and this isn't the thread for it anyway, for what war in the past has or hasn't been justified or proper. It's history now, outside those we still fight today. However, the future is, as a movie once said, Not Set. Our fate IS what we make it. Indeed, it is time we get out of the war business and turn the Defense Department back to what the name implies. A department of defense.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 02:28 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Dear Wrabbit2000,

While in Law School, I wrote a thesis on "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman". I wrote if for a full bird Colonel who was in the JAGs. I was old school, professional, militaristic and cold as they come. Still, I believed there were rules to the game and it is a lie anymore. People can say that there were always war atrocities (and I am not saying you believe that is okay); but, there was some restraint. At least the officer class was expected to keep their troops within bounds and now anything goes as long as you don't get caught. Officers okaying waterboarding and failing to live to a higher standard leads the troops to be even worse.

If I may place this in a biblical sense. Most people are just sheep, nothing wrong with that, they are children. Some are blessed to be sheep dogs and some are blessed to be shepherds. The world fails, in our perspective, when the shepherds become jerks. They prevent the sheepdogs from doing their job and take advantage of the sheep. It is said that we get the government we deserve; but, that is a lie. We get the government that will challenge our beliefs of right and wrong to our limits. In the end, we are always responsible for our choices; but, the bad shepherds fair much worse, they are guilty of knowing better and trying to deceive the rest of us. Peace.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 08:28 AM
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reply to post by AQuestion
 


I appreciate your replies on this thread. Especially as you've been the only one who seems interested in making a reply... I'd thought there would be more, but that isn't too important. I'll tell you, my dedication at the start of the OP was sincere. I wrote it with the kids in mind far more than making 'just another interesting thread'.

You also give me some things to think about and I do wonder if what you say has some merit to this case. I assume you read the OP story? He seems as confused and generally blank today as he did in post event interviews of what happened. Bales struck me in stories at the time as being ...removed from events. Almost like whatever happened to the man before that night had removed an essential part of his humanity. Not in a 'serial killer' way, but in a deeper and more disturbing way, you know what I mean?

He was an NCO though, 10 years in service and his 4th tour in combat. Which would you put him as? The Shepard or the Sheep? I'm mixed on that. The whole case as I've followed it has just been baffling all around.

I have to note here...I've seen members talk about possession in cases of real evil action. I've rarely given that much thought, to be honest. In all previous cases I've ever seen that mentioned, it seemed like a cheap excuse to explain the unexplainable for just plain scumbag action by other people. A cop-out to personal responsibility. There has been something about this one, from the start, that left me with a very unsettled feeling on the whole thing. Like there is more to that night in what happened with this man than perhaps even he'll ever know or understand, let alone anyone else.

It's for that, as much as any other reason, I hope he never does get out. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a place built for a man like this, whatever he'd started life as. The part that nags at me though? When you read his statements and descriptions of his demeanor, from the initial capture after the killings to his standing in court? He seems more aware of that fact than any of us. He seems to know full well that his future now is how it has to be. Unsettling....it's the best word I can think to use.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 09:27 AM
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Snorting Valium and heavy drinking may have potentially affected his programming, though im sure the military realise when they are programming soldiers they probably more than anyone will be susceptible to drug and alcohol intake.

What his is sentence likely to be?, is getting locked up for a tune up and a job with blackwater or do you think they will terminate this particular model as faulty?



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 09:33 AM
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This case has nothing but losers, there is no way for anyone to win here. Even if this soldier spends the rest of his days in prison it wont bring the victims back nor will it relieve the grief and pain suffered by the families if he is executed. His life is now wasted along with those whom he murdered.

However, the article states he was snorting Valium at the same time as he was drinking alcohol, this does not excuse the facts of what he did. The same as a person getting drunk, then driving and causing an accident the kills people in the other vehicle is without excuse. As the drunk driver is subject to the full weight of the law, so should this soldier be subject to the fullest extent of military law.

In every war there are those that commit atrocities but it is even more apparent when you have a war based on a false primes. When a soldier discovers he/she has been lied too it becomes a mental tug of war. Most deal with it and move on while there are some that turn to drugs and alcohol. Then there are those very few that loose it completely and do things totally unthinkable.

Now you have a soldier that mixed drugs and alcohol trying to cope but fell off the deep end not to mention through the cracks in the military system in dire need of help. No matter what he receives as punishment for his crimes, he is going to have to deal with a head full of demons that will haunt his every moment day and night for the rest of his life.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 09:36 AM
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He should be turned over to the tribal families of those he killed, as is the custom there.

They will deal out the punishment they deem worthy.

They are not monsters over there as the MSM portrays them to be. They are civilized and raise their families the same as we do.

There is no excuse for what this man did.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 11:23 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Life without parole? Heck, he should be executed. At least he took responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty.

But he'll get three hots and a cot for life at Leavenworth.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by Hopechest
He should be turned over to the tribal families of those he killed, as is the custom there.

They will deal out the punishment they deem worthy.

They are not monsters over there as the MSM portrays them to be. They are civilized and raise their families the same as we do.

There is no excuse for what this man did.



Try spending some time over there and see how they treat their women. Stray dogs are treated better. When it comes to their treatment, "civilized" doesn't come to mind. A woman is raped and she's the criminal? Yep, that's "civilized".

Yes i agree, no excuse for what he did.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
reply to post by AQuestion
 


I appreciate your replies on this thread. Especially as you've been the only one who seems interested in making a reply... I'd thought there would be more, but that isn't too important. I'll tell you, my dedication at the start of the OP was sincere. I wrote it with the kids in mind far more than making 'just another interesting thread'.

You also give me some things to think about and I do wonder if what you say has some merit to this case. I assume you read the OP story? He seems as confused and generally blank today as he did in post event interviews of what happened. Bales struck me in stories at the time as being ...removed from events. Almost like whatever happened to the man before that night had removed an essential part of his humanity. Not in a 'serial killer' way, but in a deeper and more disturbing way, you know what I mean?

He was an NCO though, 10 years in service and his 4th tour in combat. Which would you put him as? The Shepard or the Sheep? I'm mixed on that. The whole case as I've followed it has just been baffling all around.

I have to note here...I've seen members talk about possession in cases of real evil action. I've rarely given that much thought, to be honest. In all previous cases I've ever seen that mentioned, it seemed like a cheap excuse to explain the unexplainable for just plain scumbag action by other people. A cop-out to personal responsibility. There has been something about this one, from the start, that left me with a very unsettled feeling on the whole thing. Like there is more to that night in what happened with this man than perhaps even he'll ever know or understand, let alone anyone else.

It's for that, as much as any other reason, I hope he never does get out. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a place built for a man like this, whatever he'd started life as. The part that nags at me though? When you read his statements and descriptions of his demeanor, from the initial capture after the killings to his standing in court? He seems more aware of that fact than any of us. He seems to know full well that his future now is how it has to be. Unsettling....it's the best word I can think to use.


Dear Wrabbit2000,

I am sorry more people did not respond to your thread also.

As for the current demeanor of the man. We are seeing more and more of this type of result. Murder of Tim McLean. Another example would be the Aurora shootings. People who were otherwise functional flipping a switch in their head, committing some atrocity and then going blank. The psychologists will call it schizophrenia; but, I think it is something different as I believe what we call schizophrenia is a conscious effort. As for shepherd or sheep, I would call him a Ram. NCOs do not choose the battles, they merely lead how their troops respond.

I know you know that I am a Christian and preach so in answering what you said about possession, understand I am coming from a particular belief that not all hold. I can only answer from my perspective. I don't view possession as a blameless person being taken over by demons per se. In fact, the Satanists will agree with my perspective. You have to welcome evil into you. The bible says that a true Christian cannot be possessed. What I am going to say now can be viewed from a Christian or non-believer perspective with basically the same result. I have met people who "appeared" possessed. Maybe they were or maybe they were not; but, they don't start out that way. It is said that serial killers start by killing little animals and then work they way up to humans. Dehumanizing themselves as they evolve. They know what they are doing is wrong; but, with each killing it gets easier and easier. They allow themselves to become obsessed with their fetish. They allow their whole life to be consumed around that desire. An anomaly in this arena is the BTK killer who actually killed less and less over the years as he was busier with his home life.

I think our purpose in this life is to define ourselves, I don't believe in the Hindu perspective of reincarnation as being that we become someone new. I believe we become us in this life and then live eternity with the consequences, continually changing but remaining us. Some of us choose to do evil to benefit ourselves, eventually we become that spirit of evil or from my perspective allow it to take us over. Sorry, I will have to post a second time as I have run out of characters.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 09:56 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Dear Wrabbit2000,



It's for that, as much as any other reason, I hope he never does get out. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a place built for a man like this, whatever he'd started life as. The part that nags at me though? When you read his statements and descriptions of his demeanor, from the initial capture after the killings to his standing in court? He seems more aware of that fact than any of us. He seems to know full well that his future now is how it has to be. Unsettling....it's the best word I can think to use.


I believe that when people allow themselves to be consumed by an emotion or urge, they lose all sense of reasonableness. They can be very rational as serial killers can be; but, they are so consumed that they believe they will get away with whatever because it is their biggest pleasure and they cannot imagine living without it. Some of the blame for this in soldiers must be taken by the way we train them now.

Imagine you are 18 years old, given a gun and told that killing people who look or live in a certain place is okay. Imagine that you have seen innocents killed and even participated in it. It begins to effect your whole consciousness and right and wrong get lost. Heck, we give awards for killing people and when you come home, the people around you tell you what a good job you did by killing people to protect them. By the way, I don't tell my relatives who were in the military that I appreciate them killing to protect me. Few people actually join the military to protect us, that excuse comes later. Most join to get a job or a skill. Some do and they usually grew up in military families. For them, they are taught it is a code of honor to live by.

We have seen a couple of changes in warfare over the past two decades. We have the highest suicide rate for returning vets than ever before. We have also seen more people fire their weapons than ever before. In the movie the Unforgiven there is a great line, Clint Eastwood basically says, "Its a terrible thing to kill a man, you take away all he has and all he is ever going to have". In the military they say that after you kill the first one it only gets easier and easier. I happen to believe that kids growing up on "Call of Duty" and the like make their first kill and because of all the online practice, don't completely understand how devastating what they just did was.

Once you do something that you know has a great moral implication, you can accept that what you did was right, believe that you have made a mistake and accept that moral guilt or ignore the moral implications completely. This man came back to tell his friends what a great thing he had just done, he expected acceptance and applause. He then went out and did it again because he did not get his expected response. They gave none, no condemnation, no arrest, no applause.

Can he ever come to be rehumanized, I don't know that, it would take a lot. It takes accepting that what you did was horrible and seeking forgiveness. It is a lot harder than people think, when you know your time is up here, you are forced to look at such things. Without going into detail into my own personal NDE and spiritual experience, I can say that when I thought my time was up, I had to look at myself and decades ago I did something cruel, I intentionally slammed someone's hand in a door. Afterwards I was so horrified that I had been that evil and uncaring that I began working on the coldness inside of me. Remember, I was raised to be in the military and kill. While I had become a different person in the next 40 years, I still felt guilt over what I had done decades earlier because I knew that that evil had been in me. Today, I could not possibly imagine doing such a mean spirited thing. I had changed; but, I could not come to accept God's forgiveness because I felt I should be punished. Knowing that I was forgiven felt like such a burden because I felt so undeserving; but, the truth is I was "deserving" because I had repented and lived a new life. I could never make up for what I did and apparently, I don't have to; but, I did have to become a new person and I did.

As for letting murderers out, it is a question of risk to me. At what point in time do we truly know if someone has changed and repented. Only God knows that in my opinion. How long in jail is long enough, depends on what you think prison is for.

You have asked some great moral and ethical questions and I am afraid that we as a society don't seem to question ourselves as much when it comes to our personal morality. Peace.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 10:24 PM
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This truly is a sad case for all involved. May the victims rest in peace. Sadly, in my very humble opinion, while drugs and alcohol played a role, it's also another case of a soldier pushed beyond his breaking point. As a former soldier myself I am all too familiar with the horrors of war.

All too often we are seeing reports of those returning home from the battlefield committing suicide or murdering their own loved ones.

The military takes a very casual approach to treating those with PTSD. They almost look at it as a sign of weakness. Only now are they realizing it is a real, and growing, problem. For so many, however, it's too little too late.

Thank you, Wrabbit, for bringing this story to the forum, and for being objective in the way you presented it. Another well written and informative thread as usual. S & F.



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 12:29 AM
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reply to post by IamAbeliever
 


Dear IamAbeliever,

I had to think a bit before responding to your post. Welcome back. I come from a military family, we have had members in every war since we arrived in this country from Ireland. First and foremost, whatever you saw in war and whatever you did was a different you. Who you are now only you and God know; but, it sounds to me like you understand how powerful on you psyche killing others can be. Maybe after all you have seen you would never recommend someone go into the military, maybe you yourself would never kill again, I do not know. In either case, it is a tremendous burden to put on young people and we don't do enough to help them unburden themselves.

The military tries to tell us that the increase in suicides is due to the higher percentage of concussions; but, it is a lie. The term "shell shock" came out of World War I where soldiers lay in trenches and were bombed non-stop. They had a smaller percentages of suicides than we do now.

A young relative of mine was in the Army. He was stationed in Iraq. Because of the family he was forced out on missions with Special Ops, they wanted him to join because the family has all clearances and his father and mother had secret and top secret clearances. It costs a lot to give someone a Top Secret clearance and it is cheaper when the whole family already has one because you already have records on the rest of the family. My relative had certain medical skills so the special ops guys made him go with them on a mission. While on the mission they had him shoot a person, he did and he got him in the neck. They then had him go fix the guy. That is a mind fxxk, they were trying to desensitize him so that he would join them. He chose not to, he grew up as a military brat and knew the game.

What should I tell him, that it was okay or that it is okay because we all do things we regret later and that we can become stronger from it? I ask him what and who he wants to be. There is a movie called "The Gumball Rally", not a significant movie; but, amusing when it was made. Raul Julia plays a race car driver in the film and he is driving in an illegal coast to coast race to destroy the 55 mile an hour speed limit. He is driving in a Ferrari that is owned by the man who is paying him to drive. As he begins the race, he reaches up and rips out the rear view mirror, he then says the best line of the movie, he says "The first rule of Italian race car driving is that what is behind me is not important". I have repeated that line in numerous sermons, I love that line. The question in life is where we are going and not where have we been, that is merely what we learn from and not who we become. The Chinese have a saying that the person who finishes a trip is not the same one that began it.

Maybe I made little sense or you thought I was attempting to attack you. Neither should be true. Life is what we go through, who we chose to be is more important and it is proven by who we become and not how we got there. I hope you find my words supportive, that is how they are meant.





 
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