How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advised)

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Prinnctopher's Belt, Apr 17, 2011.

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  1. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    The Kill Team: How U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Murdered Innocent Civilians
    Plus: An exclusive look at the war crime images the Pentagon tried to censor

    By Mark Boal
    March 27, 2011 10:00 PM ET

    Early last year, after six hard months soldiering in Afghanistan, a group of American infantrymen reached a momentous decision: It was finally time to kill a haji.

    Among the men of Bravo Company, the notion of killing an Afghan civilian had been the subject of countless conversations, during lunchtime chats and late-night bull sessions. For weeks, they had weighed the ethics of bagging "savages" and debated the probability of getting caught. Some of them agonized over the idea; others were gung-ho from the start. But not long after the New Year, as winter descended on the arid plains of Kandahar Province, they agreed to stop talking and actually pull the trigger.

    Bravo Company had been stationed in the area since summer, struggling, with little success, to root out the Taliban and establish an American presence in one of the most violent and lawless regions of the country. On the morning of January 15th, the company's 3rd Platoon – part of the 5th Stryker Brigade, based out of Tacoma, Washington – left the mini-metropolis of tents and trailers at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in a convoy of armored Stryker troop carriers. The massive, eight-wheeled trucks surged across wide, vacant stretches of desert, until they came to La Mohammad Kalay, an isolated farming village tucked away behind a few poppy fields.

    To provide perimeter security, the soldiers parked the Strykers at the outskirts of the settlement, which was nothing more than a warren of mud-and-straw compounds. Then they set out on foot. Local villagers were suspected of supporting the Taliban, providing a safe haven for strikes against U.S. troops. But as the soldiers of 3rd Platoon walked through the alleys of La Mohammad Kalay, they saw no armed fighters, no evidence of enemy positions. Instead, they were greeted by a frustratingly familiar sight: destitute Afghan farmers living without electricity or running water; bearded men with poor teeth in tattered traditional clothes; young kids eager for candy and money. It was impossible to tell which, if any, of the villagers were sympathetic to the Taliban. The insurgents, for their part, preferred to stay hidden from American troops, striking from a distance with IEDs.

    While the officers of 3rd Platoon peeled off to talk to a village elder inside a compound, two soldiers walked away from the unit until they reached the far edge of the village. There, in a nearby poppy field, they began looking for someone to kill. "The general consensus was, if we are going to do something that fucking crazy, no one wanted anybody around to witness it," one of the men later told Army investigators.

    Read the Full Story here

    The Kill Team Photos: More war crime images the Pentagon doesn't want you to see (May trigger, contains images of war, discretion advised)

    The images – more than 150 of which have been obtained by Rolling Stone – portray a front-line culture among U.S. troops in which killing innocent civilians is seen as a cause for celebration. “Most people within the unit disliked the Afghan people,” one of the soldiers told Army investigators. “Everyone would say they’re savages.”

    Many of the photos depict explicit images of violent deaths that have yet to be identified by the Pentagon. Among the soldiers, the collection was treated like a war memento. It was passed from man to man on thumb drives and hard drives, the gruesome images of corpses and war atrocities filed alongside clips of TV shows, UFC fights and films such as Iron Man 2. One soldier kept a complete set, which he made available to anyone who asked.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2011
  2. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Re: How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advis

    Second trigger warning for the link to the photographs. For those who think they may have the guts to view them, this is the caption of one of the photographs:

  3. bhawk

    bhawk Well-Known Member

    Re: How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advis

    this is nothing new, i have a friend who was there 20 years ago and he has some pretty horrendous stories.
  4. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Re: How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advis

    Current events - the recent story of Marines caught defiling bodies on video is not an isolated incident.
  5. gentlelady

    gentlelady Staff Alumni

    Re: How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advis

    It goes both ways. Innocence cannot be claimed by any side.
  6. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    Re: How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advis

    IMHO, there're many casualties of war. You don't have to die to be a casualty, though. I think people like Gibbs, while being messed up from the start, probably were pushed over the edge by the events of the war. Some people have PTSD or they internalize the struggle. Gibbs took it out on defenseless people.

    All of this is hard to understand. Many innocent people die in war even when you do it lawfully. There's a quote that goes: "War is hell." It really is. This is why we shouldn't start wars without good reasons.

    50 to 70 million people died in WW2. We firebombed japanese cities and many innocent people lost their lives. Even in the hiroshima and nagasaki atomic blasts there must have been many innocent people. How many of them were against the war but helpless to leave japan? How many were children too young to fight and too young to understand it all? How many were too old to leave? How many anti-war citizens were held in prisons or left on the streets to get by on scraps and leftovers? Many innocent people died.

    Anyone read Slaughterhouse Five?

    Think about the generals and planners who had to make those decisions. We wanted to win the war. But there were so many uncertainties. We chose to firebomb because we wanted to send the japanese a message: surrender or one of us will die. War brought us to that point. An existential break in an otherwise long stretch of just getting by. It pushes us to the ends of our compassion and our sanity.

    Just imagine for a moment how hard it would be in heated moment where shots have been fired and people you care for have been hurt, to think clearly and to not harm any innocent people? It's beyond reason that you might expect soldiers to never harm anyone that's innocent. It's just not possible in war. Things are too chaotic. You have to make choices a lot quicker and the fog of war is always pressing down on you.

    Ultimately, I forgive soldiers and even military planners. We're fallible, broken things. I don't know if there's a god or not. But if there is, it (whatever it's) has a lot of explaining to do. But I suspect that this is precisely why there is NO god. Instead, what we have is a universe of many random constructs. These constructs live within a set of rules. These rules are like universal laws. The laws select from the constructs those which will survive and those which will perish. Even intelligence, something we highly regard, is probably the result of trial and error over billions of years over billions of light years of space. There is no god to judge the rightness of any of this. It just is. Any purpose to all of this is subjective and dependent on who (or what) you ask.

    We want to believe there's more meaning to it than this because it's in our genetics to deny death and deny all of this. We're programmed to always be happy even when the sh** hits the fan. This is because we had no other choice. We were placed here by chance alone and evolved to these set of circumstances. There will always be a greater majority of humanity that pushes forward despite the carnage because of this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2012
  7. ExtraSoap

    ExtraSoap Well-Known Member

    Re: How U.S. soldiers in Afgh. murdered innocent civilians (trigger, discretion advis

    It's just like Vietnam. Exactly the same. The people of a country become so dehumanized to a soldier who has witnessed unspeakable horrors that he (or she) loses his grip on morality and kills innocents. It's war, it sucks, but it's war. We cannot change the nature of it, and we cannot end it. Atrocities like this will always happen. I cannot forgive, but I can understand.
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