When U.S. Sergeant Robert Bales stands trial for the premeditated murder of 17 innocent Afghan civilians, the United States should be right there beside him.

There is no pretty way to say it.

Our government and military leadership murdered them – including 9 women and 3 children – as surely as if they had pulled the trigger themselves.

By all accounts, Bales was a troubled man. On March 11, he left his military base in Southern Afghanistan at 3:00 a.m. walked approximately one mile to a rural village, going door to door shooting and stabbing innocent villagers in their homes. As swiftly as he had come, he turned his back on the carnage and ruined lives and calmly walked back to his base. With his arms raised in surrender, he allegedly confessed to his crimes. For days following the murders, witnesses claimed that there were a few to twenty U.S. soldiers operating with Bales. Of course, their side of the story has been suppressed and Bales awaits trial for crimes that he now claims he “can’t really remember.”

Deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 10 years, Bales lost a foot and suffered a traumatic head injury. During his time away, his family struggled financially and was reportedly on the verge of losing their home. In addition to his personal issues, the night before the massacre, he was present when a close friend’s leg was blown off by a land mine and was later seen drinking on base.

According to reports, he asked and was subsequently assured that he would not be deployed a fourth time, but he was – to disastrous consequences.

Now, we could rehash the numbers.

The 10-20% of soldiers who suffer from PTSD. Or the fact that more U.S. soldiers have committed suicide than have died in combat. We could even discuss why in the hell 57% of soldiers who experienced traumatic brain injury have not been evaluated by a physician.

More specific to this situation, though, is that the U.S. government — initially under the executive power of George W. Bush and now under the leadership of President Barack Obama – repeatedly sends troops into combat in unstable condition and when women are raped, children are murdered and limbs are torn from innocent men, they offer sincere apologies and say that the guilty parties will be punished.

Yet the real guilty parties, our imperialistic government who feels that it’s perfectly normal to murder presidents of sovereign nations in clandestine night raids, bomb schools for Down Syndrome and send drones to blindly massacre innocent children in the “name of war,” continue to make poetic speeches about “progress.”

This is not to say that Robert Bales deserves a pass. To assume that just because a person potentially suffers with mental illness that they are capable of more heinous crimes than the next person is to perpetuate the stigma that surrounds psychological disorders.  It’s my opinion that Bales should receive a full psychological evaluation, and if he is deemed fit for trial and found to be “sane” in the minutes before the killings, he should be found guilty on all charges.

As should the accomplices who sent him back into combat.

“We have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.”

Those are the words of President Barack Obama as he stood 7,000 miles away at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, to discuss the strategic partnership agreement signed between the United States and Afghan governments. Though the words sound pretty, in a country whose president calls us “disgusting assassins,” what exactly do they mean, Mr. President? We have troops killing women and children in their sleep, taking pictures with and urinating on corpses and burning Qurans — and you say that we can see the light of a new day? I fail to see how the actions of Bale are any different than the crimes carried out in the name of the United States of America every, single day. If our entire system isn’t placed on trial, this will happen again.

Murder is murder is murder – even when it’s draped in a United States flag.


  • Ash

    @QoC No, mental illness is not an excuse for crimes, but it can be a huge mitigating factor when deciding punishment. I can’t see SSG Bales getting the death penalty with his issues; more like life without parole. It just irks me because articles like this make the lot of us seem like murderous, psycho thugs. This guy knew right from wrong to some extent.

    I really do think civilians fail to see the role they play in all of this. Dumb voters are responsible for a lot of the issues we have going on. An all volunteer military was never meant to fight a war (or wars) as we are now.

  • modern lady

    I agree with you 1000%!

  • http://Hiphopconsultants.com BryghtB

    Like Tae said this is a very touchy subject and it is case sensitive. The stresses that soldiers go through are often times swept under the rug. Treatment is expensive so when a soldier comes to a medical facility with an inch deep wound and receives a bandaid it can be interpreted that his voice isn’t being heard. My husband was recently discharged from his service in the military which was a true blessing. In his experience, he was to sacrifice all that he had mentally and physically for a country that did not acknowledge that he needed help. He sought help with his depression and was told he wouldn’t be seen for a month due to appointments being limited. Do you know what could happen in a month? This has been the experience of many soldiers that we know. The time finally came for him to check himself into the hospital because he wasn’t being treated properly. The priorities of this country are all driven and consumed by money at the expense of innocent citizens trying to make a change for themselves and their families. All of the systems in this country work at a disadvantage because the agenda is all wrong and they try to hide the fact that we are dying here on our own soil, which I am starting to believe, is what they wanted all along.

  • Ladybug94

    Your response was very well put and thank you for your service. As a former military dependent to a career soldier as well as coming from a family where the majority are in the military I can affirm the effects war has on a person. My dad was not the same after
    Viet Nam, however he was still sent to more tours up until his retirement. These soldiers have to be rotated in and out of multiple tours, there are not enough people enlisted to not have to do this and people don’t realize the effect this has when you are still suffering from stress from one tour and haven’t completely dealt with it before being sent over again. PTSD has a stronghold on the mind that people don’t understand if you have not experienced it or have someone close to you experience it. Everyone wants to complain about the photos taken of soldiers with the corspses of terrorist but we need to remember this is a war and war is not nice. It’s not like playing the game battleship, it’s brutal. I’ve also had an uncle die as a result of driving over a mine. I could go on but I won’t I just hope others will be more understanding of what our soldiers go through. Hoooah.

Read previous post: