U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians

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  • Thread starter fellupahill
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  • #1
fellupahill
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http://wtvr.com/2012/03/11/u-s-soldier-kills-16-afghan-civilians-karzai-says/

As an infantryman in the army, I dealed with situations like this a lot. But it was always haji on haji killings. Never a fellow US Soldier. I just dont see anyone letting something like this happen. When a man is degrading to that point, people notice. Especially people as invested in your stability as your squad(You never get yourself killed, you get your buddy killed). I dont understand how someone gets to that point, and no one stops him. It all seems too whitewashed. Ive personally witnessed the US Militarys upper brass cover, and contort the truth many times and so have all of you. Im convinced this has to be the case. Somehow this event is tied to their agenda. Don't ask me how, but if this ACTUALLY happened and this ACTUALLY hurt the coalition's real agenda then we would not have learned the truth this quick. It would have been covered up. Accusations of an enemy stronghold would have been made. All this information is flowing around a little too unobtrusively.

Things just dont add up.
 
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  • #3
fellupahill
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Fixed, thanks.
 
  • #5
Bobbywhy
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fellupahill, I salute you for your past military service.

I have read many news media versions of what happened in Afghanistan regarding the killing of Afghani families by one US soldier. There are photos disseminated by independent news agencies of dead and burned children. Images like these speak far louder than any words written about the event. From the information already released, the soldier went outside his base heavily armed and wearing night vision equipment, entered three individual homes, and assassinated sixteen Afghani citizens including four women and nine children. The soldier then returned to his own base, turned himself in, and admitted the killings. It is an extraordinarily shocking story, and bound to have huge effects.

In Afghanistan we can expect a massive outpouring of anger, rage, and violence against all foreign coalition personnel. In the United States and Great Britain there will be increased demands to leave Afghanistan to the Afghanis.

fellupahill, even though in your experiences you have seen military brass cover-ups, where is the evidence this event is “tied to their agenda”. Your justification, “Don't ask me how, but if this ACTUALLY happened and this ACTUALLY hurt the coalition's real agenda then we would not have learned the truth this quick.” does not seem to make any logical sense.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-killings-20120312,0,2649151.story
 
  • #6
jduster
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Let's get one thing straight.

This is an isolated incident. It does not represent the U.S., the U.S. military or the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan as a whole.

There are thousands of fatal car crashes each year but those are isolated incidents, not related to the concept of driving cars in general.
 
  • #7
lisab
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Let's get one thing straight.

This is an isolated incident. It does not represent the U.S., the U.S. military or the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan as a whole.

There are thousands of fatal car crashes each year but those are isolated incidents, not related to the concept of driving cars in general.

You're right. It's just one guy, one incident. But the relevant question is, how will the Afghans feel about it? And more importantly (for the troops stationed there) - what will their reaction be?

I have a very bad feeling about it.
 
  • #8
Bobbywhy
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jduster, no doubt you are exactly correct: tens of thousands of coalition soldiers have served honorably and correctly in Afghanistan and the murders in Kandahar saturday are an abberation. The consequences, however, are going to be monumental!

Remember, the Afghani view, including the Taliban, of military occupiers is quite different from those in the West (coalition forces). Additionally, the entire Moslem world of >One Billion faithful will all see this terrible event as as attack by Christians on them. So sorry to bear such dreadful news.
 
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  • #9
jduster
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jduster, no doubt you are exactly correct: tens of thousands of coalition soldiers have served honorably and correctly in Afghanistan and the murders in Kandahar saturday are an abberation. The consequences, however, are going to be monumental!

Remember, the Afghani view, including the Taliban, of military occupiers is quite different from those in the West (coalition forces). Additionally, the entire Moslem world of >One Billion faithful will all see this terrible event as as attack by Christians on them. So sorry to bear such dreadful news.

Yes that is entirely true.
 
  • #10
dipole
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Let's get one thing straight.

This is an isolated incident. It does not represent the U.S., the U.S. military or the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan as a whole.

There are thousands of fatal car crashes each year but those are isolated incidents, not related to the concept of driving cars in general.

I disagree. You all signed up for these wars, you all traded your civilian lives for a paycheck and the benefits of being in the military. I think all soldiers share a responsibility in these kinds of atrocities, because you all willingly participate in the war machine which creates these horrible scenes of death and human suffering.

This isn't Vietnam, no one can claim they got drafted and didn't know what they were in for. And seriously, have a little respect - instead of being so concerned with how people are going to view the U.S. military, how about a little concerned for 16 innocent people murdered in their own homes senselessly?
 
  • #11
lisab
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I disagree. You all signed up for these wars, you all traded your civilian lives for a paycheck and the benefits of being in the military. I think all soldiers share a responsibility in these kinds of atrocities, because you all willingly participate in the war machine which creates these horrible scenes of death and human suffering.

This isn't Vietnam, no one can claim they got drafted and didn't know what they were in for. And seriously, have a little respect - instead of being so concerned with how people are going to view the U.S. military, how about a little concerned for 16 innocent people murdered in their own homes senselessly?

Will you feel the same way if it turns out the shooter had mental illness or a similar extenuating circumstance?
 
  • #12
dipole
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Will you feel the same way if it turns out the shooter had mental illness or a similar extenuating circumstance?

Yes because there's no excuse for the military to put a gun in the hands of someone like that.

That's a pretty big cop out of you, is it not possible the guy was just a complete bastard?
 
  • #13
gravenewworld
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Let's get one thing straight.

This is an isolated incident. It does not represent the U.S., the U.S. military or the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan as a whole.

There are thousands of fatal car crashes each year but those are isolated incidents, not related to the concept of driving cars in general.

Riiiight, what flag is on his uniform when he was pulling that trigger? Incidents like this can mar everything we stand for. Nobody remembers any of your good deeds over the long run, but what IS remembered is when one of our people wearing our uniform kills a bunch of children. There's no excuse for this, just as there is no excuse for the mass killings of civilians by US soldiers during the Vietnam War at Mai Lai.
 
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  • #14
gravenewworld
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Will you feel the same way if it turns out the shooter had mental illness or a similar extenuating circumstance?

Not a viable excuse either. We shouldn't be putting mentally unstable people behind rifles in countries that aren't ours.
 
  • #15
lisab
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I disagree. You all signed up for these wars, you all traded your civilian lives for a paycheck and the benefits of being in the military. I think all soldiers share a responsibility in these kinds of atrocities, because you all willingly participate in the war machine which creates these horrible scenes of death and human suffering.

This isn't Vietnam, no one can claim they got drafted and didn't know what they were in for. And seriously, have a little respect - instead of being so concerned with how people are going to view the U.S. military, how about a little concerned for 16 innocent people murdered in their own homes senselessly?

Will you feel the same way if it turns out the shooter had mental illness or a similar extenuating circumstance?

Yes because there's no excuse for the military to put a gun in the hands of someone like that.

That's a pretty big cop out of you, is it not possible the guy was just a complete bastard?

Asking you a question is not a cop out.

Your logic is all over the map here. In your first post, you emphatically stated "all enlisted personnel share a responsibility" for this horrible act by this one guy.

Then you shift the responsibility to whoever put a gun in this guy's hands.

In both cases though, you're spreading the responsibility pretty thin.

It's perfectly acceptable to be angry -- I am too. But keep this in mind: we don't know the facts yet.
 
  • #16
fellupahill
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Let's get one thing straight.

This is an isolated incident. It does not represent the U.S., the U.S. military or the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan as a whole.

There are thousands of fatal car crashes each year but those are isolated incidents, not related to the concept of driving cars in general.

Come on now people. Use your heads.
There is a much higher percentage of douche bag, backwards thinking, screwups in the military. Its just how it is. We are not trained to be police officers(thats not true, they try to train us), we are trained for combat. A vast majority of the men in my unit would not have passed the psych evals to become a police officer. Now we are asking a bunch of unstable killers to POLICE CIVILIANS. Put us in a war fighting bad guys. Nazi's were can handle. The US Government and the members of the boards at Haliburton and Lockheed and Martin have us wasting tax dolars, and our servicemen and the iraqi and afgani civilians are the ones spending the bloodmoney.

*** Unstable killer is an exaggeration.

Edit: Screw bad guys or nazi's. I would have settled for fighting anyone with a uniform. Cause when all the people who are trying to kill you and your buddies look a certain way its easy to group others in the same category.

Being a soldier in the US Army is hard once you realize one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.
 
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  • #17
fellupahill
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fellupahill, I salute you for your past military service.
does not seem to make any logical sense.

Would you say the same if I said that the Chain of command decided to lie to the american people and a dead soldiers family just to keep moral up? There were no logistical or strategic, much less logical reasons for lying about friendly fire in Tillmans case.

Like I said guys. We don't let things that will make our eye look black without a fight. Unless its planned.
 
  • #18
chiro
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I'm not going to judge someone for being in the military, or anything else but regardless of what you do, you have to take personal responsibility for your actions.

If the guy killed 16 people, then he murdered 16 people: simple as that. The fact that they were civilians including children to me is disgusting in the sense that it is weak but that's another story not relevant here.

I don't know if the guy will face a trial of any sort (I doubt he will face conviction for this and spend time in prison), but never the less he made a decision and he has to seen as personally responsible for his decision.

I don't agree with the military, but I am aware that the world doesn't work like a utopia so I understand it's 'role' in such a 'world' of insecurity.

The thing is, I see a lot of these people go into the military only to find out the hard way what they signed up for, and although these people did some bad things by many people's standards, we should be thankful for the ones that 'tell it like it is' to the rest of us: these kind of people are telling us 'what really goes on in the world' and quite frankly I don't think the military industrial complex wants a bad PR campaign against them.

Sometimes the truth is so horrible, that everyone needs to hear it and see it in its unedited form and unfortunately I don't think most of us in some societies even know or actually realize the extent of even 1% of what the world is really like.

I think if people really ever saw what a lot of the soldiers ever see overseas, it would be so horrifying if we dehumanized people ever got horrified. We all think it's cool to watch James Bond sip a Martini after he's killed 20 'bad guys' on screen, but they don't want to accept what the real world is like and the responsibility that comes with changing it.

But for any military people reading this, you should know what you signed up for. If you want to deny what you did or justify it in any means, that's your business and I certainly don't know anything about you in any way so anything I say about you is going to be null and void for all practical purposes but I will say this: you should have known somewhere in your mind what you signed up for and whatever choices you have made are your own ultimately.

This guy can say whatever he wanted to, but he will no doubt have to face up the fact that is he personally responsible for his actions one way or another which will probably be between him and God.
 
  • #19
Bobbywhy
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Would you say the same if I said that the Chain of command decided to lie to the american people and a dead soldiers family just to keep moral up? There were no logistical or strategic, much less logical reasons for lying about friendly fire in Tillmans case.

Like I said guys. We don't let things that will make our eye look black without a fight. Unless its planned.

fellupahill, you have brought to this discussion a seven-year old example of military cover-up (the Tillman case). You are using that to imply some planning to cover up facts in this case in Kandahar on Sunday, 11 March 2012.

You have not given any references or sources for this speculation, and you have not made it clear it is only your opinion. The most recent P&WA Forum Guidelines prohibit this.

If you have some evidence of a cover-up now will you please post it?
 
  • #20
Ryan_m_b
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Let's get one thing straight.

This is an isolated incident. It does not represent the U.S., the U.S. military or the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan as a whole.

There are thousands of fatal car crashes each year but those are isolated incidents, not related to the concept of driving cars in general.
jduster, no doubt you are exactly correct: tens of thousands of coalition soldiers have served honorably and correctly in Afghanistan and the murders in Kandahar saturday are an abberation. The consequences, however, are going to be monumental!

Remember, the Afghani view, including the Taliban, of military occupiers is quite different from those in the West (coalition forces). Additionally, the entire Moslem world of >One Billion faithful will all see this terrible event as as attack by Christians on them. So sorry to bear such dreadful news.
Bobbywhy don't you see a contradiction between agreeing with jduster about this being an isolated incident i.e. not to tar everyone in the U.S. military with the same brush and saying that all Muslims will see this the same way? :rolleyes:

Personally I feel so sorry for the father who came home to find his children, wife and parents dead. There are no words for how devastating that must be. The real question is how this man's instability went unnoticed; was it unavoidable, were current protocols not followed, are current protocols not sufficient etc?

On a mod related note please pay attention to the rules, discussions on cover ups for which there is no evidence are not allowed. Anecdotes are not evidence.
 
  • #21
Char. Limit
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Wait, really? A mentally broken U.S. soldier kills 16 innocent civilians and all we can think of is blame and cover-up? What kind of sick monsters are you people? God, at least mourn a little first before throwing around yet another insane conspiracy theory. And then we get posts like this:

I disagree. You all signed up for these wars, you all traded your civilian lives for a paycheck and the benefits of being in the military. I think all soldiers share a responsibility in these kinds of atrocities, because you all willingly participate in the war machine which creates these horrible scenes of death and human suffering.

This isn't Vietnam, no one can claim they got drafted and didn't know what they were in for. And seriously, have a little respect - instead of being so concerned with how people are going to view the U.S. military, how about a little concerned for 16 innocent people murdered in their own homes senselessly?

War machine? Really? And to say that all soldiers bear the responsibility of one is just absurd. But let's take it to its logical conclusion, shall we? Clearly you're saying that all people in a profession, in this case soldiery, are responsible for the actions of one member. So if I, someone who works at a pizza store, brutally murder 16 people, clearly it's the responsibility of all pizza store workers, right? I mean, that's what you're saying.

On the other hand, I can't argue with the second paragraph - or most of it, anyway.
 
  • #22
AlephZero
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But let's take it to its logical conclusion, shall we? Clearly you're saying that all people in a profession, in this case soldiery, are responsible for the actions of one member. So if I, someone who works at a pizza store, brutally murder 16 people, clearly it's the responsibility of all pizza store workers, right?

That's not a good analogy. Everybody in the military (certainly in a "boots on the ground" role, which is what the OP seems to have done) goes through an intensive basic training program which is meant to alter their behaviour, with regard to things like unquestioning acceptance of the chain of command, overcoming their natural reluctance to kill, etc. Clearly this process is more effective for some people than others.

It doesn't seem very surprising to me that some people will continue with that mindset when they are back in civilian life, even if it isn't entirely appropriate.

Team members at a pizza store may also go through an induction process that is meant to change their behaviour of course, but the two sets of objectives are hardly comparable.
 
  • #23
Char. Limit
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That's not a good analogy. Everybody in the military (certainly in a "boots on the ground" role, which is what the OP seems to have done) goes through an intensive basic training program which is meant to alter their behaviour, with regard to things like unquestioning acceptance of the chain of command, overcoming their natural reluctance to kill, etc. Clearly this process is more effective for some people than others.

It doesn't seem very surprising to me that some people will continue with that mindset when they are back in civilian life, even if it isn't entirely appropriate.

Team members at a pizza store may also go through an induction process that is meant to change their behaviour of course, but the two sets of objectives are hardly comparable.

The analogy was the best I could come up with, even if it is somewhat inaccurate. The premise that he's going off of is still absurd, in my opinion.
 
  • #24
rootX
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My comments are same as one I had for Koran in the last thread:

The troops who burned Koran shouldn't have been there in the first place. After ten years of continuous involvement in that region U.S. should have bit higher standards on who get to work in that region. But there will always be idiots home/serving abroad who will do something to endanger U.S. interests and U.S. troops in M.E.

Fortunately, there isn't any unrest yet (BBC).

The person who killed 16 civilians should be put to trial in Afghanistan IMO.
 
  • #25
russ_watters
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Rootx, the reason are troops are there is the reason we can't turn him over for local prosecution: Afghanistan does not have the stable, functioning government required for a real trial.

The Constitution applies to American servicemen in war.
 
  • #26
russ_watters
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That's not a good analogy. Everybody in the military (certainly in a "boots on the ground" role, which is what the OP seems to have done) goes through an intensive basic training program which is meant to alter their behaviour, with regard to things like unquestioning acceptance of the chain of command, overcoming their natural reluctance to kill, etc. Clearly this process is more effective for some people than others.

It doesn't seem very surprising to me that some people will continue with that mindset when they are back in civilian life, even if it isn't entirely appropriate.

Team members at a pizza store may also go through an induction process that is meant to change their behaviour of course, but the two sets of objectives are hardly comparable.
Are you suggesting this soldier was following orders? Otherwise your critique of the analogy is misplaced.

Either way, it is beyond illogical to blame everyone who served for the actions of a rogue.
 
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  • #27
Ryan_m_b
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On Channel 4 news they've just reported that the soldier came from the same base (in the US) where a series of soldiers who in recent years have been trialled for murder of civilian came from. Apparently at the same base the medical officer was sacked (perhaps last year, I couldn't hear properly) for failing to notice signs of psychological instability in recruits. If I can find a link to a written article of this story I'll post.
 
  • #28
This isn't Vietnam, no one can claim they got drafted and didn't know what they were in for.

Actually, a whole lot of people CAN claim that, because the average 18, 19, 20, etc...year-old, who join the infantry in particular, oftentimes do not have the first clue what they are really signing up for. And while not drafted, many are stop-lossed, meaning that if you joined the infantry for say three years, then decided you wanted to get out, you can't right now.

And seriously, have a little respect - instead of being so concerned with how people are going to view the U.S. military, how about a little concerned for 16 innocent people murdered in their own homes senselessly?

I think people are saddened for everyone who has suffered from this tragedy.
 
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  • #29
That's not a good analogy. Everybody in the military (certainly in a "boots on the ground" role, which is what the OP seems to have done) goes through an intensive basic training program which is meant to alter their behaviour, with regard to things like unquestioning acceptance of the chain of command, overcoming their natural reluctance to kill, etc. Clearly this process is more effective for some people than others.

It doesn't seem very surprising to me that some people will continue with that mindset when they are back in civilian life, even if it isn't entirely appropriate.

Team members at a pizza store may also go through an induction process that is meant to change their behaviour of course, but the two sets of objectives are hardly comparable.

But what has training people to kill got to do with meaning everyone in the military is responsible for the actions of one soldier? And especially a military like the U.S., which is one that goes out of its way to train the soldiers not to kill civilians? Heck, the U.S. Navy even goes out of its way to not hurt marine life. If a Navy ship hits a whale by accident, they will try to help the whale. Police officers are trained in using various levels of force as well. If some rogue officer abuses their authority and injures someone, does that mean all police officers share blame for the rogue officer?
 
  • #30
Ryan_m_b
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But what has training people to kill got to do with meaning everyone in the military is responsible for the actions of one soldier? And especially a military like the U.S., which is one that goes out of its way to train the soldiers not to kill civilians? Heck, the U.S. Navy even goes out of its way to not hurt marine life. If a Navy ship hits a whale by accident, they will try to help the whale. Police officers are trained in using various levels of force as well. If some rogue officer abuses their authority and injures someone, does that mean all police officers share blame for the rogue officer?
I don't think it's fair to people to argue that everyone should share the blame (as you and others have pointed out this is unfair and nonsensical) however I would be interested to know if there was some failing by superior offices or medical staff to recognise this man's condition (assuming that he has indeed undergone a breakdown as opposed to just being an evil murderer, it hasn't been confirmed yet).
 
  • #31
I don't think it's fair to people to argue that everyone should share the blame (as you and others have pointed out this is unfair and nonsensical) however I would be interested to know if there was some failing by superior offices or medical staff to recognise this man's condition (assuming that he has indeed undergone a breakdown as opposed to just being an evil murderer, it hasn't been confirmed yet).

He has a wife and children, I would think (and HOPE!) it was a breakdown. But superior officers and medical staff can only go so far in determining whether someone is on the brink.
 
  • #32
russ_watters
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On Channel 4 news they've just reported that the soldier came from the same base (in the US) where a series of soldiers who in recent years have been trialled for murder of civilian came from. Apparently at the same base the medical officer was sacked (perhaps last year, I couldn't hear properly) for failing to notice signs of psychological instability in recruits. If I can find a link to a written article of this story I'll post.
I saw that - that is very troubling. It is definitely possible for an improper culture to foster or fail to defend against this sort of problem.
...however I would be interested to know if there was some failing by superior offices or medical staff to recognise this man's condition...
I'd bet money on it.
(assuming that he has indeed undergone a breakdown as opposed to just being an evil murderer, it hasn't been confirmed yet).
Same diff, at least as far as your previous point goes.
 
  • #33
arildno
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I hope that, according to US military tribunary law, this guy will get a bullet in his head.
 
  • #34
lisab
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I hope that, according to US military tribunary law, this guy will get a bullet in his head.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me the gravity of his crime definitely opens that possibility.
 
  • #35
Drakkith
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Would you say the same if I said that the Chain of command decided to lie to the american people and a dead soldiers family just to keep moral up? There were no logistical or strategic, much less logical reasons for lying about friendly fire in Tillmans case.

Like I said guys. We don't let things that will make our eye look black without a fight. Unless its planned.

This is nonsense. You have no idea what the current military is like. We have ZERO control over any news agency unless it involves something crazy top secret.(In which case it isn't even the military, but federal law) Which this isn't.

A perfect example is the 6 nuclear weapons flown from Minot AFB to Barksdale AFB back in 2007. The information was given to the news and got out without any control by the military. Why? Because that's the way it works.

The fact of the matter is that nothing is 100% foolproof. Why didn't his comrades and chain of command see this coming? Who knows. It's possible he didn't show the normal signs. It's possible he did and they simply got missed. It's possible he didn't just "snap".

In the Air Force we have yearly classes on Suicide Prevention where we are taught the signs and what to do. Yet people still commit suicide. NOTHING. IS. FOOLPROOF.
 

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