News U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians

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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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.
 
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CAC1001

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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CAC1001

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?
 

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).
 
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CAC1001

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.
 

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.
 

arildno

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I hope that, according to US military tribunary law, this guy will get a bullet in his head.
 

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.
 

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.
 

arildno

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I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me the gravity of his crime definitely opens that possibility.
US system of justice has retained that absolutely necessary option, while we here in Norway cannot execute Breivik, or even condemn him to permanent life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Instead, we have to make silly judicial shenanigans, like declaring him "insane", in the hope that we can still call him "insane" 40 years from now.
Sorry for my off-topic rambling..
 

Bobbywhy

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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.
I extend my condolences to all the families and loved ones of those murdered on 12 March 2012 in Panjwai, Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The horrible killing of Afghanis by the American soldier is an isolated incident. The evidence for this is that tens of thousands of coalition forces have served during this war and not committed such a crime.

Most of the world’s Moslems will see this as “the way Americans behave”. Evidence of this is the reaction last month to our accidental burning of their holy book, the Quran.

The only difference between the first and the second is perception. No contradiction whatsoever; simply two diametrically opposed viewpoints.
 
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I don't want to derail this thread, but I do want to defend what the point I was making was (which may be off-topic here). It goes back to a simple question which I think came out of the Vietnam war protests - what if there was a war an nobody came?

Volunteers are what makes war possible, and it's volunteers that make possible all the horrible things that happen because of wars - even if their intentions are perfectly good or if they themselves are good people and try to act honorably. They are the foundation that the machine of war is built on, and their contribution indirectly leads to these kinds of things.

A lot of people think that's a ridiculous position, I happen to think it's an honest, albeit harsh one, but sometimes honesty means being harsh.

To address Char.limit's argument, it is flawed. The purpose of the pizza industry is to make pizza's. If one pizza worker goes out and kills someone, or if a house full of people get bombed by a pizza worker, that is far beyond the scope of the pizza industry. War, and the military, is designed to kill and destroy. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly are an inherent part of war - to support war is to support the death of innocent people. To support the pizza industry it to support delicious baked food. The analogy just doesn't work.
 

russ_watters

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...what if there was a war an nobody came?
That is unbelievably naive and historically wrong. The Afghanistan war was started on 9/11. The people who died in the planes and in the buildings that were hit did not do anything to "show up" for the war, but it happened anyway. The reality is that it only takes one side to start a war. It doesn't even matter if we were right or wrong for going into Afghanistan, the war was happening before we went. The same issue applies to virtually every war. One side chooses to start it, the other doesn't. Yes, we could have chosen a different action after 9/11, but choosing not to be at war was not an option.
Volunteers are what makes war possible, and it's volunteers that make possible all the horrible things that happen because of wars - even if their intentions are perfectly good or if they themselves are good people and try to act honorably. They are the foundation that the machine of war is built on, and their contribution indirectly leads to these kinds of things.
This is worse, for two reasons:

1. A person - soldier or otherwise - is responsible only for his own conduct. They have no control over the conduct of others unless those others are under their command.
2. Murder is not what soldiers sign up for. The crime that was committed here could not be clearer and bears no relation to what the soldier was signed-up to do. It doesn't even matter if he used his issued gun (I assume he did). More on that:
To address Char.limit's argument, it is flawed. The purpose of the pizza industry is to make pizza's. If one pizza worker goes out and kills someone, or if a house full of people get bombed by a pizza worker, that is far beyond the scope of the pizza industry. War, and the military, is designed to kill and destroy. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly are an inherent part of war - to support war is to support the death of innocent people. To support the pizza industry it to support delicious baked food. The analogy just doesn't work.
The flaw here is obvious: you've mischaracterized what "war" is. Murder is not an inherrent part of war. The action that is the topic of this thread is fairly unusual - that's why we're having this thread! Your inability to see the difference is the cause of your improper judgement.

Also, your logic applies to every industry, even if it wasn't applied all that well by Char (I personally think it was fine, though: delivering pizza is a dangerous business and it would be unsurprising for a pizza deliveryman to panic or go nuts and go on a killing spree). What you are saying would mean that all bankers are responsible for all financial crimes. All police are responsible for the misconduct of a few. And by being an engineer, I'm responsible for the Challenger explosion. It is beyond absurd.
 

Char. Limit

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I came here to defend my argument and found it already defended! Thanks, russ. I did smile at "delicious baked food", though. MMmmmm pizza.
 
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CAC1001

Turns out this guy had suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, but was cleared for duty again.

War, and the military, is designed to kill and destroy. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly are an inherent part of war - to support war is to support the death of innocent people. To support the pizza industry it to support delicious baked food. The analogy just doesn't work.
War when conducted by civilized countries is not about killing or even destroying, it's about trying to end the ability of the guy who is trying to destroy you to do so, which unfortunately often involves killing or destroying a few, but even then, they try to limit it to killing solely the people who are killers and the enemy's infrastructure. That is why civilized countries (liberal democracies) virtually never go to war with one another. It's usually with oppressive, militaristic countries or because of oppressive, militaristic countries. For example, Adolf Hitler's Germany in WWII, Imperial Japan in WWII, the Korean War was due to the communists trying to take over all of Korea and the North Koreans being backed by the Chinese and the Soviet Union, Vietnam again due to communists, etc...and in doing so, Western militaries go out of their way not to kill innocents. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly is an inherent part of humanity, but it is not an inherent part of modern warfare by civilized nations, who go out of their way not to do such things. If a Western army comes into a nation, it isn't going to murder, rape, pillage, or brutalize anybody. People would only be killed if absolutely necessary, which is usually those who started the war in the first place by murdering others.

Keep in mind as well that the strategy being applied in Afghanistan is to make friends with the peoples there to turn them against the terrorists in the region, who are very brutal to them. This strategy worked in Iraq, where Al-Qaeda was so brutal to the Iraqis that it turned even peoples who might have been inclined to ally with it against them. In conventional wars, blatant murder doesn't make sense from a logistical standpoint.
 
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?
Off topic, but then the Navy ship kills the whale anyway by blasting it with sonar, am I right?
 

Ryan_m_b

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Most of the world’s Moslems will see this as “the way Americans behave”. Evidence of this is the reaction last month to our accidental burning of their holy book, the Quran.
Nonsense, did you go round and do a poll? There are ~1 billion Muslims in the world spread across every continent. Judging them all by the angry mobs you see on TV is like judging all Christians based on the constant marches, protests, statements etc that certain groups make regarding trivial issues like contraception.
 
Turns out this guy had suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq, but was cleared for duty again.



War when conducted by civilized countries is not about killing or even destroying, it's about trying to end the ability of the guy who is trying to destroy you to do so, which unfortunately often involves killing or destroying a few, but even then, they try to limit it to killing solely the people who are killers and the enemy's infrastructure. That is why civilized countries (liberal democracies) virtually never go to war with one another. It's usually with oppressive, militaristic countries or because of oppressive, militaristic countries. For example, Adolf Hitler's Germany in WWII, Imperial Japan in WWII, the Korean War was due to the communists trying to take over all of Korea and the North Koreans being backed by the Chinese and the Soviet Union, Vietnam again due to communists, etc...and in doing so, Western militaries go out of their way not to kill innocents. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly is an inherent part of humanity, but it is not an inherent part of modern warfare by civilized nations, who go out of their way not to do such things. If a Western army comes into a nation, it isn't going to murder, rape, pillage, or brutalize anybody. People would only be killed if absolutely necessary, which is usually those who started the war in the first place by murdering others.

Keep in mind as well that the strategy being applied in Afghanistan is to make friends with the peoples there to turn them against the terrorists in the region, who are very brutal to them. This strategy worked in Iraq, where Al-Qaeda was so brutal to the Iraqis that it turned even peoples who might have been inclined to ally with it against them. In conventional wars, blatant murder doesn't make sense from a logistical standpoint.
Ideally. I doubt this is correct in practice.

The strategy you're thinking of is paying the Iraqis off from what I've read, not really anything to do with them thinking of us as friends.
 
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I believe its a common misconception that can read someone's intentions by their behavior. That somone should've 'noticed something' in cases like these. In hindsight people may think some aspect of their personality might have been an indicator, but that's just confirmation bias in my mind. No one can READ MINDS, not a trained psychologists or your best friend.

The USM had best court-martial and execute him publicly, quickly (and not painlessly by lethal injection). Its only a very recent thing that leniency has found its way into the armed forces and it's not a good thing in this case. How many good American soldiers will be killed in retaliation so he can get a 'fair trial'? A hundred years ago a soldier might be executed for striking a superior officer or stealing a civilians food. Now its possible to think one could get away with this with his life?

Not good if we want the places we occupy to tolerate us.
 
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Bobbywhy

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War when conducted by civilized countries is not about killing or even destroying, it's about trying to end the ability of the guy who is trying to destroy you to do so, which unfortunately often involves killing or destroying a few, but even then, they try to limit it to killing solely the people who are killers and the enemy's infrastructure. That is why civilized countries (liberal democracies) virtually never go to war with one another. It's usually with oppressive, militaristic countries or because of oppressive, militaristic countries. For example, Adolf Hitler's Germany in WWII, Imperial Japan in WWII, the Korean War was due to the communists trying to take over all of Korea and the North Koreans being backed by the Chinese and the Soviet Union, Vietnam again due to communists, etc...and in doing so, Western militaries go out of their way not to kill innocents. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly is an inherent part of humanity, but it is not an inherent part of modern warfare by civilized nations, who go out of their way not to do such things. If a Western army comes into a nation, it isn't going to murder, rape, pillage, or brutalize anybody. People would only be killed if absolutely necessary, which is usually those who started the war in the first place by murdering others.

Keep in mind as well that the strategy being applied in Afghanistan is to make friends with the peoples there to turn them against the terrorists in the region, who are very brutal to them. This strategy worked in Iraq, where Al-Qaeda was so brutal to the Iraqis that it turned even peoples who might have been inclined to ally with it against them. In conventional wars, blatant murder doesn't make sense from a logistical standpoint.
CAC1001: You were totally mistaken when you wrote:

“Western militaries go out of their way not to kill innocents. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly is an inherent part of humanity, but it is not an inherent part of modern warfare by civilized nations, who go out of their way not to do such things.”

Please visit the below websites and add up the number of deaths caused by deliberate bombing of civilian targets by Western nations. Included in the list are the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, War in Afghanistan, Gulf War, Yugoslav Wars, Chechen Wars, Iraq War, and other conflicts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_bombing_of_cities

Here add Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki for a total of Three Hundred Thousand civilian deaths by “strategic bombing”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_of_strategic_bombing

“Area bombing is a form of strategic bombing It could serve two distinct purposes: terrorizing civilians (see terror bombing), and diverting enemy's industrial and military resources from the primary battlefield to air defense.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_bombardment
 

russ_watters

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Off topic, but then the Navy ship kills the whale anyway by blasting it with sonar, am I right?
No, you are not, unless you back up your claim with evidence.
Ideally. I doubt this is correct in practice.
What is true is that to be at war against a developed nation has gotten spectacularly safer for civilians in the belligerent country over the past 50 years.
 

russ_watters

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CAC1001: You were totally mistaken when you wrote:

“Western militaries go out of their way not to kill innocents. People being murdered, brutalized, and killed senselessly is an inherent part of humanity, but it is not an inherent part of modern warfare by civilized nations, who go out of their way not to do such things.”

Please visit the below websites and add up the number of deaths caused by deliberate bombing of civilian targets by Western nations. Included in the list are the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, War in Afghanistan, Gulf War, Yugoslav Wars, Chechen Wars, Iraq War, and other conflicts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_bombing_of_cities

Here add Dresden, Hamburg, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki for a total of Three Hundred Thousand civilian deaths by “strategic bombing”.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_of_strategic_bombing

“Area bombing is a form of strategic bombing It could serve two distinct purposes: terrorizing civilians (see terror bombing), and diverting enemy's industrial and military resources from the primary battlefield to air defense.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_bombardment
Wrong. Note the timemframes of your examples. "Area bombing" by western nations hasn't happened since Vietnam. Unlike our enemies, we really do go out of our way to protect enemy civilians.

And you need to read your own links. For example:
"Gulf War

The Iraqi Air Force attacked Kuwait City in 1990 and bombed their own cities during the 1991 uprisings in Iraq, targeting civilians with the use of bomb-carrying helicopters (use of airplanes was banned by the Coalition).[citation needed]

UN coalition aircraft attacked targets in Iraqi cities, including in the capital Baghdad and the largest southern city of Basra.[citation needed]"

Saddam Hussein targeted civilians - we didn't.
 

russ_watters

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War is not organized murder, it is organized theft.
There is an old quote that I think is often true that says war theft writ large, but I don't see how it applies to this thread.
 

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