Video: A thrill-killing in Afghanistan?

posted at 8:36 pm on September 29, 2010 by Allahpundit

I want you to see the clip because this will be a very big story very soon, but I don’t know what to say about it that isn’t completely obvious. No one’s been convicted of anything yet, a lesson worth bearing in mind after the early rush to judgment about the guilt of Marines charged in the Haditha incident. No one’s claiming that this is anything but an extreme outlier in terms of how troops behave in the field, although of course the allegations about fatigue, brain injuries, and drug use will prompt some soul-searching about whether active-duty soldiers are getting the help they need to cope with stress. No one’s denying that war crimes do happen, or that they should be punished appropriately. There are no grand conclusions to be drawn. The clip simply is what it is, and what it is is horrifying.

On the tape, Winfield describes the fatal encounter with the Afghan civilian for which he is charged. “He seemed friendly, he didn’t seem to have any animosity towards us,” Winfield says. “Brought him out, sitting in the ditch. Me and Morlock were behind the berm … Sergeant Gibbs said, ‘This is how it’s going to go down. You’re going to shoot your weapons, yell “grenade,” I’m going to throw this grenade. After it goes off, I’m going to drop this grenade next to him. That’s it.’ So he had two grenades on him.”

Investigator: “OK.”

Winfield: “So, we’re laying there and Morlock told me to shoot, so started shooting. Yelled ‘grenade,’ grenade blew up and that was that.”

Investigator: “Who gave you the order to shoot?”

Winfield: “Morlock … and we fired once he said ‘Shoot.’ Grenade blew up. Sergeant Gibbs threw the grenade; it blew up and then he came over, shot the man probably two more times in the head.”

Winfield said that Gibbs told him after the killing that he was part of the group.

Investigator: “Did he ever hold against you that you killed a man?”

Winfield: “No, he told me I was a made man after that.”

Five men have been charged with the premeditated murder of three Afghan civilians (seven other soldiers are up on lesser charges), so there’s at least a possibility that the finger-pointing at Gibbs, the staff sergeant alleged to be the ringleader, in their confessions is driven by a desire to reduce their own potential sentences by finding a scapegoat. I hope that’s what’s happening, actually, because the idea of a guy like the one they describe wandering around, killing for fun and taking body parts from his victims as souvenirs, is straight out of the Ted Bundy playbook. One of his men said of him, “He likes to kill things. He is pretty much evil incarnate.” If they’re telling the truth, he’s right.

ABC has a few other short videos from the confessions. Brace yourself, seriously.

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Comment pages: 1 2

There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. (Sun Tzu)

No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country. (Alexis de Tocqueville)

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Makes you wonder what would have happened if President Bush had authorized an atomic strike on 9/12…

Seven Percent Solution on September 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Innocent until proven guilty. The one in the video is under the charge of murder himself. If he’s willing to kill for no reason, how hard is it for him to lie?

We prosecute our criminals. We have standards, we have Codes of Conduct and Laws of War. We also have Rules of Engagement.

However, 3 months of Bootcamp don’t always correct 18 years of piss poor parenting.

The military has high standards, those who don’t live up to them fall below those standards and are not worthy of the uniform they wear. The military didn’t fail, the individual did.

Murder is not taught in any bootcamp, that I can say without reservation.

Hog Wild on September 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

It will be interesting to see if there is an attempt in the old media to tie Bammie directly to this, as they tried to tie President George W. Bush to Abu Ghraib. Will they be asking -’what did Obama know and when did he know it?’

slickwillie2001 on September 29, 2010 at 9:48 PM

And no one died at Abu Ghraib.

I wonder if we have become so desensitized to all this that there will be less outrage today than a few years ago.

Terrye on September 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

If true, this is absolutely horrible and the men charged should be put to death.
However, this is one platoon. It should not used (although it will-but, perhaps not since Obama is President), it should not be used as a smear of our troops.
There have been other war crimes of US soldiers. Several even in WWII of troops killing unarmed POW’s. Here is a link to just one:
Biscari massacre http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biscari_massacre

So, how will the media handle such a horrific crime in our military while Obama is President?

JellyToast on September 29, 2010 at 9:56 PM

ted c on September 29, 2010 at 9:53 PM

Not that close anymore these days. But that does not exonerate them either. In Iraq and now Af=Pak small teams, a squad, perhaps, with a staff sergeant in charge are doing most of the scutwork.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 9:58 PM

here has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. (Sun Tzu)

No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country. (Alexis de Tocqueville)

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Really? How long did it take to end the Indian wars? Centuries?

The thing is that if we just say we are tired of all this and there is no winning here and we boogie out of that place, the Taliban and AlQaida will come right back in there…why wouldn’t they? And they will have proven that they won and that we don’t have the patience to fight this war.. We might as well just tell them they can kill a few thousand Americans with impunity on a regular basis. After all, there are 310 million of us..it will take them a long long time to kill us all…so why bother fighting them at all?

Terrye on September 29, 2010 at 9:59 PM

I don’t know why this would be a big story. Crimes occur all the time in every society, and I see no reason to expect a complete absence of them in military organizations.

AcronisF on September 29, 2010 at 10:01 PM

Makes you wonder what would have happened if President Bush had authorized an atomic strike on 9/12…

Seven Percent Solution on September 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Think of how many innocent civilians that would have killed. I doubt if it would have made him a popular guy, here or anywhere..and most of the people who are saying we should not fight this war would never have supported anything like that..ever. They just want to go home and forget the place, like we forgot VietNam..but then again, I don’t think these people will let us forget them.

Terrye on September 29, 2010 at 10:03 PM

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 9:27 PM

Let’s review. Allah posts a horrible story about American soldiers murdering innocent civilians and taking souvenir body parts and your reaction is, essentially, “What’s the big deal? We do that all the time.” I’m sure you probably think this is a bold and pragmatic defense of our armed forces but, trust me, it isn’t. If you don’t believe me, ask John Kerry.

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 10:06 PM

RINO in Name Only on September 29, 2010 at 9:45 PM

I hear ya, I guess I’m just surprised that incidents such as this occurring in a severe combat zone (not that it’s been proven yet) are shocking to anyone. It’s war.

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 10:06 PM

Let’s review. Allah posts a horrible story about American soldiers murdering innocent civilians and taking souvenir body parts and your reaction is, essentially, “What’s the big deal? We do that all the time.” I’m sure you probably think this is a bold and pragmatic defense of our armed forces but, trust me, it isn’t. If you don’t believe me, ask John Kerry.

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 10:06 PM

No, what he said is that it happens and despite peoples shock, it will continue to happen due to human nature.

sharrukin on September 29, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Not that close anymore these days. But that does not exonerate them either. In Iraq and now Af=Pak small teams, a squad, perhaps, with a staff sergeant in charge are doing most of the scutwork.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 9:58 PM

no, they are, they’re close. I served in an infantry BN in both AF and IZ. There may be a squad alone somewhere, but there is certainly C2.

ted c on September 29, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Really? How long did it take to end the Indian wars? Centuries?

The ‘Indian wars’ can hardly be considered wars.

The thing is that if we just say we are tired of all this and there is no winning here and we boogie out of that place, the Taliban and AlQaida will come right back in there…why wouldn’t they? And they will have proven that they won and that we don’t have the patience to fight this war.. We might as well just tell them they can kill a few thousand Americans with impunity on a regular basis. After all, there are 310 million of us..it will take them a long long time to kill us all…so why bother fighting them at all?

Terrye on September 29, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Our staying in Afghanistan doing this fool’s errand Islamic Nation Building malarkey is not enhancing America’s liberty. It is degrading it.

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 10:10 PM

ted c on September 29, 2010 at 10:08 PM

In this instance, you really think a 2LT or CPT would have been within easy hailing distance when this went down? Something is missing from this picture if they were.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM

I don’t know why this would be a big story. Crimes occur all the time in every society, and I see no reason to expect a complete absence of them in military organizations.

AcronisF on September 29, 2010 at 10:01 PM

I agree. There is no reason for this to be a big story, and this type of behavior is extremely rare in the military. The only ones who think this is an important story and want to keep it in the news are the usual suspects who want to smear the military and make our brave and heroic soldiers all look like cold blooded killers.

Gabe on September 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Winning hearts and minds.

echosyst on September 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM

quagmire.

I’ll say it because the media won’t.

I can only hope this is a hoax.

booter on September 29, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 10:06 PM

ROFL again.

Let’s review: The taking of “human” souvenirs in war is nothing new, and although it should cause outrage for what it means to the rep of the military, you wouldn’t bat an eye at some old WWII geezer telling you about mounting a Japanese skull on his Jeep’s radio aerial. Don’t be naive.

You would write it off as something that happened back then, just as you might, and I definitely would, excuse airstriking a building full of terrorist gunmen even though you had a good hunch there were civvies inside too.

I’m not condoning it, I’m not approving it, I’m saying it happens all the time so don’t fall into a swoon when you read about it. It’s war.

Shouldn’t you be calling the cops now?

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 10:15 PM

In this instance, you really think a 2LT or CPT would have been within easy hailing distance when this went down? Something is missing from this picture if they were.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:11 PM

No, but there is a LT or CPT that KNEW where these guys were and what they should’ve been doing. There should be a report, an AAR, a hotwash and barracks witnesses. Either the PL didn’t have full situational awareness of what this squad was doing, or he was misled by his NCO, and maybe by his PSG as well.

ted c on September 29, 2010 at 10:15 PM

I don’t know why this would be a big story.
AcronisF on September 29, 2010 at 10:01 PM

Wishful thinking.

“We had to do drugs because our Sargent made us kill people!”

The alibi is certainly incredible, but then again so is everything every addict ever says. That doesn’t necessarily make it the Story Of the Century.

logis on September 29, 2010 at 10:20 PM

AcronisF on September 29, 2010 at 10:01 PM

In the aftermath of 9-11 it became pretty routine for those who never were to take time out to thank a soldier or call all our soldiers in uniform heroes. It grated me then, and still does. Alan Colmes had a bad habit of calling every military person a “real hero” until toward the end of his stint with Hannity. Irked me. A lot.

Yes, almost all of the men and women in uniform with whom I served were some of the finest (at times crazy entertaining) folks I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and mix it up with. And, I served with and met along the way a good number who were indeed real heroes, at least in my book, and by the assortment of color they had on their chest. But, in every platoon, every company, and certainly every battalion, there were enough Cat-4′s to make you worry what was going to happen when they issued live ammo when the time came.

Most were mustered out at the earliest opportunity. A good number re-upped a time or two before they were declared ineligible for re-up. But, heroes? Just because they wore the uniform? Not. It ain’t the uniform that makes the hero. Sometimes that uniform can be an effective disguise or camouflage for more sinister things.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:22 PM

But, heroes? Just because they wore the uniform? Not. It ain’t the uniform that makes the hero. Sometimes that uniform can be an effective disguise or camouflage for more sinister things.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:22 PM

i agree. Merely serving should not be a reason to bestow virtuous attributes to people, because its certainly not right. Serving is truly honorable, but it is something that one should be honored to do…not as a means to inflict pain and maiming upon other humans.

ted c on September 29, 2010 at 10:24 PM

There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. (Sun Tzu)

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Most people who quote ‘Sun Tzu’ (Sun Wu) don’t seem to know his nation of Wu was utterly obliterated by the Yue not long after his time.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Mark Steyn had a great column a few years back lamenting the fact that everything journalists know about war comes from Hollywood movies about Vietnam. If my father – a veteran of Korea and Vietnam – were here, he’d say you had no effing idea what you were talking about. I know it’s important to impress the other kids, but try not to do so without slandering the people who made the world safe for you to be a total imbecile.

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Not going to beat a dead horse, but…

Just pulled this out of my desk drawer…it’s an oldie but is part of a packet I got at 7th Army NCO Academy at Bad Tolz back in the day.

Parts of it, The NCO’s Creed, include the following:

“No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers.

I will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the NCO Corps, the Army and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself.

Competence is my watchword.

My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind — accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers.

I am aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer.

I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role.”

If this incident is found to be true, ANY NCO involved is as responsible as the first guy to fire a round or toss a grenade in this incident.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:42 PM

Look at the terror plot that was hopefully just broken up. They planned and trained for those missions under extreme duress. Now imagine what Afghanistan is going to be like the day we leave. One big terrorist training camp again. This time, on steroids as the joy of defeating the two great Satans on home turf. People better be prepared for the consequences of running walking away. It doesn’t take a great intellect to predict what will happen.

TheBigOldDog on September 29, 2010 at 10:43 PM

In the aftermath of 9-11 it became pretty routine for those who never were to take time out to thank a soldier or call all our soldiers in uniform heroes. It grated me then, and still does. Alan Colmes had a bad habit of calling every military person a “real hero” until toward the end of his stint with Hannity. Irked me. A lot.

That is a pretty weird thing to be “irked” at. Have you ever served in combat? Would you also say that those brave men who are killed in combat are not fallen heroes serving our country? If so, why would those willing to risk their lives serving in combat also not be considered heroes?

Gabe on September 29, 2010 at 10:46 PM

It’ll be Abu Ghraib on steroids eventually….

Yakko77 on September 29, 2010 at 10:47 PM

“Change is coming”

Words spoken at a rally by Barack Hussein Obama on 9/28/10

Key West Reader on September 29, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Gabe on September 29, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Read the entire post once again, please.

It irked me because it most often came from those who prior to 9-11 had nothing but contempt for our military members.

Posted about it back on CQ before we came over to HotAir.

The entire point being that just because one wears a uniform he/she is not a hero. And, if you look at the tooth to tail rati, even these days, you’ll find that for every man/woman on firing line there are still dozens well back who never heard a shot fired at all…and even among these there are a few who are not the sort of people you’d want in your battalion let alone your squad or section.

And, of course, there are indeed thousands and thousands of men and women in uniform today who are doing the unimaginable for the unworthy and asking nothing more than to be able to come home when the job is done, having done it honorably.

And, yes, I am a vet.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:54 PM

I wonder if we have become so desensitized to all this that there will be less outrage today than a few years ago.

Terrye on September 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM

God, I hope not. These soldiers deserve a fair trial. But if they did what is purported, they need to pay the price. There is never a need for what is alleged here. There is never a good reason. Murder is murder, even if in a war zone. I hope it turns out that it’s a mistake, but I’ve seen these guys out and around Afghanistan. I’m afraid it might get even worse.

hawkdriver on September 29, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 10:41 PM

That high horse of yours gets any taller and you are going to scrape your head on the ceiling.

Of course you’re the only one here who has family that served in Korea and Vietnam, and of course they were involved in every combat action that took place, right? Not a chance that they might have missed a few fights here and there, perhaps not served as a witness to every single instance of battlefield brutality? No no, of course not, you’ve got to stick with this hypersensitive thing you’ve got going.

So what do you think, a guy mailing home a Japanese skull to his wife from the Pacific theater, war criminal or not? If you saw it in a book I’m certain you would break down in tears, maybe lock the doors just in case the guy lives next door.

You poor thing.

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 10:58 PM

hawkdriver on September 29, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Now there’s a HA name I’ve not seen in a while. Still out there? Stay safe.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:59 PM

And, of course, there are indeed thousands and thousands of men and women in uniform today who are doing the unimaginable for the unworthy and asking nothing more than to be able to come home when the job is done, having done it honorably.

And, yes, I am a vet.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:54 PM

Understood. I still think, though, that those serving in combat willing to risk their lives are definitely heroes and that anyone killed in combat is a fallen hero.

What bothers me about this story is that it is used by those in the media to smear all the troops serving. That will be the only reason this story gains traction.

Gabe on September 29, 2010 at 11:03 PM

Most people who quote ‘Sun Tzu’ (Sun Wu) don’t seem to know his nation of Wu was utterly obliterated by the Yue not long after his time.

DarkCurrent on September 29, 2010 at 10:37 PM

So should we not quote Jefferson and Adams and Madison then? Obama is trying to obliterate their nation and could succeed.

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 11:08 PM

Gabe on September 29, 2010 at 11:03 PM

My fervent hope is that this will be found out to be an updated sort of Scott Beauchamp type of story…all lies put out by a guy with serious psycho-social issues.

Otherwise, the damage on this one will go a long long way before it is over. Nothing like giving the bad guys yet another rallying cry for their god-awful jihad, but giving a anti-American rallying cry to those who we are supposed to be helping, that’s a lot worse. And giving more ammunition to the Left is certainly not a good thing, either.

I hope to God this is all made up out of whole cloth.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:09 PM

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Oh I’m safe now. Home, and will probably never see the elephant again. I’m not the one you need to worry about now.

My heart goes out to the men and women of the Strykers, but my God they were an unsupervised bunch as of late. When they came in from weeks long patrols, they looked like the soldiers the old guys talked about from Viet Nam. They looked like hungry wolves and had that 1000 yard stare. I genuinely wooried that something like this might happen.

hawkdriver on September 29, 2010 at 11:12 PM

My fervent hope is that this will be found out to be an updated sort of Scott Beauchamp type of story…all lies put out by a guy with serious psycho-social issues.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:09 PM

As one can ascertain from your earlier comments, you of course, know that this is very unlikely.

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 11:13 PM

hawkdriver on September 29, 2010 at 11:12 PM

Good to know you’re back home.

The son of one of my oldest friends, going back to Basic, is a medic with 1/17 Inf, just got back. He noticed the same. Also said the terrain doesn’t help at all when you’re on the ground…after a mile or so, it all looks the same, time and time again, like the twilight zone, as he put it.

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 11:13 PM

C’mon, I can still hope. Can’t I?

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:25 PM

But, heroes? Just because they wore the uniform? Not. It ain’t the uniform that makes the hero. Sometimes that uniform can be an effective disguise or camouflage for more sinister things. coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 10:22 PM

Earlier in this thread, I voiced my opinion that Marines of 3/1 in Haditha in Nov 05 got away with punishable conduct. I know men in uniform can do bad things.

HOWEVER, you coldwarrior, disgust me.

This luxurious existence we live will be destroyed if we stop appreciating the warrior AND his job. There is NOBODY more important. Not teachers, not businessman, not doctors, NO BODY. Moral and competent warriors are THE ONLY thing that keeps man from his natural Hobbs-like state of evil.

Thus, the proper default reaction for the warrior, the true warrior, who undergoes PHYSICAL pain and puts his life in danger, PHYSICAL danger, and does it without complaining is to call him a hero.

Not all warriors will perform up to expectations. And when they don’t, they should be called out.

Not everyone can be a warrior. Without any sarcasm, I say that’s ok. Know your own capabilities, do what you are good at. But you better DAMN WELL appreciate how comfortable they make your life. And yes, call them heroes, until you know otherwise, they deserve it.

And you may have served in the military, Coldwarrior, and are simply engaging in self-hatred, but I get the feeling someone in uniform kicked your ass one too many times.

HDFOB on September 29, 2010 at 11:31 PM

And you may have served in the military, Coldwarrior, and are simply engaging in self-hatred, but I get the feeling someone in uniform kicked your ass one too many times.

HDFOB on September 29, 2010 at 11:31 PM

You sound silly.

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 11:38 PM

and angry.

Jeckle on September 29, 2010 at 11:42 PM

HDFOB on September 29, 2010 at 11:31 PM

Can you say with firm conviction that every single member of our armed forces is 100% pure of heart, good, filled with the warmth of human kindness?

Saw a number of troops over the years face hard time for a lot more than shoplifting at the PX shoppette. Saw a few NCO’s who made good money for not doing their assigned jobs, running side scams on new young troops whenever they could. Saw a few officers who rarely spent any time in the company area, expecting everything to be taken care of by the NCO’s so they could travel all over the place space-A while we had to scrabble to take even a short leave. Never had anyone in your unit ever given a dishonorable discharge at any time?

Why a person puts on a uniform is something only that person will ever know. Served with a few (before the Army stopped allowing it) who were given a choice by a local judge — one year at the county farm or three years in the Army. Had a few troops in my own company who we all knew could never be trusted with live ammunition…ever.

Ask anyone who served, at any time in our history, and yes, a lot of dirt gets into the military by hook or crook or accident.

At no time have I nor will I besmirch any who have served honorably.

And the crop of young men and women in uniform today are light years better than those I served with, myself, and a lot who went before me. That they are serving at all is a small miracle most of the folks in this nation will never realize nor understand.

So, get off the high horse about what you think I may have meant when I said whatever you thought you read.

I hope to God this incident never happened and it is indeed another NPR type of hoax, or the delusions of one very sick person. But if it is true, then let the hammer fall and fast.

But, assuming that every Tom, Dick and Sandra in uniform is some sort of super-citizen, a hero above all others just because they are in uniform is a pretty thin foundation.

Those who are the real heroes will be hard pressed to admit it; those who served honorably can justly acclaim their service….but remember always that for every battalion of honest hard-working damn fine troops there is going to be a squad or so of some of the vilest ugliest people you’d ever want to meet who’d sooner cut you off below the pockets than to offer you a light. I’d hardly equate them to heroes. Ever.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Unfortunately Michael Yon broke with this story via his Facebook account almost 10 days ago.

So I’m sorry but I think it is real.

Also I have to agree with both coldwarrior and hawk, simply wearing a uniform does not make you a hero.

Serving in combat might, to a civilian, but most who have been there that I have spoken with hate that title.

The universal sentiment, whether the veteran is 24-my best friend who served in IZ for 13 months and is headed back next year- or 90-my grandfather who parachuted into Normandy and over the Rhine-that I have heard is:

I was there, I got shot at/shelled/mortared/etc, I survived, big damn deal.

When my friend came home after returning from IZ his folks called him a hero-he told them not to ever again. It’s not that he is ashamed of his service or didn’t want to do what he did-intelligence analysis and repackaging to kill more bad guys-he just hates being called that. In his own words he just did the job he signed up to do. Some days it was good and some days irritating-but mostly just very very boring interrupted by bouts of sheer terror from incoming rockets and mortars.

I remember visiting him when he came home in January on mid-deployment leave-he ground his teeth a lot and was nervous as anything riding in my car and he screamed and cursed in his sleep.

Finally coldwarrior I also happen to agree with you about the presence of those who we used to jokingly call “the guy nowhere near me”.

Recruiters don’t (and can’t) catch everything and everybody that they should, nor does Boot or MEPS or AIT. After that, well as long as s/he isn’t overt about things it would take a miracle for someone to catch a person like that before they kill.

Also coldwarrior when did the Army stop allowing the choice of “Well Son you have to choose-jail or the Army”?

SgtSVJones on September 29, 2010 at 11:54 PM

There is always the possibility of an absolute nut making their way into a position of leadership. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen in the military as it can happen anywhere.

I am glad these soldiers have stepped forward to shine light on this. At least this was brought forth by the soldiers themselves and not from an external investigation or accusation.

It can be hard for a young soldier who is used to supporting their unit that they also have a larger obligation to a larger unit … the country.

crosspatch on September 29, 2010 at 11:57 PM

“It can be hard for a young soldier who is used to supporting their unit that they also have a larger obligation to a larger unit … the country.”

Meant: It can be hard for a young soldier who is used to supporting their unit to see that they also have a larger obligation to a larger unit … the country.

crosspatch on September 29, 2010 at 11:58 PM

Also coldwarrior when did the Army stop allowing the choice of “Well Son you have to choose-jail or the Army”?

SgtSVJones on September 29, 2010 at 11:54 PM

You mean it is still allowed? Right before I got out, 1980-ish, USAREUR had a major NCO conference and one of the things we were told was that TRADOC had put an end to that sort of thing, and Recruiting Command was advised to make sure it never happened.

Sheesh…are they at least screening them as to severity of crime committed prior to letting them on the bus?

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM

What bothers me about this story is that it is used by those in the media to smear all the troops serving. That will be the only reason this story gains traction.
Gabe on September 29, 2010 at 11:03 PM

As crazy as it sounds, the moonbat media are even more intent on discrediting the military now than when Bush was President.

Of course the neo-hippies never expected a Republican to take them seriously. But Obama was supposed to part the seas and make everybody love each other, and he isn’t doing any of that. So now the moonbats are getting restless.

logis on September 30, 2010 at 12:16 AM

You mean it is still allowed? Right before I got out, 1980-ish, USAREUR had a major NCO conference and one of the things we were told was that TRADOC had put an end to that sort of thing, and Recruiting Command was advised to make sure it never happened.
coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM

A total guess, but I thought that practice was stopped after Vietnam, as you said. From what I heard or read, it became too wide-spread and the bad apples were getting worse.

Feedie on September 30, 2010 at 12:31 AM

So should we not quote Jefferson and Adams and Madison then? Obama is trying to obliterate their nation and could succeed.

Luka on September 29, 2010 at 11:08 PM

Quoting strategy from a guy who’s nation got it’s ass kicked into oblivion isn’t particularly useful. That’s my point.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Quoting strategy from a guy who’s nation got it’s ass kicked into oblivion isn’t particularly useful. That’s my point.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 12:38 AM

That’s a very narrow minded judgment. You will miss a lot.

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 12:49 AM

That’s a very narrow minded judgment. You will miss a lot.

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 12:49 AM

How’s that? Can you read Chinese Luka?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 12:58 AM

How’s that? Can you read Chinese Luka?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 12:58 AM

Question is can he read Greek, or Hebrew? I hear the Bible was written in those languages.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM

If they have confessed, they’ll take a plea. If they don’t take a plea, charge em, convict em, and hang em high. Or just lock em up and throw away the key.

Disgraceful and repugnant is too kind if this is all true.

FlatFoot on September 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM

Question is can he read Greek, or Hebrew? I hear the Bible was written in those languages.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM

I hear the Vedas were written in various forms of proto-Sanskrit originally.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I hear the Vedas were written in various forms of proto-Sanskrit originally.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I’ve heard that to. Reading various translations regardless of the original language they may have been written in is always a good idea. You never know what you might miss.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:10 AM

How’s that? Can you read Chinese Luka?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 12:58 AM

Is there something in the water you have been drinking?

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 1:12 AM

I’ve heard that to. Reading various translations regardless of the original language they may have been written in is always a good idea. You never know what you might miss.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:10 AM

More homework… all of them?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:15 AM

More homework… all of them?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:15 AM

Well start with the Upanishads and hand in the rest by the end of the week.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Is there something in the water you have been drinking?

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 1:12 AM

Perhaps.

Tell me why Sun Wu is someone we should listen to.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:19 AM

Well start with the Upanishads and hand in the rest by the end of the week.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Already finished the Upanishads. Can I take a break?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:20 AM

Tell me why Sun Wu is someone we should listen to.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:19 AM

Shouldn’t you of all people be using Chinese characters for his name? Sun Wu is no more that than is Sun Tzu. As to whom you should listen to … well … how about Fred Sanford?

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Tell me why Sun Wu is someone we should listen to.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:19 AM

For the same reason Clausewitz and Machiavelli are worth reading. Of course they both come from nations that no longer exist (Prussia/Florence), but still worth reading.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:24 AM

Already finished the Upanishads. Can I take a break?

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:20 AM

Get your Abbot and Costello routine down right and then you can take a break.

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 1:25 AM

You mean it is still allowed? Right before I got out, 1980-ish, USAREUR had a major NCO conference and one of the things we were told was that TRADOC had put an end to that sort of thing, and Recruiting Command was advised to make sure it never happened.

coldwarrior on September 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM

A total guess, but I thought that practice was stopped after Vietnam, as you said. From what I heard or read, it became too wide-spread and the bad apples were getting worse.

Feedie on September 30, 2010 at 12:31 AM

I was referring to the “when it was stopped” as a question as some of the stories my granddad told me involved guys who became his buddies having that conversation with a judge before finding themselves in boot camp.

No I was not in any way shape or form saying that it is currently happening. At least not officially.

SgtSVJones on September 30, 2010 at 1:25 AM

Shouldn’t you of all people be using Chinese characters for his name? Sun Wu is no more that than is Sun Tzu.

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Sorry, I didn’t know you were literate.

孫武

My own name is 金泽武.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:30 AM

This is why open-ended wars of occupation aren’t something a free nation should engage in. We’ve been fighting over there longer than in Vietnam, and the strain and fear and hatred of all those years would warp even a good man somewhat. And we can’t expect every soldier to be a good man – these conditions can turn a bad man into a monster.

Wars of occupation and nation building have massive material costs, but the human costs are greater. These aren’t the sorts of wars a Republic that respects human rights can win. Even a brutal dictatorship like the Soviet Union, which was willing to kill tens of thousands to stabilize Afghanistan, was unable to build a nation there. It’s time to bring our troops home, do what we can to fix the psychological damage, and let the tribesmen over there fight over their dirt mounds as they have since long before the US existed, and will no doubt continue to do until Judgment Day.

Inkblots on September 29, 2010 at 9:07 PM

You must be a Ron Paultard to post this kind of drivel.

Conservative Samizdat on September 30, 2010 at 1:53 AM

y

ou wouldn’t bat an eye at some old WWII geezer telling you about mounting a Japanese skull on his Jeep’s radio aerial. Don’t be naive.

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 10:15 PM

So what do you think, a guy mailing home a Japanese skull to his wife from the Pacific theater, war criminal or not? If you saw it in a book I’m certain you would break down in tears, maybe lock the doors just in case the guy lives next door.

You poor thing.

Bishop on September 29, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Please stop saying this!
I’ve lived…awhile.
I’ve been in a lot of homes and known quite a few WWII vets and I’ve never seen or heard of any vet of WWII having or keeping, much less displaying proudly, souvenirs of war (atrocities) like this.

I’m with coldwarrior: something’s smelly about this story and the guy telling it has a political agenda that isn’t going to make the U.S. or the military look good.
I know that all of our troops aren’t angels, but they’re not cardboard cut-out characters in an Oliver Stone movie, either.
Michael Yon can bite me!
There’s a reason he was kicked out of the military’s press pool in Afghanistan.

Jenfidel on September 30, 2010 at 1:53 AM

Sorry, I didn’t know you were literate.

孫武

My own name is 金泽武.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:30 AM

Sorry, I didn’t know didn’t even know the right characters for your own name. Very sad. The correct characters for your name are -

山丘上的傻瓜

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 2:03 AM

You must be a Ron Paultard to post this kind of drivel.

Conservative Samizdat on September 30, 2010 at 1:53 AM

Sounds more like Allen West to me.

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 2:06 AM

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 2:03 AM

The correct spelling of my name is

金泽武

Remember it

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 2:11 AM

I know that all of our troops aren’t angels, but they’re not cardboard cut-out characters in an Oliver Stone movie, either.
Jenfidel on September 30, 2010 at 1:53 AM

That’s not true. According to The Greatest Soldier Who Ever Lived, the American troops he served with:

personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside.”

And if that’s the sort of thing that a U.S. Senator did, just imagine what all the rest of America’s soldiers are up to.

logis on September 30, 2010 at 2:14 AM

Tell me why Sun Wu is someone we should listen to.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 1:19 AM

For the same reason Clausewitz and Machiavelli are worth reading. Of course they both come from nations that no longer exist (Prussia/Florence), but still worth reading.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 1:24 AM

Shh… They’re busy having a linguistics nerd showdown. Bathwater is just a medium for throwing out dirty babies anyway.

I think the talk of the “sending skulls home” that folks have been talking about is this mostly centered on this one from Time (or Life, I forget which) from the 1940s.
http://www.yourememberthat.com/files/b48428f750ccb9c8.jpg

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

You must be a Ron Paultard to post this kind of drivel.

Conservative Samizdat on September 30, 2010 at 1:53 AM

I’m not much bothered by being called names, but you might have provided a counter-argument here. There’s nothing conservative about nation-building – in fact, open-ended occupations such as our presence in Afghanistan are the most inefficient, least conservative way of fighting the threat of Islamist terrorism. The 9/11 attacks cost Al-Qaeda roughly $400,000 to plan and carry out, while our counter-strategy – attempting to build a central state in Afghanistan where no central state has ever existed in the sense you and I would understand it – has cost nearly $400 billion so far. Any strategy that requires us to outspend our enemies by six orders of magnitude without actually succeeding in thwarting them is unsustainable and a recipe for ultimate failure.

The Soviet Union was willing to push things to the level of ‘indiscriminate slaughter’ in their own attempt to set up a central state in Afghanistan, and even they failed, and were driven into deep financial crisis by the expense of their failure. If a brutal autocracy couldn’t force Afghanistan into the semblance of a functional secular state, a free Republic sadly has little chance; and unless you’ve not been paying attention, we’re on the brink of financial oblivion as well.

A sustainable method of prosecuting the War on Terror would recognize that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are very different things. Let the warlords, power-brokers and theocrats fight over that pile of dirt to their hearts content, and bring our boys home. But make clear to the would-be kings of the hill that if they allow al-Qaeda training camps in the territory they control, we’ll bomb the camps as well as the folks who hold the territory back to the Stone Age – and we won’t be picking up the tab to rebuild for them, either. Maintaining a network of informants and paying for jet fuel will be far cheaper than building a state, and fear of destruction from on high will strongly disincentivizing any local players from letting foreign terrorists set up.

In short, I want international terrorists dead, but I couldn’t give two whits if Afghanistan has a massively corrupt election every few years. And funnily enough, we can afford one, but really not the other.

Inkblots on September 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

I think the talk of the “sending skulls home” that folks have been talking about is this mostly centered on this one from Time (or Life, I forget which) from the 1940s.
http://www.yourememberthat.com/files/b48428f750ccb9c8.jpg

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

Yeah. That’s the one and this one was mentioned as well.

http://www.ww2incolor.com/dramatic/Napalmed+Japanese+Soldier.html

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 2:19 AM

we’ll bomb the camps as well as the folks who hold the territory back to the Stone Age

This will require exactly zero bombs.

Perhaps a better solution would be to recognize that NGOs can be combatants representing a nation/ideology with no state.

That would probably lead to getting more international terrorists made dead.

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:22 AM

Shh… They’re busy having a linguistics nerd showdown.

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:17 AM

I plead Guilty.

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 2:23 AM

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 2:19 AM

But it really pales when you look at this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_war_crimes_during_World_War_II#Comparative_death_rates_of_POWs

The reason war crimes for the US are horrific is because they aren’t commonplace. Stalin’s rule of tragedy vs statistic could be modified to atrocity vs statistic.

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:25 AM

Perhaps a better solution would be to recognize that NGOs can be combatants representing a nation/ideology with no state.

That would probably lead to getting more international terrorists made dead.

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:22 AM

I think reviving Letters of Marque and Reprisal would also be a good tool in the war on Islamist terrorists. The free market can do a lot of things more efficiently than the government, and targeted killings may be one of them. For a fraction of the cost of most military operations, private groups authorized to act as agents of the government in killing or capturing major terrorists could take these guys without restrictive rules of engagement and without the PR problems using the official military often employs. Add that to the bombs and informants strategy, and I think we could make a lot of headway.

Inkblots on September 30, 2010 at 2:30 AM

CPL 310 on September 30, 2010 at 2:25 AM

I am not suggesting that atrocities were commonly practiced by the US. What I think is that when you send people to war they shut down in a manner of speaking due to the terrible things they see and sometimes have to do. That was more true in previous wars than it is now due to the larger logistics we have now, and lower intensity of the fighting.

Even police officers make jokes about things we would be horrified at. Its a survival mechanism to deal with what they have to.

sharrukin on September 30, 2010 at 2:35 AM

The correct spelling of my name is

金泽武

Remember it

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 2:11 AM

And I say it is 山丘上的傻瓜

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 3:14 AM

And I say it is 山丘上的傻瓜

Luka on September 30, 2010 at 3:14 AM

精神病

DarkCurrent on September 30, 2010 at 3:32 AM

A total guess, but I thought that practice was stopped after Vietnam, as you said. From what I heard or read, it became too wide-spread and the bad apples were getting worse.

Feedie on September 30, 2010 at 12:31 AM

The economy is so bad that you can’t even get into the Army these days without a very high ASVAB score. Enlistment bonuses are going away because they are no longer needed. Guys need jobs during the Dempression.

This guy being a SSgt, he came in when requirements were more liberal. Not any longer.

NoDonkey on September 30, 2010 at 4:11 AM

This kind of thing is just how you lose a War. These Idiots if held true are going to lose this war for us and cause AQ to have talking points to other uninformed Afghans to take up arms and fight the Evil Americans. This is going to be very bad for America. We must prosecute them fully and show the world this is not America.

Ed Laskie on September 30, 2010 at 4:32 AM

Why does all of this have to be trotted out in the press when we still have men in the field?

Boxy_Brown on September 30, 2010 at 5:23 AM

It won’t be as big as you think since Obama is President.

rob verdi on September 30, 2010 at 5:27 AM

We have the most effective fighting force on the planet not due to the arms and high tech, but to the trust we place in our soldiers. We press more authority downwards in the chain of command than any other regular army on the planet, and with that goes accountability, as well.

That is to the Courts Martial.

The laws of war we adhere to are strict on civilian treatment. Our enemy masquerades as civilians wearing no uniform, pledging allegiance to no Nation and, thusly, having no sanction behind them, and their credo is to put all people at risk to their attacks on personal whim. The fight in the martial realm, and yet adhere to no law save their own and are accountable to no one.

These acts are horrible and will get military justice applied to them.

The acts of our enemies are a danger to all mankind and we fight them to preserve ourselves, even if no others will fight beside to preserve themselves from those seeking to bring back Private War to all mankind.

Where is the contrast to the al Qaeda members going into a village, killing village elders, raping women and using their weapons to cause terror against the unarmed? Who is covering that? The stories we get from Michael Yon and the Long War Journal tell those stories from the eyewitnesses in places where we have thrown the enemy out and they are horrific beyond all measure.

We used to know how to deal with such enemies. We are too civilized to do the right thing and our MFM impugns our fighting force based on a singular instance going through the UCMJ. The very same MFM that could easily get the horrific stories of our enemies out, so we can see and hear about their horrific actions day in and day out… yet they give aid and comfort to our enemies. And that is the worst war crime I can imagine as it endangers all mankind with the threat of return to the law of nature without any of the laws of war.

ajacksonian on September 30, 2010 at 7:30 AM

NoDonkey on September 30, 2010 at 4:11 AM

ASVAB scores measure a person’s proficiency in certain skill areas – it is not a psyche assessment. 50% of potential recruits are disqualified because they are obese.

Following is from Huffpo but that aside it is an interesting interview with Gates about problems the mil faces.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/29/robert-gates-war-burdens-too-few-bear_n_744536.html

Bradky on September 30, 2010 at 7:32 AM

Maybe Zero should place a moratorium on all military ops and send a commission over to investigate this single incident. He could get some professors from Berkley and Harvard to participate, pass out some beer and then give a speech.

Kissmygrits on September 30, 2010 at 8:49 AM

This will be played up like My Lai II.

Aitch748 on September 30, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Firing squad. And bill their estates for the bullets.

Dave Rywall on September 30, 2010 at 10:13 AM

I know it’s important to impress the other kids, but try not to do so without slandering the people who made the world safe for you to be a total imbecile.

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Yes. This has got to be kept in perspective. We have almost 100,000 troops trying to survive in that arm pit of the world.

Get rid of the bad apples, and let’s get on with the mission.

labrat on September 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM

As a retired Vietnam Vet. this will be the Mai Lai of this conflict.

Hog Wild on September 29, 2010 at 9:55 PM succinctly highlights the situation better than CNN and the liberal media. “Murder is not taught in any boot camp, and 3 months of boot camp and cannot always correct 18 years of piss poor parenting.

Military training highlights that shooting a human being without just cause is murder and mentally vastly different than shooting at an animal to nourishment ones self or family, sport, or a paper pop-up target. Therefore, one must be absolutely sure of the situation before pulling the trigger.

While this sounds simplistic, during a fire fight situational awareness and a clear head is essential – especially when the enemy does not recognize the “Geneva Convention”, nor do they have any “Rules of Engagement” and dress like the civilian population.

Also, for the rest of U.S. I ask that the nation does not condemn all of U.S. for the unsavory act of a few.

REMEMBER: Our current enemy does not care one iota for U.S. and have publicly stated anyone that does not embrace their religion or way of life does not deserve to live – they murder.

There is plenty of blame to go around. But, I caution the media to be careful in what they say least they convict the wrong person.

MSGTAS on September 30, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Exactly how much crazy is required, Allah, before you feel obligated to send IP address to law enforcement? I’m not saying we’re there yet, but there’s something a little unsettling about a person who talks about collecting body parts and dead hookers as though everybody does it.

Infidoll on September 29, 2010 at 9:18 PM

You’re accusation that he’s talking about collecting body parts and dead hookers “as though everybody does it” is false. And you want him reported to the police? That’s pathetic. Get a grip.

Gang-of-One on September 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM

HDFOB on September 29, 2010 at 11:31 PM

One gets the not-so-subtle impression that this rant is just one small step from a demand to “Respect my Authoritah!!”

And BTW, most veterans with any real sense of history quickly realize that the grunt has long been underappreciated by the public, and LONG before Vietnam, too.

BradSchwartze on September 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM

If it’s true, there’s no other option.

Firing squad.

madne0 on September 30, 2010 at 1:58 PM

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