Are Afghan lives less important than Sgt Robert Bales ?

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales faces murder charges in the US, defended by a famous US attorney who promises to humanize Bale’s crimes. I am assuming that means ‘Diminished Responsibility’ due to combat stress as he had been to combat zones 4 times.  I guess there will never be any questions of the responsibility of the US Military in sending a proven alcoholic and and prone to excessive violence,  armed  with deadly weapons to go shoot at innocent Afgani’s in their own land.

President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan are right. Bales should have been tried in Afghanistan as the crime was committed against innocent non military Afghani citizens on Afghan soil. He is not protected by the Geneva Convention as the US has not declared war against Afghanistan. Instead Bales was immediately whisked away to the US before anyone could raise the issue.  Here’s what happened.

In the early hours of the morning darkness, a fully armed Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38, walked out of his protected US barracks alone and into two villages near Kandahar in Afghanistan.  He tried to open the doors of houses there, and then found two or more houses unlocked.  He had not met any of the families sleeping quitely in their homes.  He did not know them except as ‘the Afghan enemy’.  Then he did something unfathomable. He pulled out his rifle and started shooting directly at the sleeping families. Indiscriminately would be the wrong word.  For he aimed directly at them.  Men women and children.

When he had expended himself (or perhaps his bullets),  he poured inflammable liquid over the dead bodies riffled with bullets and left only charred unrecognizable corpses behind. He then quitely walked away and back into the US barracks.  An act in retaliation for some kind of bizzare inexplicable revenge that called back memories of the US soldiers that decimated the population of a whole village in My Lai in Vietnam.

Robert Bales had snuffed out 16 lives. Amongst them 9 children. And we don’t even know how many more are still fighting for their lives, or seriously injured.  They are Afghan after all, and therefore lives less valuable than Americans or other Nato troops. We will never know whether some of the victims woke up.  Never know whether some mothers were ruthlessly shot while trying to protect their little children, or whether the children were screaming or still dreaming.

We will never known because they were Afghan. Lives less important.

What went through Robert Bale’s mind as he walked back ?  Remorse ?  Does not seem like it.  Apparently he was completely calm. What did he think of the Afghan people. The enemy ? Sleeping children were the enemy ? What was he taught about a culture that President Obama repeats again and again. That his troops are there to protect. This one act lends a lie to those empty words.

The name of Staff Sergeant Robert Bales resounds in every media report, every paper all over the world.  Can anyone name one Afghan child that died ? Lives less important ?

Flown back to the US to reprisals from the Afghan people to be given a ‘fair’ trail, with a famous lawyer defending his case. He is not being treated as terrorist.  He is not being put in a ‘torture prison’ as an Aghan would have been had he committed the same act against the US forces in Afghanistan.

I completely accept that Bales snapped.  He was under combat stress.  Most troops are, its the nature of war.  This was his second tour of duty.  He had been drinking. He probably had a few bad conversations with his wife (don’t we all ?).  He saw his friend’s leg blow up earlier sometime. But what do you do to relieve that stress.  Kill sleeping innocent children ? No you don’t.

Not unless you have a genuine contempt for the very people you are there to protect. For they are lives less less important.

Lets consider a 38 year old Afghan man. Born in the same year as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales

He was born when the Mujahedeen, supported  by Pakistan, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US intensified their fighting against the Soviets , led by Babrak Karmal. He grew up in a country torn by war and strife, and probably saw more death and carnage as a child than we see on TV all our lives. Born in country engulfed by  a proxy war being fought on behalf of  foreign powers.

By the time he was seven years, half of the Afghan population had been internally displaced or become refugees in Iran or Pakistan. He probably lost more of his family and community to the war than we can care to remember in our life times. By the time he was 10, when most of us were struggling with Maths in school, he probably had to pick up a gun and fight for one side or the other if he wanted to eat.

By the time he was in his 20’s the US and Britain had launched a reprisals often amounting to war against the people of Afghanistan in the supposed search for Osama Bin Laden. I call it a war against the people of Afghanistan because the number of civilian casualties just rises everyday. Each day till today has been uncertain for him. And for his family if he has any left.  Each day there would have been just be one prayer.  God, please let my family be alive tomorrow.  Please let us have some food to eat tomorrow. Everyday, for 38 years of his life.

I call that extreme combat stress.

Yet if this unnamed Afghan man was to pick up a gun and do to the US troops what Staff Sergeant Robert Bates did to the Afghans, there would be no excuse. No trial. No understanding of the complexities of mental imbalance. No high powered lawyer to fight his case. He would have been riddled with bullets or thrown into the worst prison under extreme torture.

And he would not have a name.  For his would be a life less important.

President Obama has rightly taken a personal stand over the killing of 17 year old African American teenager Trayvon Martin shot dead by a white vigilante. Media all over the world knows Trayvon’s name. Can President Obama take personal responsibility for the 9 Afghan kids shot dead while sleeping in their mothers arms and then charred to death? Can any media in the planet even mention the name of one of them ?

Of course not. They are not Western. They are expendable Afghan’s. Nameless statistics.

Life less important

 

 

 

 

53 Responses to “Are Afghan lives less important than Sgt Robert Bales ?”

  1. austere says:

    That indeed is the way the cookie crumbles.

    The systematic breakdown of American society– another school shootout, another drive past shoot out, kids playing with guns and sometimes how sad these guns go off– is this what Karmic retribution looks like?

  2. Rinal says:

    That’s the power of power… A much subtle version of this is seen in our own country, isn’t it?

  3. Rob says:

    your artical is very thought provoking. Your statements about military service, the involment of the US in just about every land. But that alone is not that simple. We know about Sargent Bates because everyone including people in the middle east also want to know who did this. I am sure the names of the victims will come out just as the victims of 911 came out. If you remember, the names of the men that killed nearly 3000 innocent people in the twin towers came out first. That is human nature anywhere in the world. I and many people that I know here in Texas believe that we should have never gone to Iraq after 911, and now that we have killed the main people that were involved, we should leave afganistan. I think that restitution should be made by the US army to the victims familys. It can’t bring them back, but it is all we can humanly do. Until we can all see each other as the same and equal, this sort of thing will continue to happen.

  4. shekhar says:

    thank you Rob for your compassionate point of view. I wrote this because a lot of people in the world are asking the same questions and would love to have a sensible discussion amongst all of us in an increasingly polarized world

  5. Tarique Hassan says:

    Respected Sir,

    Every word of your article visualizes the whole event that surely happened on that bloody night in Afghanistan with those innocent lives, what a great psychological description of the monster Sargent Bates you did in this thought provoking article. But i also sense some dirty politics in this bloody night, because of the upcoming United States presidential election of 2012.

    Sir your article brought shiver down my spine and can’t believe what a human could do to human lives so selflessly.

    I read and heard in a news about this event couple of days ago and saw you tweeted about it also, but i was waiting for your blog and it was worth waiting bcoz this article showed what exactly happened that night and what went inside Bates’s mind and what had happened to the victims, specially to the innocent children who were dreaming for the better future and lives. Thank you a lot for your true voice, INSHALLAH the rest of the world listens to and not the paid news we see on TV and NEWS PAPER.

    Tarique Hassan

  6. Hi Shehkar Sir , I’m from India and yes it watched the same news on TV yesterday. It was simply brutal. As we know U.S government is doing good to protect the world from nuclear attacks and their own country from terrorism. But these kind of attacks are simply unbearable. US never understand that people except AMERICANS also have “Heart beating inside” and they have life . They are only concerned about lives of their citizens. Terrorists come up because of these kinda roughshoud attacks. This US govt kill people of other countries and consequently, US citzens have to pay the price for that .

  7. Robert Matheson says:

    I want to say that I want to support Staff Sargent Robert Bates. As a soldier who wanted to help his country was called upon way to many times. During war there are many incidences that are colleral damage during war and this is one. Whatever was his thinking it should be considered and released from his duty in the Army.

    Robert Bates is having a breakdown and needs our help, prayers and protection. Thank you SS Bates for you service. We wish you the best.

  8. Jagmeetsinghkhalsa says:

    Absolutely gutted after reading this ,
    Thanks

  9. kavithak says:

    Afghanistan Feb. 2012 — goo.gl/jdy6k

    Rob, you are right — until we can all see each other as the same and equal, this sort of thing will continue to happen.

    Invention of words like sorry and restitution are perhaps the gravest mistakes of human language, allowing havoc on humanity of mass proportions to slide without retribution of equal or greater force. What kind of restitution can possibly be *human* from an establishment that sets out as ‘protectors’ and then not only wreaks destruction on lives, but also strikes at the hearts and religious sentiments of communities they are meant to protect.

    What kind of high-handed arrogance is it to go to another land, destroy aspects of their civilization and explain it away as an ‘inadvertent’ act? Does the world see the burning of holy scriptures on Afghan soil as an act of *inadvertence* or an act of contempt masked in protectionist outfits?

  10. Mukund says:

    There is an inner conflict within humans that seems to just grow all the time with increasing demands and desires , the good virtues like forgiveness , love compassion trust seem to be eroding away in a very large segment of society . It’s therefore important to have maybe some sort of a revolutionizing force that can force us to change from within for the better .

    A degree of a socialist spiritualistic society is something we may want to try to evolve into , provided we start revolutionizing the inner mechanism that is not just based on survival cause as an educated and aware world citizen we me must have certain survival structure for every human existing on this planet irrespective of his cast creed nationality economic status and ability or disability.

  11. KayEm says:

    I cannot believe the lives of innocent, sleeping, Afghan kids were taken by this gun-totting low life – wherever he came from and that someone is actually thinking of saving it. Ugh

  12. Kumar says:

    Very thought provoking! This is disappointing to see that the sergeant was not branded as terrorist, and it just shows again the biased behavior of the US army/govt.
    And the way you compared the combat stress and portrayed the 38 year old Afghan man was simply amazing. Very well written and presented!

  13. dora says:

    until this day we have never found out how many adult males did he kill…..and why not?

  14. Milind says:

    The US has always stood for human values and the sanctity of human life. One would have expected that given the enormity of the crime, a fast track court should have tried him and awarded the necessary punishment.

    This not only puts the US in a bad light, it gives the Taliban a platform from which to mount a fresh attack against the US

  15. Punit says:

    Here i am seeing a country supporting its soldier,doing anything possible to save him.

  16. fawad says:

    I have lost my father and my two cousins during the US air bombs and Taliban suicide bombing attacks. Americans should realize that Afghans need humanitarian supports than this war on terror propaganda which runs by Pakistan (Taliban), U.S & Alqaeda. How many more must die? We don’t want Talibanization of the land, we need our dear Indian neighbors support. Thank you Shekhar ji.

  17. Ashwin Kukreja says:

    Very well put Mr.Kapur . Am not proud of my species . Not proud to belong to this species. Not yet…Praying for the day a global collective insight arises. Will it happen only if we are collectively threatened. I think yes.
    Unfortunately that will be the only unifying factor as of now. Hostile aliens please do come fast…cuz natural catastrophy pre-emption is still nation specific. Everyone is busy planning to cover their rear terminal, not realising that catastrophic implications are as connected across borders as good energy and bad energy are..

  18. dekho says:

    Nice Blog Mr. Shekh… first time writer long time reader…..kinda touched a nerve here so thought Id chime in with my 2 paisa….

    #1) I think Robert Bates Should be put to death…. 16 times

    In regards to your comment about Afghan Lives being less important… according to whom… the media? Maybe? According to the eye in the sky any life lost on our beautiful planet is another soul returning to its creator.

    Sure the Media IS NOT going to the Afghan villages and speaking with the parents of some of the children showing pictures of their rooms or in their sports uniforms, like they would in the US. They are not going to show each family member grieving, and show their tears like they would in the US – why ??? because that’s the media – and that’s not what brings ratings!!!

    What US decides to do to this jackass is their prerogative.

    Your deeds (in this case your misdeeds) will determine your outcome….

    Best,

    Dekho.in – are you .in ?
    Bollywood Social Network

  19. Mannie says:

    Lived in the west all my life,am of Indian origin but feel my life is valued is less than that of All white Anglo Saxon American. USA is becoming land of disparity between of human values. Rot has set in, Killer Sergeant Robert Bates is product of this rot. By the way strict US barracks protocol dictates cannot venture out alone under any circumstances therefore bate was not alone, according to witnesses there were six soldiers when the killing happened.

  20. sidharthaa says:

    after reading such an article,i wonder what we could do,how mine or sir,yours awareness would help to resolve such a thing,but surely this war of humanity against the inhumanity could possibly force us to think, to think about our inside n thats where will be the beginnings of good things!

  21. PS Randhawa says:

    Combat stress is always there in such operations. When you see your comrades falling. You are away from home. You have problems at home. There are senior officer howling orders on you or juniors bitching on you or openly defying you. What needs to be seen is the tipping point in each case. Every soldier has varied degree of resistance level.
    Of course it is not to justify what what Bates did. I hope you also know that there are number of cases in past few months where Afghan soldiers / policemen have killed American / US / NATO soldiers for no provocation whatsoever. A thought must also go for the sacrifices made by US and NATO soldiers who have lost their lives for what – To ensure peace prevails in Afghanistan; Maniacs Taliban are finished; Afghans have some semblance of good governance and Afghans manage their own affairs themselves. These aberrations / incidents should be not seen as isolated incidents but in totality of the entire gambit of peacekeeping in Afghanistan.

  22. It is indeed a difficult life for the people in Afghanistan, and this isn’t the first time in history that one country has taken upon itself to “do good” to another country. What one sees as mutiny and terrorism is seen by the other side as patriotism. My sense is that it may not be as simple as it sounds from the news reports. There is obviously no excuse for killing innocent people, but unfortunately, all we can do is post-mortem.

    Going forward, US or any other military force must do professional counselling for specific cases of mental discomfort in their combatants. I am sure this could have been averted if there was some psychological analysis done. These behaviours could be triggered, but the origins are often deep-rooted.

  23. samarpan says:

    Shekhar sir,

    How do you deal with such a person? Would you pity him for his lack of conscience or lash out for this ………. behavior?

  24. Adhoora khwaab says:

    It was a dreadful incident…though some can say that it was due to combat stress….and may be they are right..but nothing can justify the cold blooded murder of 16 innocents including 9 children…everything and every action has a reason behind it…but what so ever may be the reason…nothing can justify the life of 16 innocents…

  25. abhishek says:

    the staff Sargent is a victim like those poor afgan citizens. the real criminal are the very people on the top of our society, manifesting profit by war. governing the government. its all a bloody business. and now the news of providing the best defense lawyer to the ROBERT BALE is more of a melodrama to advertise this filthy business.

  26. Ritesh says:

    Wars are conceived by men who never or very rarely fight themselves..
    The price of these wars is always paid by men who at best are commoners..
    Justified or not, right or wrong, mine or yours…the debate can go on..
    It is a matter of perspectives…and we all think…mine is better than yours..

    As long as humanity prevails, so will greed..
    As long as greed prevails, so will the wars..
    The dead on this side, or on the other will only be numbers..
    Mine is worse than yours…the pain will go on..

  27. William says:

    The people of Afghanistan have suffered intolerably at the hands of many different groups for many years and this tragedy carried out by Sgt Bates is another example. He should receive his just reward in a quick and efficient fashion. In no way, shape, form or fashion do I condone his actions. That being said, the presence of the US military has benefited the Afghan people through action against the
    Taliban. Where is all the righteous indignation over the lives of the Afghan people brutally murdered, tortured, bombed and oppressed by the Taliban in the past and that continues today? The fact that the Taliban is a factor in the reaction to Bates’ despicable action is equally despicable and I only hope that the Afghan people will see the actions of the Taliban for what they are. Also, I hope that the Afghan people will think about what conditions there would be today if the American military was not present and what might happen when the American military leaves.

  28. Sadhaka says:

    I am sure Mr Bales will face consequences for his actions as he cannot escape his karma. I only hope that the US will show some courage, lose it’s selfishness and narcissism and uphold the value of human lives as equal; whether they are Americans or not, whether they are Christians, Muslims or people of any other faith; whether they agree with western values(or lack there of) or not.

    I read someone mention about collateral damage in the war; I ask that person if he would accept the death of US soldiers, citizens and may be his family and friends who may have died in the war in the same spirit? If your answer to this question is no, speak no more.

  29. Sadhaka says:

    I am not sure if Milind’s comment was true when he said US always stood for human values and the sanctity of human life; but i am sure US always stood for it’s presumed national interest even if it is against their constitution or its citizens.

  30. Priya says:

    In every warship it is not only about gunpowder and war tanks but also about the hopes of children,the future of the youth,the research of our scientists and the blood of our labour….this war destroy everything…and leaves nothing behind it…
    America has to understand those who are not Americans are also human, have feelings…
    they have killed the culprit of 9/11, now what more they want…Do they want to rule the Afghanistan?
    Inspite of behaving like a Dectator,Please be Human and kind to other countries…
    this shows only the naked and stupid show of excess power and nothing else………

  31. I wrote a similar post of ‘why did the US soldier kill 16 Afghans’. The rift in US-Afghanistan relationship started mushrooming after the Quran burning incident by NATO. Soviet style rallies and protests carried on for a week, demanding apology and eradication of the soldiers. Unlike his stand in Libya after NATO bombed civilian tanks, President Obama did apologise. It does not matter for the Pathans/ Pasthuns anymore because their radical indifference and nonchalance has been catalysed by stupendous momentum from such enraging acts of the west. Sectarian violence and civil war, and above all, the usage of Afghanistan to devastate Al-Qaeda soon after the country was breaking out from USSR’s clutches, leaves an indelible memory of pain. An opprobrium. http://shubhdachaudhary.com/2012/03/16/why-did-the-us-soldier-kill-16-afghans/

  32. Indiagenious says:

    Especially to Robert Matheson and other Bates apologists:

    This is a horrific event that should disgust anyone with an ounce of human decency. But not you, I see.

    “colleral damage”?

    How can you honestly consider murdering a load of civilians, including women and kids, in their sleep as an act of legitimate warfare? If it was your own, who were mowed down while asleep, by an Afghan “who wanted to help his country”, I am more than certain you would be baying for their blood.

    Afghanistan down through the years has come to be known as “The Great Game”, with one imperialist western state after another lining up to conquer the place and failing dismally. And this tragic incident speaks volumes about the mindset of the American forces deployed to “Operation Enduring Freedom” (what a sick joke that is!). They see themselves as a warrior for the “greatest nation on Earth”, humbled by a makeshift but highly disciplined army, who know their terrain like the back of their hand. And so, they snap under the confusion and pressure that this incongruous situation presents.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Taliban and their Pakistani handlers are a total bunch of scumbags, who deserve to be eradicated. But you certainly cannot dismiss their abilities. This soldier, who “is having a breakdown and needs our help, prayers and protection”, will, of course, be hung out to dry. The political imperative will demand it. But the simple fact remains that he and his fellow soldiers should NEVER have been sent there in the first place.

    Since this debacle commenced, ordered by the war criminal Bush and his cronies, 1,913 American soldiers have come home from Afghanistan in body bags. Shall we start a book on the date number 2000 will undertake that bleak journey?

    Now, all this is very easy to prevent it. NATO should get the hell out of countries where it doesn’t belong. Have you ever read the original NATO charter? Invading Middle Eastern and Asian countries is not mentioned anywhere. In fact, invading any foreign country is not mentioned anywhere. Its primary role was to defend Western Europe and Northern America from the Soviet threat.

    NATO was formed as a defensive organisation. Period.

    It became offensive and oppressive force. Period.

    So, GTFO!

    And, oh, please also say a “prayer” for the 16 Afghan civilians who were murdered in their sleep.

  33. Sanjeev Kumar Mishra says:

    Please accept the fact that, if you are not american then your life is not important, whether you are in India or Afghanistan or Pakistan or vietnam or Haiti or any where in the world. We are told not to retaliate when attacked in Mumbai but when they were attacked, they didn’t spend seconds before creating mayham all around the world.The total number of people got killed in Afghanistan, pakistan, Iraq is more than what Hitler did to Jews. This is genocide and we are victims and sometimes victimiser also.

  34. Gautam Samant says:

    A nicely written article as always Mr. Kapur. I personally think that what Bates did was unforgivable.
    Why should Mr. Bates get a free trial? He was fighting for his country, he was under combat stress.
    He deserves a fair trial more than Kasab, who was an enemy of the state. He came with a plan, killed indiscriminately, with a head held high and is still enjoying his Biryanis on my tax rupees.
    America owes Bates the benefit of doubt. In the people killed if there was one Kasab, he may have a case.

  35. Thank you for this. I have been once again deeply depressed and bewildered by everyone’s apparent disregard for the Afghan victims. Or the media’s disregard, at least. Your article is pointed and rings so true–if this atrocity were committed by an Afghan against US troops for example—never mind civilians—I doubt he’d get the same letter-of-the-law treatment.

    For years I have witnessed this phenomenon of Otherizing non-Americans, most recently during these two terrible wars. The NYT article today actually ends exactly at the moment when SGT Bales heads for the village–unintentionally perhaps, but very clearly indicating that the actual people who were slaughtered just don’t matter–all that matters is how could this happen, issues of PTSD, strain on soldiers, the US reputation tarnished once again, Sgt Bales’ pressures, etc.

    How can it be that people don’t see a child in Afgahnistan in the same way as a child here? If Sgt Bales had stepped into some US town and murdered a bunch of people you can bet that the victims’ names and laments for their lost futures would be splashed all over the newspapers. So is this a matter of the information being harder to get to, maybe? I’d like to think so. I would. But I find the hardened cynical core inside me saying it isn’t so–they are just Other, and not worth describing or mourning with any real depth.

    Thank you again, and I hope people share this blog widely.

  36. Josh says:

    Shehkar,

    A big fan, but… While it is easy to compare the situation the way you have, it is very limited. For every Bates there are thousands of soldiers who would never dream of performing such an atrocity. As for every suicide bomber, there are thousands of innocent Afghan citizens who would never dream to end their life in such a way. Just as there are Indian, Chinese, English, Russian, Brazilian, etc citizens who are capable of performing mass murders without question. But the actions of a very select few should never be represented as the views of the majority. When speaking of the US, let’s not generalize.

    No two sides are purely innocent in this conflict. Both have lost innocent lives, and unfortunately in this conflict, American perspective is more pronounced purely because America’s reach is greater. It has nothing to do with ignorance, as it does the involvement of mass media and the system and machine it represents. The US shows what interests its citizens, and the world’s mass media chooses to spread that information because the US is seen as a super power, worth talking about.

    As to the reversal, of an Afghan doing the killing to many innocent US citizens – it would be up to their government to protect them and offer justice to the deeds they performed. The government in Afghanistan is still in turmoil and underpowered. Hopefully there will be a time soon when it can stand on its own and offer its citizens basic protections. As the conflict reheats, I think we will see whether they can stand on their own soon enough. The war is not popular in the States or in Europe. The untold billions of dollars being poured into the military effort and the civilian effort is seen as wasted. In a time when resources are getting scarcer, I think we will see a “to each their own” mentality soon. But as we vilify the US, let’s not forget that they are the biggest aid givers in the world. That if we took all the other nations’ donations together, they still would not equal the US’s. Do not let moments erase lifetimes.

    What Bates did is an atrocity that further shadows the US efforts. Both sides want out and an end to this cycle of death. Hopefully we will see that soon. Let us not take away the inner depths of war and the emotions involved. This is not as easy as pointing at one small example to make a larger one. The “worth” of a man is in the perception of others; let us hope that from the ashes, Afghanistan will rise to become a country of large worth to all nations and people on Earth. It deserves it.

    If there is justice, and US citizens are calling for it, Bates will be justifiably executed.

  37. Amy Meier says:

    Who gets the label terrorist? What is the qualifier? I have said that Bates is a terrorist and gotten flack for it. He seems like one to me, even if he deserves sympathy for mental distress, PTSD, or psychosis. I have sympathy for all terrorists. I have yet to meet an evil baby, these people are all products of a life that seems totally hopeless or wrong at the most basic level.

  38. Horst Vollmann says:

    Hello Shekhar,

    reading about this unspeakable atrocity there is this instant, populist urge to condemn, to flail away at the perpetrator, the country he was raised in, the powers that had sent him to Afghanistan and to curse God for having put him on this earth. In all our righteous anger we forget that most of us are living in countries that in the past have been, and still are, sending young and not so young men out into this world to commit state-sanctioned murder. A large percentage of these men find it difficult to reconcile the order to kill with the stirrings of their conscience that implores them to say No. What we studiously avoid to acknowledge is the fact that many of these men suffer from psychological consequences which in our modern vernacular we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Syndrome, in short PTSD. Not all go around and wipe out whole villages or in the wee hours of a horrible day step into the huts of unsuspecting and innocent people to kill with such cold-blooded abandon as to defy the even most fevered imagination.

    When they come home the outer shell of their persona may still look the same but the core of their existence has assumed a different shape. Their emotional world, their ability to feel joy and happiness has forever been violated. They irretrievably have lost their innocence, the one we want to keep till we die, never to be recaptured again. Their sleeping hours are often marred by horrible nightmares and their days are filled with sadness and guilt over the loss of life they have caused. They no longer know how to smile.

    Nobody is ever prepared to go to combat. It is against all human instincts to have to aim a gun at a living being and snuff out a life. My father personified this ingrained impulse not to kill by always aiming his gun high or low to spare lives when he was forced to fight in WWII on the side of the Germans. He came home as an intact human being and still, the nightmares were there.

    None of what I am saying here should serve as an excuse for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. There is no excuse for someone who has lost his humanity. But what is one to do with the monsters among our societies? Should the U.S. cater to righteous and justified anger and hand him over (which was not done and I can understand why not) to be sentenced to hang by a jurisdiction that wants revenge? Or should they adhere to the code of civilized behavior patterns with the understanding that one wrong does not justify another.

    I believe it is a knee-jerk reaction born out of justified anger to think that an Afghan in the same situation would have been shot and not given a trial. Such or similar events have occurred in the past when no mob instincts were given the upper hand and trials took place that had anything but mock character.

    Such horrible tragedies remind us that humanity still has a long way to go towards a world that allows us to live in peace.

    Kind regards.

    Horst

  39. kirk says:

    Sad to say but if your information is correct, I agree….

  40. RajuK says:

    I sympathize with the lost lives on both sides in the war. As Lord Krishna said, “Yudh Kar” (“fight against injustice”), it seems war will be with mankind for years to come.

    As for the trial, someone asked on Yahoo answers, “Should we hold a posthumous trial for Osama bin Laden?”. There were very few respondents, and they all seem to be of the opinion, “no”. Here is the link, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110503090232AApU4IA.

    How do you think history will judge Obama for not putting bin Laden to trial?

  41. manisha says:

    thought provoking article…..

  42. Bob says:

    Josh, a little research on the internet would reveal that the US and other UN security council member states earn more from global arms trade than they give in charity.

    Hope you can see where the vicious cycle starts.

    http://www.globalissues.org/article/74/the-arms-trade-is-big-business#

  43. Vinit Tyagi says:

    Why don’t UNHRC move a resolution against US, the way they passed against Sri Lanka, after the video came out about killing of LTTE terrorist Prabhakaran’s son. This is also same type of war crime … Even much horrible …. This is clear violation of Human Rights. Where is UNHRC now ?

  44. Rudra says:

    Some Facts for the wooly headed :

    USA is not a signatory of the International Criminal Court. For a reason.

    Talban was created by CIA in the 1980s when it suited them. They also armed them and saw the otherway when China supplied Porkistan with Nuke technology.

    USA is everybody’s neighbour. And a neighbour not necessarily makes a good friend.

    NATO is in Afghanistan – because the Atlantic now laps the Hindu Kush Mountains.

    But if NATO and USA withdraw from the region , they will be supplanted by Islamo-Fascists of Pakistan and Chinese .

    Power Vacuum does not exist. India must and should ensure its region and littoral is firmly under its benign influence. The time for Power projection by India has come. But is it ready to Man up, take the Sceptre , Wield it and estblish a region of Peace , Sustainability and Dharma ?

    If it does not even identify its own inner strengths , does not state its identity clearly ( not the Marxist/Secular kichdi identity/non identity ), how can it then be a force of good in this world presided over by War Mongering civlizations and States ?

  45. Farid Khan says:

    Thanks for writing this article mr. Kapoor.

    As an helpless Afghan I can only agree with you.

  46. Pam Pickell says:

    My heart goes out to these families of violence and all people around the world dying like this eveyday in our own communities. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty ? What if this guy didn’t do this, reaaly didn’t do this! What if someone pulled him out of his bed took his uniform and gun, drugged him poured booze down him, ect ect Now you see ! We were’nt there! What if he didn’t do it. We have alot of white Muslim American’s in the Military! Think about it what if Sgt Bales was targeted? This is happening more and more in America , know what I mean?

  47. abhishek says:

    its sad how media plays around this whole Heart piercing matter with intense human emotion involved.
    and the best defense lawyer stuff is just advertising the unfortunate act. i don’t know what made sgt.bales do that but i do know what is this false advertising is for. The so called global POLICE (USA) which did and still does its petrol and policing in the name of ‘equality’ is just a veil. Its all a god damn business. And this so called trial is the raw material for its production. so that their(US) own people don’t go against them, to keep’em busy.

    I am thankful to this blog of your to convey this news while the news channels were preaching nonsense.
    thanks again.

  48. trucolors says:

    The writers point was made very clear- and recieved. As a female solider- I have another queiiton for you- I did take care of the wounded that survived that awlful day near Kandahar- but I also justthis week I took care of multiple wounded from an Afghan boy about 12 years old that walked into a military coliation formation with a suicide vest on and dentonated himself… what was is name? Does anyone know? No I do not- but where is the media of that coverage of carneage over her near Kandahar? or in the States. I see many Afghan wounded ANA, ANP that we take care of- and no mention of our medical service- we did not shoot them- they were shot by their Afghan brothers- again where is that in the media?
    How did that boy mentioned above get that suicide vest? If it wasnt from an adult Afghan male to serve a purpose? Death is never jusitifed definitely not to use the innocent as an explosive device.
    Media will always be one sided… but understand- there are plenty of Americans being killed- from trusting their “afghan counterparts” and the children that we try to teach and give supplies to- where is that story? I spent a year up North embedded with the Afghans as well prior to this deployment- I have had to put my trust in them as I worked with them- solider to solider- but even their lives were threatend for wanting us to help them.
    No life is better than the other- just different. Many Americans have been beheaded and placed on display on Al Jazzera, TV as justified killings- no one side is perfect or with out blame in this war.

  49. shekhar says:

    Thank you for your compassionate point of view (true colors) I am the writer of the blog and want to encourage a debate that is pointed , compassionate, well argued and finally comes t a point that people must be able to see each other’s point of view. I am going to take the liberty to put up your response as an Individual blog so it gets more attention, Thank you for your comments, Shekhar

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