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Sunday, March 11, 2012

UPDATE: Fort Lewis Soldier Kills 16 Afghan Civilians, Including 9 Children

Posted by on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 10:04 AM

This can't end well:

A United States service member walked out of a military base in a rural district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday and opened fire on three nearby houses, killing at least 16 civilians, including several children, local villagers and provincial officials said.

The shooting risks further inciting anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and troubling a relationship that had already been brought to a new low by the burning of Korans at an American military base last month.

Ya think?

Americans burn some Korans, and so Afghanis kill some Americans.Then some American goes crazy and kills a bunch of Afghans. Wonder what comes next.

A decade ago, before we got distracted by Iraq, we had the opportunity to do the right thing in Afghanistan. But we blew it. It's well past time to get out.

UPDATE: The AP is now reporting the US soldier in question is from Fort Lewis. Local angle and all that.


Comments (65) RSS

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reverend dr dj riz 1
'In a separate episode, four Afghans were killed and three wounded on Friday when coalition helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents fired instead on villagers '
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on March 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 2
Oh no. Targeting civilians, I think that's against the rules.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on March 11, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Report this
@2 Only if it seems like an accident. If you can justify it as part of combat operations, then it's no big deal, and a fairly minimal amount of paperwork.

For example, during my first tour there, I was with a mortar platoon. Every night, we would fire illumination rounds to light up the area around the COP. The problem was, the illum rounds wouldn't burn out by the time they reached the ground. Sometimes they drifted into a nearby village and set the little shit brick huts on fire.

One night, a round went right through the roof and incinerated a 9 year old boy in his bed while he slept. The father carried his charred corpse to the COP and started screaming. We gave him $200 U.S., and he seemed satisfied by it.

Still, whoever went nuts and shot all those civies is going to make things harder for the rest of us. I go back in a month, so I'm not too pleased with the fucker.
Posted by jj41243 on March 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
"The fucker" may be looking at the death penalty for this.

Works for me.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on March 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Get the rest of them out, leave him there. He wants to commit crimes on their soil, he can be tried on their soil.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
treacle 6
But we *can't* leave... We have an entire pipeline to protect. Isn't that important to you too?
Posted by treacle on March 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM · Report this
Gern Blanston 7
Do you suppose the Republican candidates will be up in arms again if we apologize for this?
Posted by Gern Blanston on March 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
@4 The U.S. Military has - in effect, if not in actual law - abolished the death penalty. And despite what the hadjis are screaming about, there's no way he'll be handed over to the Afghanis.

As messed up and awful as this guy is, he won't die for this. I'd guess that he'll go back to the states, sit in jail for awhile while he's getting his psyche evals done - sit there long enough for the media to forget about this story - before getting his trial and either going to military prison, or, more likely, going to a psyche facility. He won't die there, either - I'd guess he'll be out in 20 or so years.

Don't believe me?

Remember the big hubub a few years ago about the FOB ramrod kill teams? Google it, if you don't. There was a big broohah over some soldiers killing civilians and taking trophies.

(As an aside, I'm now part of that brigade. Woot.)

Anyway, despite all the media exposure at first, the soldiers spent a long time in processing, long enough for the media to stop giving a shit. They finally got sentenced - I was there - and went to prison, but by then, no one cared.

Fact of the matter is, the military cares far less about the death of civilians than it does about getting a black eye from the media.
Posted by jj41243 on March 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Women and children are expendable and replaceable. The Koran is eternal.
Posted by BLUE on March 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
mikethehammer 10
I'm curious as to what the "right thing" is that we should've done a decade ago (and not trying to be a dick or confrontational by asking. The whole situation over there is just so fractious, dynamic and nuanced, I can't possibly imagine how it should have been handled. I mean, other than pretty much exactly pretty much the exact opposite of how we did.)
Posted by mikethehammer on March 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 11
Reuters is now reporting that there was a witness who survived. He says there were multiple soldiers shooting, not just one. This could get even more interesting.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on March 11, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Goldy 12
@10, As I see it, we had two reasonable options: Either 1) go in and quickly exact revenge on al Qaeda and bin Laden, and then quickly get out; or 2) go in for the long haul with overwhelming force, impose order, and immediately start nation building: roads, schools, water, electricity, sewage, and other basic infrastructure, along with the political institutions to maintain them.

We could've made a serious effort and investment in leaving Afghanistan a better place than we found. Instead, we took the half-ass course, and just became occupiers propping up a corrupt puppet government. You know, just like the Soviets before us.

The Taliban was not widely popular back in 2001. So we went in with some goodwill from a chunk of the population. But we blew our opportunity to do what no Western power has ever succeeded in doing. So we should admit failure, and get out before we make things even worse.
Posted by Goldy on March 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM · Report this
If my "mission" was to go to Crapistan and pretend I was going to convert those backward fucks to the first world I'd go apeshit too.
Posted by BetarayBilly2 on March 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
@13: You'd never make it past basic.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 15
Goldy @12 is largely correct.

I know a photographer who went to Afghanistan in 2003. At that time, there was still a lot of good will toward Americans. He traveled around openly, without escort (other than a translator), and was warmly greeted wherever he went throughout the country.

We have since that time utterly squandered whatever good will we once earned. Dipshits like this don't help, obvs. We need to get the fuck out with what little dignity we have left and be done with it. No good can come from staying any longer.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on March 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this

a decade ago we could have made Afghanistan a real paradise....
Posted by you are so full of shit on March 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
These sorts of incidents are more or less inevitable when you send young guys back for a third or fourth tour. Many of them have to be suffering PTSD and are unwilling to come forward and admit it. And who could blame them, look at that story out of Madigan Army hospital down at Lewis-McCord a couple of weeks ago where several hundred soldiers with PTSD were deliberately misdiagnosed as malingerers so they could be thrown out of the service with no benefits. If we fuck people up mentally with repeated tours of duty and don't take care of them things like this incident will happen. We should know that from previous wars, it always does but we don't learn from experience.
Posted by ratcityreprobate on March 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
seatackled 18

There are reports that it was several drunk soldiers.
Posted by seatackled on March 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
A decade ago, before we got distracted by Iraq, we had the opportunity to do the right thing in Afghanistan. But we blew it.

This blog post of Goldy's makes as much sense as everything else over the past 3 to 4 decades.

Goldy conveniently forgets that the once secular government of Afghanistan was destablized, thanks to Carter's signing a presidential directive to work with Saudi extremists to relocated Wahabist fundamentalists from that country to Afghanistan's northern border to foment trouble.

Then, both the Carter and Reagan administration financed the worst thugs in Afghanistan, the Mujahadeen, who would later morph to the Taliban, who killed all remaining securist types in that country who hadn't fled after the Sov invasion (academics, artists, professionals, etc.), thus wiping out its future for many years to come.

But then, Goldy, like so many others, both on The Stranger staff and commenters here, live on Sesame Street where knowledge has ceased to exist so they can live in perpetual bliss. (ignorant jackholes!!!!)

sgt_doom's ultimate reading list:

Wall Street Capitalism: A Theory of the Bondholding Class, by E. Ray Canterbery

Treasure Islands, by Nicholas Shaxson

Battle Hymn, by John Scura (The author doesn’t cover 100%, but does cover about 97% of everything!)

Trade, Development and Foreign Debt, by Michael Hudson

The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III, by David DeGraw

The Rich and Super-Rich, by Ferdinand Lundberg

Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, by David Talbot

JFK and the Unspeakable, by James Douglass

Family of Secrets, by Russ Baker

A Terrible Mistake, by H.P. Albarelli, Jr.
Posted by sgt_doom on March 11, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 20
Obama could have left but has chosen to stay until 2014. Remember that as you go to the polls in November
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 11, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
The Accidental Theologist 21

We are SO fucked.
Posted by The Accidental Theologist on March 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
schmacky 22
Sounds good, Cato @20...I am sure that the Republican candidate will fix this mess! Santorum all the way! Palin for VP! USA! USA! USA!
Posted by schmacky on March 11, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
OuterCow 23
@22 Oh that's right, there's only 2 realistic options because of cowardly dumbfucks just like yourself who will never consider voting 3rd party no matter how atrocious the actions of a Dem as long as the Repub is still slightly worse. You do realize that if less people thought like you, we'd actually get better candidates, right?
Posted by OuterCow on March 11, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
@23, so what would a third party do? Yes indeed, it would split apart the Dem vote and the people who are pissed at everyone but would never vote Republican. So the Republicans would win. "Better candidates" don't win an election; majorities of votes do.
Posted by sarah70 on March 11, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
By that logic, the Republican candidates should be better this time around than last time. Instead, they seem to be worse now.

And they've pretty much all signed on to attack Iran now.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 11, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
Fnarf 26
It doesn't help that the "government" we are fighting on behalf of is nothing but a small-scale organized crime syndicate that hit the jackpot. The Afghan military's main job is smuggling weapons and drugs, not fighting whoever the hell they're supposed to be fighting (the Taliban? Yeah, right).

This project is over, and has been over for several years. As Goldy says above, we squandered our goodwill in that country, and while our nation-building job there was difficult before, it is impossible now. Every day we spend there is another day of wasted lives and treasure.

George W. Bush is the dumbest son of a bitch who ever lived.
Posted by Fnarf on March 11, 2012 at 4:33 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 27
It's so unusual for the US to invade a country and then have the whole endeavor turn to shit.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on March 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Stay classy #3! Hmm let's see a decade ago, post 9/11... yep I'm pretty sure Bush and his cronies had worked up a righteous lather to destroy Iraq. Afghan who? Monkeys flying out of my butt would have been more likely than the US back then taking the lead to do nation building in Afghanistan. I remember at the time, even around liberal friends, saying stuff like "Well what if Iraq isn't responsible for this?" And being shouted down and scorned. THAT was the general environment at that time, fostered by Bush/Cheney and their minions. That is where direct responsibility for the atrocity of Iraq lies (not the "distraction"). Hindsight is 20/20 Goldy.
Posted by Slog Tipper David on March 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM · Report this
Argh I meant stay classy #23, ha. Why don't you go sell some racist newsletters for Ron Paul or something.
Posted by Slog Tipper David on March 11, 2012 at 5:01 PM · Report this
i'm pro-science and i vote 30
I find it hard to go along with the 'support your troops' thing when I'm well aware that some people go into the military (the jock-asshole-sociopath-bully-fuck type) who WANT to murder, even innocent people, and then get away with it. Although this guy probably won't get away with this slaughter unpunished.
Posted by i'm pro-science and i vote on March 11, 2012 at 5:21 PM · Report this
Obama's military directive was to leave Iran and go heavily into Afghanistan. He takes the blame.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 11, 2012 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Rujax! 32

Maybe this asshole just can't stop jacking off to his Tom Clancy novels.
Posted by Rujax! on March 11, 2012 at 5:39 PM · Report this
lauramae 33
Disgusting shit head soldiers. I suppose it is too much to expect that in war, people would actually act like fucking human beings. Great leadership apparently too.
Posted by lauramae on March 11, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this
ballard dude 34
Hey jj41243 @8.... please be careful on your next deployment and come home alive to your family.
Posted by ballard dude on March 11, 2012 at 6:10 PM · Report this
Since I so rarely agree wholeheartedly with Goldy, let me take this oportunity to do so. Ditto to Goldy @12.
Posted by David Wright on March 11, 2012 at 6:16 PM · Report this
@8: What @34 said. And I'm sorry as all shit we're sending you there.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on March 11, 2012 at 6:33 PM · Report this
OuterCow 37
@24&25 The 2010 Congressional Republican candidates were "better" in the sense that the actual threat of primarying and/or running a 3rd party candidate to split the GOP vote against those who weren't conservative enough produced a crop of representatives who are a lot more conservative. The Teaparty tactics clearly worked, yet Dems and Liberals seem deathly afraid of trying the same recently proven tactics. This is were my opinion of ya'll as cowardly dumbfucks comes from.

@29 Hope this doesn't blow your sheltered little mind, but just because I don't support Obama, it doesn't mean I support Ron Paul. I like both Buddy Roemer and Rocky Anderson if you care, though I don't imagine you do. Just wondering, so you cool with the next Republican president having the ability to assassinate any American anywhere in the world w/o charge or trial? Because they'll have that power thanks to St. Obama.
Posted by OuterCow on March 11, 2012 at 7:34 PM · Report this
fort lewis. no. fort lewis.

(i had to say it out loud every time i drove past the sign on NB I5. compulsive.)
Posted by deepconcentration on March 11, 2012 at 7:36 PM · Report this
venomlash 39
@37: NEWSFLASH: President Obama and a bunch of Congressional Democrats are trying to get that repealed. Dumbass.

@12: Goldy, spot on.

So it begins, the great shitstorm of our time.
Posted by venomlash on March 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
Thank you for the support. I really don't mind going though - the extra pay is nice. I'll get to pay off a credit card and my truck, and it's supposed to only be a 9 month tour (knock on wood). And I was going to be in a pretty decent, not too dangerous area of the country, until this happened. I've already got calls from some of my Joes about it.

@30 Yes, there are soldiers/marines who want to kill people. There are regular citizens who want to kill people, too. Some of the worst men I've ever known, I met in the Army. Also - more often - some of the best.

I don't know the details of this kid or why, but if I had to guess, I'd say he just snapped. It happens. I've seen guys break down and cry, piss themselves, just lose their goddamned minds, for no reason. Usually not even in combat, either.

This guy probably broke, and dealt with it in a really bad way. Just my .02.

Posted by jj41243 on March 11, 2012 at 7:40 PM · Report this
Coalition forces fall backwards on the news some little Pashtun shit got his just deserts in getting a new haircut via missile. Now a whole bunch of shitty, faggoty Pashtuns get wiped out by a marine and his rifle? Why the fuck should I give a shit. I've never heard of any inbred, subhuman Pashtun crying about the murder of any marine.

Fuck you. Eat a fucking dick you assholes.
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on March 11, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
Free Busch On Tuesday 42
@41 As an honorably discharged, former Officer, combat veteran of Afghanistan, all I have to say to you is leave. Leave our republic, our experiment with democracy. You are no longer fit to participate in the democratic process. War is a plague. It is a terrible thing, that should be avoided at all costs. Why, because it creates small minded hateful little shits like yourself. War is the antithesis of humanity.

Also it was a Soldier, not a Marine. Learn to read before you vote please. Also don't comment on things you don't understand. You've shown your idiocy. Thank you, now leave, don't come back until you're ready to participate in freedom.
Posted by Free Busch On Tuesday on March 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
dirac 43
@39 Hi, real dumbass. To which law are you referring? The AUMF which the president unilaterally declared authorizes him to assassinate citizens? The president's declaration that he can assassinate citizens can't be repealed because it's extra-constitutional.

OR, are you talking about the NDAA 2012 which he signed and Senate Dems voted for? The law that the President claims he doesn't need as he has the AUMF to detain people indefinitely or kill them far away from a battlefield?

Yeah, I'm sure he's working furiously on it though!
Posted by dirac on March 11, 2012 at 8:55 PM · Report this
NotSean 44
@40, thanks for the pov.
Posted by NotSean on March 11, 2012 at 8:58 PM · Report this
@14 - The ability to 'make it past basic' says less about a person than you think it does.
Posted by HOT PUSSY on March 11, 2012 at 10:15 PM · Report this
pdonahue 46
Ok, now we've heard from the soldiers (couple of different view points there), the journalists, the tolls and political hacks. I wanna know what the neoliberals think of their bully little war in Afghanistan to liberate women and free gays from religious extremism? Chis Frizzelle and Dan Savage still work there right? It has been really hard to forget their beating the drum for war back in '01 and interviewing the stupidest peace demonstrators they could find when covering the antiwar activities. Present company excluded, Goldy has some solid insights now I really don't know what he thought ten years ago, the editorial staff of the Stranger still has some 'splaning to do.
Posted by pdonahue on March 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM · Report this
@43, you don't understand. See, first Obama announced that he could hold suspects without trial indefinitely and then he signed it into law. But now, even though his AG is telling us that "Due process just means there is a process that you do" (as interpreted by Colbert), so that when the government decides someone is a terrorist they can just kill them, Obama is now going to try and repeal the thing he supported and signed into law! It's simple, because Obama is simply good.

And then, when a Republican becomes president and utilizes the law Obama supported and signed and tried really hard to repeal so that he can detain and assassinate suspects, it will be terrible because that's what Republicans are when they do the things Democrats just have to do to win elections.

It can be confusing to people who don't realize that Obama is so great because he makes conservatives get mad and stuff.
Posted by LJM on March 12, 2012 at 12:54 AM · Report this
wockyjockey 48
@31 how can the supreme ruler of the universe confuse iraq and iran? for shame
Posted by wockyjockey on March 12, 2012 at 3:28 AM · Report this
venomlash 49
@47: Obama didn't sign the NDAA 2012 to win an election. He signed the bill because the importance of the funding provisions therein outweighed the wrongness of the rider. The indefinite detention bit was not put in there by Democrats; the Republicans refused to pass a version of it that clarified the rights of American citizens.

@48: See, it's simple. He's an idiot.
Posted by venomlash on March 12, 2012 at 4:08 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 50
The Obamatrons are starting to sound as stupid and out of touch as the average teabagger....sad
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on March 12, 2012 at 4:10 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 51
Who would have thought getting involved in Pakistan's civil war between psychotic cultists and kleptocrats would lead to problems? With an infantry raised on shoot-everything-that-moves video games by indifferent parents, we should be expecting these kinds of disasters when encountering a culture that doesn't value life at all. The current case involves an older serviceman who's not even infantry, but the strain on all military resources has clearly reached a breaking point. Long past time to leave, lest we be in the middle of the coming nuclear event in Pakistan.
Posted by Sir Vic on March 12, 2012 at 7:41 AM · Report this
if he confessed, why don't we expel him and let the afghanistan authorities pick him up?

we have some agrement with them that our troops are not subject to their courts. I am sure this agreement may be waived by the usa.

as mad as y'all are about the killing, I don't see much fanfare for doing the right thing as suggested here. just gie him a quick hearing to expel him, I believe he has forfeited the right to a return ticket, take his uniform, and turn him out the door.

shalom and alla akbar and all that. See what it's like to get some collateral damage on our side.

Because he's a murdered and we're harboring him just like the taliban harbored bin laden.

Posted by goosegander back atcha on March 12, 2012 at 8:29 AM · Report this
@41: Your irrational racism is showing.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on March 12, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 54
@41: I hate that you and jj41243 are representing the US in any capacity. I pray for the discharge that send you both home and unable to fuck up our presence anywhere.
Posted by undead ayn rand on March 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM · Report this
That's not very nice. Anonymous internet troll hurts feelings!

My name is Staff Sergeant Edward Johnson. I work and live on JBLM (North Fort, to be specific), as part of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment. I hide nothing; I will freely admit that I have killed men, and indirectly, women and children as well.

If you'd like to discuss any of this in person, I'd be more than willing.
Posted by jj41243 on March 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 56
Here's a concept.

Just leave.

And then ignore that sad excuse for a non-country.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 57
@55 shhh, we're not supposed to admit that's what the military is supposed to do - and does.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM · Report this
venomlash 58
@55: Well, SSgt. Edward Johnson, I'm just going to point out that referring to brown people of the Nile-to-Oxus region as "hadji" isn't scoring you any points here. The way it's often used today and the way you've been using it, it's really a bit of an ethnic slur.
Posted by venomlash on March 12, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Free Busch On Tuesday 59
@58 we abbreviate Staff Sergeant as SSG in the Army.
Posted by Free Busch On Tuesday on March 12, 2012 at 4:21 PM · Report this
@49, Obama, like most politicians, does everything he does to win elections. And to suggest that he just had to sign NDAA because of the importance of the "funding provisions" is as factually inaccurate as a pro-life brochure. I'll assume you're being merely willfully ignorant as opposed to simply dishonest.

Not that the U.S. military shutting down for a while would be such a bad thing, but that's my - and most of the rest of the world's - opinion.
Posted by LJM on March 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
venomlash 61

@60: Republicans in Congress blocked any attempt to remove or alter the indefinite detention bit. As much as I believe we should trim the military's budget, one does not simply let its funding expire. But hey, clearly Obama actually wanted to sign a bill containing a provision which he's been claiming to oppose. Enjoy your paranoid worldview.
Posted by venomlash on March 12, 2012 at 7:58 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 62
@55: If you don't want people to dehumanize you, don't brag about dehumanizing others.

Yeah, you have extensive training and conditioning to Other the "hadji" civilians, but don't expect anyone to respect you implicitly when you carry on with the same bluster.
Posted by undead ayn rand on March 13, 2012 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Free Busch On Tuesday 63

"Staff Sergeant (SSG) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Army, just above Sergeant and below Sergeant First Class, and is a non-commissioned officer."

Maybehaps you read wiki more closely?
Posted by Free Busch On Tuesday on March 14, 2012 at 5:48 PM · Report this
If you guys think that you can run the country better than Obama or Bush did for that matter, I suggest you sign up for the military, become president, or try for a Senate seat....otherwise, shut up and piss off
Posted by Military Wife on March 18, 2012 at 1:14 AM · Report this
Posted by SSGT GRAVES on March 20, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this

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