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Thread: Nine children among 16 dead after US serviceman attacks villagers

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Default Nine children among 16 dead after US serviceman attacks villagers

    Afghans vow vengeance for soldier's killing spree

    Distraught and furious Afghans vowed vengeance yesterday after a
    US soldier apparently walked from a Nato base into the homes of
    civilians, turning his weapon on the families inside and killing 16
    people, nine of them children.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...e-7561637.html

    One person can FUBAR an entire effort. This is a windfall for the Taliban. The Taliban can do this sort of thing. Our side cannot afford it. I'm waiting for the details on the soldier himself.
    Last edited by Culpeper; 03-12-2012 at 03:08 AM.
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    Default "Rapid but Thorough Investigation"

    Those two concepts seem to clash. In any event, the "Taliban" agit-prop went into gear right away - the area is scarcely pro-Karzai and leans "Taliban" based on what is being reported. And, Karzai's big mouth, as usual, adds fuel to the fire.

    From a legal standpoint - viewing it as a UCMJ problem, there's nothing for me to say until we get an AR 15-6, or some functional equivalent - and even better, a forensic psychiatric on the alleged shooter.

    I'll post at Rule of Law in Iraq & Afghanistan, at whatever page that's on, when some solid investigative information is released. In that thread, Bear and I have been talking about Son Thang (19 Feb 1970; also 16 homicides). What a mess !

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I am not so sure you can't do a rapid and thorough investigation. It depends upon the complexity of the case and how many people you can put on it. In this case I don't see things taking all that long. 1 man goes out and murders 16 people then walks home. The details of the crime itself won't be that hard to pin down.

    From the standpoint of a defense lawyer and a prosecutor it may take longer to count as thorough because motivation comes into play (this is a guess Mike, please correct if needed). They may be looking forward to the trial, a long time in the future. But I think if an investigator is looking at why, just ask the guy today.

    Sometimes I think Americans equate length of an investigation with thoroughness because in our country, there are so many games within games involved.
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    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    If our justice system wasn't so warped, we'd be building a gallows in Kandahar right now, and this piece of human refuse would be swinging from it by the end of the week, with Al Jazeera in the front row, and live streaming the footage all over the world.

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default Are you implying

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    the area is scarcely pro-Karzai
    that there is an area which is pro-Karzai?
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    If our justice system wasn't so warped, we'd be building a gallows in Kandahar right now, and this piece of human refuse would be swinging from it by the end of the week, with Al Jazeera in the front row, and live streaming the footage all over the world.
    Concur.
    At this point the locals are really PO'd and rightfully so.
    Let them hand the piece of Sierra !
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    If our justice system wasn't so warped, we'd be building a gallows in Kandahar right now, and this piece of human refuse would be swinging from it by the end of the week, with Al Jazeera in the front row, and live streaming the footage all over the world.
    It is interesting to me that the thing did the crime and then walked back to its base and turned itself in. If it wasn't so sure that it would be subject to the American justice system perhaps it would have reconsidered its actions. Perhaps at least the possibility that crimes would be punished inside Afghanistan by the Afghans would have had a dissuasive effect.

    (My comment assumes the killer isn't crazy to the point of hearing voices and hallucinating, nor that it didn't have a brain tumor or something that it had reported to authority.)
    Last edited by carl; 03-12-2012 at 04:00 PM. Reason: I forgot something.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default Carl:

    At this point, I'm not going to get into investigation techniques - good, botched or in between. Nor, am I going to spew some high-flown rhetoric about the legal rights, etc., of "S.Sgt. X from Fort Lewis" (if that is who he is). There will be plenty of time later to look at whatever judicial process comes into play.

    Meanwhile, everybody who wants to build a gallows should say so - right here and now; and get it all out of your systems.

    If I were Pres. Obama (which I'm not and I don't write the playbook), I'd get the man out of Astan to a secure location in the US - and take the short term flak.

    Regards

    Mike

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    This is tragic, and while its fully in the category of "it could happen anywhere" (even though its more likely to happen in a war zone), that is not how it is going to be perceived and perceptions matter. An already flawed operation will probably sink faster after this.
    Still, this psycho going postal (my apologies to postal workers, I know its an unfair term ,but by now everyone knows what it means) may concentrate some minds on the fact that there IS no visible strategy in Afghanistan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdNsltQXTVU
    To say (as someone in some official position already has) that we will not allow this tragedy to obstruct the mission is to get people thinking "what is the mission"? When enough people think that, the emperor may suddenly feel very naked.
    I am not saying there is absolutely no strategy. How would I know? at some level in the deepest recesses of the pentagon and the state dept, there may be several strategies. But they may be at cross-purposes, thats one problem with "secret" strategies...there may be several and nobody knows what is what. With unity of command and one man (say, the president) clearly in charge, at least HIS secret strategy would have some coherence. But that is not how the system is in the US (what president since Nixon would you think of as having a devious enough mind and enough interest in foreign policy to be in that position? Clinton had the IQ, but not the interest..anyway, the problem is likely systemic and not solved by having a different person pretending to be president),so that is not a relevant model. The publicly declared strategy (building a viable Afghan democratic government, etc etc) doesnt seem viable and, more to the point, doesnt look like the actual strategy anyway. People seem to have other unspoken (publicly officially unspoken) thoughts in mind. Maybe they are "containing Pakistan" or doing some strategic bullcrap re central Asia, China, Russia, whatever. In bygone days, we might assume that the elite knows what they are doing but if you watch long enough, that doesnt seem true either. Its a mess.
    On the practical matter of the POS who did the shooting, it would have been far far better to shoot him dead right away. ANY trial and ANY punishment from here on will just add to the mess.
    Sometimes, there really is no good choice.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Doomsday or another "straw" ?

    I have read a few reactions in the media to this incident and will add two below. Leaving aside the media focus and hype is this event really significant? I would say it is too early to say.

    Where is the impact? In Afghanistan, the actual neighbourhood and beyond.

    Given the criticism of US funded information operations here:http://circlingthelionsden.blogspot....perations.html I'd not be optimistic on our local and in country response.

    The "Circling" author ends with:
    It is remarkable that despite the massive spending on IO in Afghanistan in recent years, it is the Taliban that continues to make the running. It operates a highly successful propaganda operation using a multi-language website, twitter and a number of spokesmen who can easily be contacted and who issue timely statements well in advance of any that come from military sources. And all for a few thousand dollars.
    Now to the two comments, first the BBC's North America Chief Correspondent:
    This killing spree won't, by itself, lead to a quickening of the pace of a pull-out. But it may mean less heed will be paid to those like Senator McCain who think the war is winnable and who think the troops should finish the job before they leave.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-17335895

    The Daily Telegraph's Pakistan correspondent concludes:
    This is not the make or break moment in Afghanistan. The danger is that it will be turned into one by American politicians wondering whether it is time to speed up the withdrawal.
    Link:http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/ro...sday-scenario/
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by 82redleg View Post
    If our justice system wasn't so warped, we'd be building a gallows in Kandahar right now, and this piece of human refuse would be swinging from it by the end of the week, with Al Jazeera in the front row, and live streaming the footage all over the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Concur.
    At this point the locals are really PO'd and rightfully so.
    Let them hand the piece of Sierra !
    And of course if we did that, the conspiracy folks would simply say that he was the scapegoat for a larger CIA/Government/UN conspiracy of some sort or another.

    No good way out, that's for sure. As David points out, though, it's hard to project the long-term impact.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    The critical thing is whether this mass murder quickens the pace of the the ongoing pattern of ANSF people murdering ISAF people. That is what concerns me the most. If it does quicken that pace and it is bad enough, we will be out much sooner than anticipated and that will probably include the spec ops people.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    And of course if we did that, the conspiracy folks would simply say that he was the scapegoat for a larger CIA/Government/UN conspiracy of some sort or another.

    No good way out, that's for sure. As David points out, though, it's hard to project the long-term impact.
    Agreed, there is no easy way out.
    The Army has been handing out article 15s since the early 70s for looking at your Battery CO the wrong way. A snobby (barely out of college) O-3 can tarnish your potential career and ability to ever hold a Confidential security clearance (ever) because he doesn't like the way you looked at him.

    But, you can freak out, destroy people's lives and forever tarnish the reputation of the entire US Military and simply end up with a dishonorable discharge and reduction in grade. So, the Delta Hotel in question will sit at home and wallow in his Sierra making my last 23 years look like a cake walk.

    I disagree vehemently.

    One witness said she saw the man drag a woman out of her house and repeatedly hit her head against a wall.

    Officials have offered no explanation for the incident, but reports suggest the soldier might have been drunk, or had suffered a nervous breakdown.
    He has 3 kids at home and while drunk shoots eight ?
    There's your conspiracy theory !
    Last edited by Stan; 03-12-2012 at 08:26 PM.
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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Agreed, there is no easy way out.
    The Army has been handing out article 15s since the early 70s for looking at your Battery CO the wrong way. A snobby (barely out of college) O-3 can tarnish your potential career and ability to ever hold a Confidential security clearance (ever) because he doesn't like the way you looked at him.

    But, you can freak out, destroy people's lives and forever tarnish the reputation of the entire US Military and simply end up with a dishonorable discharge and reduction in grade. So, the Delta Hotel in question will sit at home and wallow in his Sierra making my last 23 years look like a cake walk.

    I disagree vehemently.



    He has 3 kids at home and while drunk shoots eight ?
    There's your conspiracy theory !
    I'm not crazy about how the system works, either. There's no question that it's jacked, and in some cases favors those with rank over those who have none. Don't have to go back very far to find examples of that in action...some that really make you wonder.

    But I know I'm preaching to the choir on that one.

    And you know the sort of conspiracy that would spring up. He was the point man for a larger CIA plot to cripple Afghanistan by killing their women and children, choking off the future of the tribes. But when it went south, the evil Crusader gov'ment decided to whack the one man who knew the truth. Etc., etc. Like I said...no simple way out. One moron can do a world of hurt.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    If I were Pres. Obama (which I'm not and I don't write the playbook), I'd get the man out of Astan to a secure location in the US - and take the short term flak.
    Unfortunately the flak is likely to be long term. Different environment of course, but one of the lasting and serious irritants over the military bases in my locale was the US habit of whisking away people accused of crimes. The flak didn't go away, if anything it escalated to mythical levels.

    The only thing the US could do to alleviate local anger is to turn the guy over to local justice, which we won't do. No matter what the US does with him, it will be seen as insufficient, a coverup, or both.

    More than ever I'm getting the feeling it's time to pack up, tell the Afghans something like "we're sorry for the inconvenience of our presence and we really, really hope you don't make us come back", and go away from that place. They'll sort something out; it will be a mess but it will be their mess. This is just not going anywhere we want to be.

    Of course we won't do that either; if we were going to we should have done it a long time ago... IMO of course.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    All I know is a lot of individuals are making some remarkable mistakes on the ground. And I'm not just talking about coalition people. Some Afghans have turned their weapons on their own coalition trainers as an example.

    The problem lies in the fact that COIN cannot afford these mistakes. The other side can and do capitalize on them. They can and do go in a village and murder innocent people. They can afford to do that. It is in their playbook. Murder Incorporated.

    We've had a lot problems with the other culture. Even to the point of people shooting their own people in the States. It is a complex and multi-issue problem. Feeling are going to be hurt but the cultural bug-a-boo needs to defined and addressed without all the ridiculous bureaucratic nonsense that loses wars in this day and age; i.e. after 1945.

    When you add up all the events in the last year I would say that our current role in Afghanistan is completed. All that is left is diplomacy for strategic purposes. The longer we stay on the current path the more opportunity for more remarkable mistakes by individuals with enormous opportunity cost.

    As for this string of mass murder, I'm still waiting for what is the story with this screw up and we all know people close to him probably had a bad feeling about this guy and nobody did a thing because of his rights and blah blah blah.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


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    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Default And then there was Eddie Slovik

    Those looking for the gallows have just cause. We have done it.

    "Private Slovik is buried in Plot "E" of Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Fre-en-Tardenois, alongside 95 American soldiers executed for rape and/or murder."(emphasis added).
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpeper View Post
    Those looking for the gallows have just cause. We have done it.

    "Private Slovik is buried in Plot "E" of Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in Fre-en-Tardenois, alongside 95 American soldiers executed for rape and/or murder."(emphasis added).
    OK... now do it again... and quickly!

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    "we" are not going to do it again. The world war was a different war anyway, but even the colonial wars of olde are not going to be repeated with any success. Times have changed. I have to run, but the bottom line is "it aint gonna happen" and that is one small reason the whole exercise needs to be re-evaluated.
    That too "aint gonna happen". Not just saying "it aint gonna happen the way I would like" (who cares about that). I am saying "it aint gonna happen the way the clear majority of posters here will think and say". That is more interesting.
    Why not? I dont know. But I know there is a great novel in there somewhere.

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    Default Culpepper:

    Please clarify: are you saying that S.Sgt. X should be taken out and hanged right now - if so, why bother with hanging; a .45 hardball in the nape of the neck would be far more efficient and effective ?

    Or, would you bother with the intermediate niceties of a GCM - an inconvenience accorded the deserter Slovik and the 95 murderers/rapists ?

    Let me make it perfectly f**king clear: I carry no brief against the death penalty. I carry no brief for complicated appellate review. I don't even carry a brief for GCMs. They just happen to be what we do.

    Mike Hoare's summary system would be fine with me, especially the part where the decider of the sentence personally has to execute the sentence. I doubt whether Hoare's system would be acceptable to many of you, especially if you were the accused and I were the decider.

    Regards

    Mike

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